A Day to be Thankful

In the United States, many are stopping to spend a day with family/food. I only hope and pray that in these families and on this day that those who do celebrate this holiday remember that there are so many things in life to be thankful for.  Yes, be thankful for all that you have in this world because it makes you who you are. Your invisible illness brings you strength that others admire! Your pain brings you a force inside to get up and not let it beat you! Your desire to move and enjoy your life….it shows your chronic fatigue that you are better and stronger than it. It is so hard to be thankful, but in a way be thankful for your invisible illness…through it you are changing your world  for better. Through your illness you are showing this world that no matter what you are better and stronger, you are not defined by the poison you take daily to feel better, the joints that are crippled, or the lack of energy.  I am definitely thankful that through my illness I have learned to share my story through words, I have almost finished earning three academic degrees, and I daily touch students lives.  And one day the students I interact with will change the world for even better..hey maybe even one of those students will be the researcher that finds a cure for our Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus! You never know! 🙂

I am thankful I’m crossed the world, I’ve seen Prague with my own eyes…I’ve stood on the Taj Mahal…and I’ve seen a true African sunset. I am thankful for energy every day to keep going with my research and homework. I’m thankful that I am a wife, I am thankful I am who I am..through my RALF, Sjogrens, and Chronic Fatigue.

Have a wonderful day resting, relaxing and enjoying all the blessings in your life!



A Cold Day

Ahhh today was another cold day! I find it funny sometimes in the dead of summer we beg for the coolness of the winter and then in the cold of winter we beg for the warmth  of summer! At least I do! 🙂 I’m not feeling too much better…I’m waiting for insurance to approve an asthma inhaler for me! Once that comes in I will feel better I hope! I am not looking forward to my flu shot on Friday :(. Tear! Although one good thing on Friday is that I’m going to a wedding! I picked out a dress to wear today! 🙂 I’m excited, weddings are fun!

I spent today on my couch doing homework!! I”m making progress with my dissertation but I’m realizing how important it is to have balance and organization. I worked out my calendar for these next few days with some goals I want to meet. I also worked on my outlook calendar. Balancing my doctoral coursework, teaching a class online, working a full time job, working on my research, being a wife, and living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens, and Chronic Fatigue…it will be a tough spring! I’m taking a rough class…I’m working on studying for my comprehensive exams…gosh so much to do. Yes a date book, organization, and balance are critical. Any tips for balancing or organizing?? I’m all ears!

I downloaded a calendar app to my phone,  Google Tasks, and a daily to do app! 🙂 OHH and I even have a datebook to keep everything organized. I hope through all of this I can stay ahead and if I need to take a day off I won’t feel too stressed! 🙂

Off to work on homework! Rest well everyone! 🙂 And stay warm! In Houston it has been sooo cold (30’s/40’s) this week. In North Houston they had sleet, and snow flurries today! WOW! I am definitely ready for SUMMER! 😛


A Day at Home

I definitely don’t like to spend many days working from home. There is something fun (and yes tiring) about getting up in the morning and heading out the door. It was weird today to sit on my couch knowing it was a Monday but instead of being at my usual spot I was sitting on my couch in my PJ’s. I finally heard back from my rheumatologist..she said I needed to get a flu shot (which I will be doing on Thursday) and then she told me I could not take my Imuran while on my Z-Pack. Ahhh I hope my body does alright…it has been raining all day today..my Fibromyalgia is not happy!

So today I have worked on homework! I finished one class entirely, I finished a PPT and paper for another class, and I finished a paper for the third class! Whew! I also registered for my third class in the Spring! Now I will be taking two full classes (3hrs a piece) and my last doctoral comp class (1hr class we have to take for three semesters). That will set me up so I can be ready for my comprehensive exams that are coming in May (SCARY!!!).

So much to do but I know I”m going to make the most of sitting around on the couch! I was hoping for some extra time! Gosh didn’t think I would get it like this though! 🙂 Ohh and another positive of today! I submitted another conference proposal!! YAY! Now I just have to wait and see what happens. Sometimes academic work is like waiting for a doctor…you submit things and then you have to wait months before you hear back! Then sometimes you get that “no thanks” or “fix this and that.” I know I would much rather get the “fix this and that” but sometimes I have gotten “you are great, but no thanks.” That is all part of academics that’s for sure!

