Thank you


You Cover Me


Where I’m From

(The poem that I shared with the class at the beginning of the year is a good example of a community/culture post-from the creative writing option)

I’m from hand-me-downs and yard sale shoes,

Running from eviction notices, can’t pay the rent,

Been to twelve schools in one small town,

Living in a one room shack with six children

But not for long; can’t pay the rent with food stamps.


I’m from weed sold by the ounce to pay for the motel room,

The kesler and the line of cocaine drowns out the children’s laughter

A new man for mom means a new man to defend her from,

Sometimes the drunk men are too much for this little girl to fight off

Can’t tell my family what goes on when they aren’t there, it’s my fault.


I’m from a divorce that could have been seen from a mile away, without regret.

Dad is sober and after a few easy women, he happily remarried and opened his Bible.

Mom still picks the loser that beats her and insults the kids

But this little girl is now a teenager and strong enough to know it’s not my fault.

I will not take anything lying down.


I am not a little girl, I am no one’s victim, I am a fighter.

I am the one who stayed with my mom to help her on her feet and protect my little sisters,

I am the first person in my family to go to college and I am damn proud,

I will become a teacher, a lover, a wife, a mother;

I move beyond but never leave behind where I’m from.

The Community That Created Crystal

God and Coffee

I don’t remember when it was that I realized that I didn’t need my family, but it eventually happened.  Maybe it was when my mom missed my college graduation because she was being arrested, or my sisters lied to me for two years about something that was life-changing, or when my dad missed my birth (okay, maybe I can’t actually remember that one).  I don’t know when it happened, but I realized that even though I loved my family, I don’t NEED them to carry on.  Maslow believes that we need certain things in a certain order to survive, starting with things like food and water, then security, and a sense of belonging.  Growing up, I remember times when we didn’t have enough food to eat, moving from house to house without any sense of security, having our water and electricity cut off, and I survived.  I never felt like I belonged.  I always felt like I was on the outside of the group, whether it was my mom with her drug-addict friends, my sister and her friends, or my brothers who got to live with my dad.  I never felt a sense of belonging, and I survived.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that all I need is God and coffee.


Well, maybe I don’t really need coffee all that much, but I do have an unhealthy addiction to it.  However, I do need God.  Maslow might understand the way our biological body works and how we are suppose to develop our needs and motives in general, but I don’t think he ever factored in the power of a faithful supernatural Father like the one I have.  My childhood was a chaotic mess.  I hated the feeling I got everytime I turned the corner and saw my house.  I hated not knowing what I would be walking into.  Would my mom be there?  Would there be food?  Would we be moving all of a sudden?  One day I came home from church and there was a teenage girl sleeping in my bed.  Her posters were on my wall and her clothes were in my closet.  I felt replaced.  My mom’s explanation was that she was kicked out of her house and needed a place.  It would be nice if she cared about me like that.  The one thing that was constant was God.  No matter what my day was like, I knew that He would listen.  

Later on in life, God changed from just a Father who listened, into a Father that heals.  Through a lot of prayer and deep moments with God, he led me to a place where I was able to forgive my parents for the neglect and abuse I had growing up.  I had many issues because of the abuse that I endured and I built up walls to keep people out.  I even gained weight as a way to keep men from looking at me.  I didn’t want to be hurt again.  I was fine being alone…there was no one to hurt me that way.  Then God touched my heart.  One day when climbing to the top of a mountain in San Diego, He wrapped me in His arms and poured a special dose of His love all over me.  I cried for hours on top of that mountain.  He reached in my chest and healed my heart.  I felt loved, accepted, worthy, special….in a way that I have never before.  


That was five years ago, since then a lot has changed.  I lost the weight I was using to keep people away.  I rebuilt the relationship I had with my parents and siblings.  I had the courage to get my first teaching job and fulfill my dream of teaching.  I was blessed to meet my husband and honored to become a mother.  I am finally living the full complete life that God had planned for me.  I’m not saying Maslow was completely wrong.  I didn’t need security, belonging, or self-esteem to survive, but all I was doing was surviving.  I would have lived in that survival mode my entire without God.  He is all I need to live a self-actualized life.  He provides me with food and water, gives me security in an insecure world, he gives me a place to belong, he builds up my self-esteem, and my self-actualization is rooted in my identity as His child.  So, all I really need is God.  However, I will never turn down a cup of coffee.  

Introvert caught on camera!



A lifelong journey of self-exploration

whoamiWhen is it that we become the person we are?  Is it when we decide what to be when we grow up?  Is it when we get our driver’s license or graduate college?  Is it as early as the moment when we start talking?  This idea of our identity has been discussed, argued, and even exploited for entertainment.  I would go as far as to say that we do not just become the person we are on the day that we turn 18.  There is no magical day, no fairy godmother to wave her wand and declare you the intelligent, sarcastic, funny introvert English teacher that has a problem speaking in front of others.  It is a lifelong journey of self-exploration.  There is a beginning (though that is a debate for another time), but there is no end.

Which brings us to the reason for this blog.  My students and I are all on our own personal journeys of self-exploration that includes reflecting on our culture, community, experiences, and relationships, as well as learning about our personality types, interests, and motivation.  Through the next couple of weeks, I will ask my students to record their reflections and thoughts about this journey on their own personal blogs.  And as I say in class, “I will never ask them to share something that I am not willing to share myself,” therefore, I will also be blogging about my own journey.

Currently I am teaching at Monache High School in Porterville, California.  I teach English in the Multimedia Technology Academy.  But what does that really tell you about me?  It might make you think that I am some tech geek (which I am not, I just act like I know what I’m doing), or that I am a grammar freak (such a stereotype and not at all me), or that I am a free-spirited poetry junky that goes around quoting Shakespeare (so not the case).  I don’t fit into any of those stereotypes.  What I will tell you is that I love to read, but don’t get enough time to outside of professional texts; I love my family, but I am jealous that my husband gets to stay home with my daughter while I work; I love to learn, and I am doing so every moment of every day.  Yesterday, I learned how to fry pork chops, today I am learning how to create a blog, and tomorrow I will be learning….nope, you will just have to read my next blog for that.

20160327_141652My daughter, Audrey, and I on Easter

Famous author, Victor Hugo, said, “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”  (Grin)  I am just kidding, that is the kind of quote you would expect an English teacher to recite.  I am much happier living by lessons like “you have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose” (Dr. Seuss).  There you have it.  You have all the choice.  Yes, be reflective, address your pain, observe others, but in the end you have all the power.  So, who will you be?




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