Alright…of to rest some more! I hope my swollen chipmunk face looks better in the morning! I”m going to miss my RA meds for the next few days but hopefully that will help me not react tooo terribly to the flu vaccination!  And if you were looking for something interesting tonight, I wanted to share this http://worldhelp.net/children-of-the-world/rescue-tour/. These kids are amazing!! 🙂

Night everyone!



Well…it was a weekend

It was definitely a weekend to remember!! I came home Friday feeling so tired. You know we get tired on a regular basis but this tired felt as if I was beyond able to move or think. I crawled into bed on Friday night just so exhausted. I slept for a few hours and got up to work on my computer etc. My husband and I watched T.V. and right when we were getting ready to go to bed..my husband noticed water was coming down one one of our lights. Closer inspection revealed we had a problem, he got upstairs into the attic as quick as he could and saw that a valve in our hot water heater had busted…water was just coming out nonstop. I opened the door to the bedroom and saw a huge crack in our ceiling. I was shocked…it looked as if it was going to cave in any minute.

So at midnight, my husband and father-in-law were working hard to stop the water and draining the ceiling before any more damage was caused. My father-in-law lost his balance and he foot went down….unfortunately that also was the right place where the ceiling was so wet it collapsed. I heard this hard rumble and saw tons of insulation and ceiling on the floor.  So we had a hole in our ceiling, wet carpet, and a broken hot water heater.

Around 2a.m. my hubby and I finally made it to bed. We had fans going for the carpet as well as the heater going. Then when the guys got on the roof to fix the hot water heater…they noticed a leak in the roof. At the same time they noticed our main water line was also leaking. So yes lots of repairs going on this weekend. Fun right!

Then on top of all of that Friday I started feeling worse. By Friday night I looked like I had mumps..swollen glands under my chin and throat. It was not good. Odd thing was I had no fever so  I didn’t think it was too bad. But I finally went to a stand alone ER ( we have a lot of these Emergency Care/ER places where I live…cheaper than going to a hospital ER). Doctor immediteatly checked for strep and it was confirmed with a strep test. YAY! NOT!! SO I’m on antibiotics and staying home for 48hrs to let my body recover and hope the antibiotics start to work. I am also struggling with my asthma. I have been on meds before for asthma but we (dr. and I ) had worked to get me to where I didn’t need the inhalers etc.

So yes….I’m home staying on the couch…resting and doing homework! Pictures of my ceiling coming!


Invited Testimony: Same Shift, Different Day for Latinos and African Americans

Cloaking Inequity

Will the tracking of Latinos and African Americans into “practical” careers redouble? Will politicians and districts pass it off as “choice”? Morgan Smith from the Texas Tribune wrote:

Only high school students who pursue an honors plan or a diploma specializing in math and science will have to take algebra II under recommendations that the Texas State Board of Education preliminarily approved Thursday.

Despite an initial proposal that had included the advanced math course in all five new diploma plans, the 15-member board was nearly unanimous in its decision Thursday. The single no vote came from Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso…

 An unexpected visit from House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, and Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Both lawmakers urged the board to reserve as much flexibility for local school districts as possible — and not to require algebra II to fulfill all of the graduation…

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Well I can say I’m officially on Thanksgiving break from school!!! It feels great, one class left and the semester is over! That is sooo awesome to say. My last fall semester of classes will be DONE!!! 10 years ago this fall I started my college courses….I can now say I am within 4 classes of finishing my coursework for my doctorate. It has been a long painful, tiring, and difficult road but it has been worth it 100%.

I know here in the United States many stop and focus on a week of Thanksgiving….and the beginning of the Christmas holiday. My heart is thinking of those in a small country many miles away who are hurting desperately tonight. Maybe some are hurting because of their pain like those of us with an invisible illness but yet many are hurting for far greater things like their loss of family, home, and lack of food and basic needs.  Yes, I’m talking about the Philippines. This country was ravaged by a typhoon causing major destruction. I am reminded of living in Honduras when Hurricane Mitch hit. A category 5 hurricane that caused major devastation and loss of life. I will never forget the smell of flood water, the decay and human waste that was left behind or the water marks on the fourth story of a building…or how I will never forget that water can be deadly. You never look at water the same way…not after you have seen what death is left behind when water turns its ugly head.

I know many are spending the next week celebrating with family or shopping but I encourage you to say a prayer for those less fortunate than you.  I could not imagine having my RALF and Chronic Fatigue and facing the loss of my family, the loss of my house, the lack of food or water, or the destruction surrounding those in the Philippines. Could you? As you face go through the holiday seasons share this link with those you meet who are looking for a way to serve and give to those who desperately need it (http://worldhelp.net/typhoon-haiyan-philippines/). Those in the Philippines would greatly appreciate it I have no doubt. Especially those who suffer much physical pain like us.  Another good link to check into is the http://worldhelp.net/gifts/, this link you can also share with your friends and family who are interested in an amazing organization that changes lives. I cannot wait for the day I can also be on the front lines helping bring a smile to the face of a child in Syria, Haiti, or Africa.  I cannot tell you what it does to your life to hold the hand of a child around the world that just wants to know that someone cares for them.

I encourage you to share that love with someone, it doesn’t have to be someone around the world…it could be someone next door to you or some random stranger behind you at Starbucks. I know I’m hoping to do some good things this Thanksgiving break…when I”m not sticking my nose in my book or in my research. 🙂

Life is busy…life is crazy…but there are some things..we just have to slow down for! 🙂



I can say I am HOME!! I am so thankful that I woke up early and took an early morning flight. I don’t typically book early…I much rather wake up later and travel home on a mid-day/early afternoon flight. But this time, I booked an early flight out, which turned out to be a great thing. Some really bad weather moved into the St. Louis area last night…as we took off…You could see this dark cloud of rain etc. It was such a bumpy flight but thankfully we made it out in time.

I was thinking today what were some key take aways from my trip. I learned that I need to be aware and connected to policy. Most importantly that policy is WAY WAY WAY more than a word. Policy involves financial aid, it involves what we do at the state and federal money, and it involves how we handle finances at the community/local level. So much to learn!!! I also learned that it is good to sometimes sit back and learn. I watched a few great presentations and I learned some things I want to implement in my presentations. I think most importantly I learned that presenting is about having a conversation. It is not about practicing so much that you sound like you are recording. You are having a conversation between you and the audience. You are not reading your slides…you are not reading your notes…you are telling them what you know about a topic and inviting them to ask questions of you. I also learned how awesome it is to go to a conference with  a delegation from your school. Last week in Indy, I was pretty much alone…this time I was around 6 other Sam students and we had fun. From eating lunch and dinner together, to visiting after sessions, to going to Starbucks or sight seeing. It made for an awesome experience.

Now I am home…working on homework and trying to mentally prepare for this upcoming week. I have class on Wednesday and then next week is Thanksgiving break! YAY! I cannot wait for my hair appointment next Wednesday 🙂 I think I’m going to go more Mocha/Expresso brown! 🙂 Exciting.  One way to relax today I went out to the nail salon (pic coming soon)…it was a great way to relax. As ya’ll know..I love doing my nails! 🙂 I have gone to Shellac..I love how it stays one for at least 3 weeks!

I’m off  to rest and work on some homework. My knees and hip are sooo swollen…apparently they do not like to travel! 😛 I just took my pain medicine (Tylenol mixed with Naproxen – Dr. approved) and hopefully the pain meds will ease some of the throbbing ankle and knee pain. It is amazing..my body did SOOO much better than I thought it would do. I expected major major pain (hoping I don’t have a crash this week) but so far ..the pain has been as it always is (8/10) and that is so much better than what I was expecting (20/10).  I guess it also taught me to go for things even with the Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia. I used to think those things limited me but I’m seeing with a balance…they don’t have to be limitations. If nothing else, that is a big take away for me. I was one of 6 students from an entire program that receiving the scholarship to attend the conference and one of 2 students to attend the conference last week. That’s pretty awesome when you think about it.  Definitely thankful for my faith and the Lord for giving me strength to keep going.  Off to work! 😛