Monthly Archives: December 2014

New year, my personal challenge…

This year I am switching things up and stepping out of my comfort zone. I have really been thinking about me, what I love, and how do I push myself further.  I have jotted down a few goals to get the idea generator going; but, I really want something solid. This may sound odd, but this is the first year I have ever written down goals for myself.

The other night a friend of mine, Gloria, sent me a message, in the form of a song, “How Great Thou Art”, I sat and listened to her pour her heart out into that song, it brought me to tears, and it was beautiful.  You see, this woman, was one of two (the girls name was Myra) who pushed me to sing by myself for the first time… ever, when I was in the 6th grade.  I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was so nervous about being judged.  They didn’t judge me, they gave me a hug and told me I had a beautiful voice, and then we went about our very important 6th grader lives.  Then it happened, I started singing solos in church regularly and at other events. The summer before my senior year, I was at a summer conference for Student Council, I was chosen to represent our school at a talent show by partnering with a student from another district who was a gifted guitar player. We were half way through the song and I completely froze.  The guitarist started singing and I picked up where I had left off. Towards the end of my senior year we had our school talent show, there was a group of kids singing “In the Still of the Night”. I was placed in the group… They were not happy about it, which made me feel like crap. Fast forward a couple of years, one morning while visiting home from college, I received a phone call. The person who was supposed to sing the National Anthem at the town festival was sick and couldn’t sing; would it possible for me to fill in?  GULP… To sing, you actually have to take care of your vocal cords; and I hadn’t, I had been eating candy, drinking sodas, yelling, and doing lots of damage.  This was the National Anthem, which is not easy to sing, I don’t care what anyone thinks.  I nervously accepted the offer, and started practicing for my afternoon debut. You know what happens when you start practicing after you haven’t sung in a while… you get horse. Not only did I get horse, but I froze, AGAIN, in the middle of the song.  The National Anthem of all the songs.  So, I stopped singing, that was somewhere between 2000-2002.

Gloria sent me a Wonder Woman card and a tiara with a message that lifted me up at a time when I had just regained footing in my life, as if she knew from a distance that I needed that message. I received it right after I moved to Fort Worth and I was second guessing myself.  When I was pulling out my Christmas decorations I found it and smiled, and thought about how far I have come in the past three years.

I read her message and listened to her song multiple times, really trying to take it in.  The message she was sending me, and I felt it only appropriate to respond in song.  I was terrified. But, if you take a couple of Xanax, anything is possible right?  Kidding, don’t try that without a doctors permission… I thought about what would be the appropriate song in response to her message of hope, faith, love, and not getting overwhelmed with with the trials we face, and it came to me. One of my favorite songs that I used to sing, regularly, “On my Knees” recorded by Jaci Velasquez.  I sat down to figure out how to even record a song and send it back to her.  Hours later I had found an instrumental of the song, recorded myself with my handy little phone. OK, so it is a HUGE phone, I have the Note 4 and I love it, stop berating me!  Then it hit me, how do I get it to her? She sent it to me with 45 other people tagged on a Facebook post; and I was not about to reply to THAT thread, are you kidding me? I would have passed out before I hit return!  So I navigated to her Facebook page, selected my video and then it happened… I froze.  Terrified to put myself out there, again.  It took me about thirty minutes to finally hit the upload button, but I finally hit it.  It was 1am… I was exhausted, but I felt I had responded in a heart felt way to her original message, and I was proud of myself.  I shut down my computer and went to bed.

The next morning… I woke to discover, I had not changed the privacy settings on the video… I had left it public. Um, hello world, I started to panic!  Then I started getting messages, private messages, text messages and postings on my wall about how wonderful my song was.  Let’s not kid, I was still freaking out.  It took all day but I finally calmed, and I decided to face my fear and post the video.  That’s right, on my own Facebook wall for all my closest friends in the entire world to see.  I decided this year, I am going to face my fear, who cares if someone thinks I sound like a howling dog, I love to sing, and I am going to do it more often. My boyfriend is trying to talk me into starting a youtube channel called songs from the chocolate factory, he thinks it fitting because he calls me an oompa loompa.  Long story short, I am under 5 feet tall, and can eat my weight in candy, and I prefer the 5 food groups from the movie Elf.  Which brings me to my second goal, get healthy!  I have joined AdvoCare, and I am taking care of the doctors orders, and I am happy to report, I feel a million times better!  Who knew a vitamin deficiency could make you feel that OFF, and slightly insane. Yes, I am an AdvoCare Distributor, how can I help you reach your health goals?

So, here it is, the video, in response to Gloria’s message to me.  If you keep your volume low and play another song on top of it, it sounds FAB! 😉

I would like to know, what obstacles are you going to face this year?




Student Loan Forgiveness

I worked at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for just shy of 6 years; I truly loved it. It was the first place that I had been employed where everyone was happy, loved their job, and felt like they were making a difference. It could have just been me, I tend to be a “Glass half full person”, but I felt like everyone I was surrounded by were on the same wave-length, there was always support, people working together as a team, and most importantly laughter was often heard.

When I first started at the TEA my first job was to learn the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLF) and start consulting teachers, principals, superintendents, and anyone else who wanted information about the program, it is a real program for teachers! As a bonus for teachers in Texas, there is also a state program, with limited funding, but there is one!

Right before I left the TEA I started receiving phone calls from teachers who were getting telemarketer calls telling them they could get loan forgiveness all they had to do was pay a fee; well, I am here to tell you, that is BOGUS, it’s CRAP and DON’T do it! You will be out $500 (more or less) for something that you could easily have taken care of yourself. You DON’T have to pay a company to manage your loans for you, that is your business, and you should be managing it, period. Your loans are your business and you should know exactly who your lender is and how much you are paying each month.

Since I have left the TEA I have toyed with the idea, and been encouraged by others to do consulting for TLF to assist teachers with their loans because they seem to be so daunted by this process, and I know the process backwards and forwards; I should, I did it for almost six years. I am still sitting on the idea, I still stay informed, and I still assist those who come to me. If you ever have a question, please let me know, I would be glad to assist you!

Cheers, Joy, and most importantly a Merry Christmas to you!

Lately, I have been off…

Prior to Thanksgiving, I noticed that my memory was getting cloudy, by thanksgiving, I was having a hard time recalling just about everything. Tell me something, 20 seconds later, it was gone! Then after thanksgiving it was worse, my eyes felt like they were going to pop out of my head, I was frustrated, tired, irratible, and shaking. I had just moved, traveled two weekends in a row and had four more traveling weekends ahead of me… The first weekend in December my aunt and my sister noticed my shaking, my aunt recommend that I go to the doctor and get it checked out. (I just thought I had shaky hands, because it had been going on for a long time).

On the way home that weekend I stopped by CVS to have to have my blood pressure taken, thinking, something is just NOT right with me. Then it came back, it was indeed high… It was 131/99, my norm was 110/70ish. Monday morning, I called and made a doctors apt and went in for a full workup. See, to complicate things, my dad died at 45 from a heart attack. I didn’t see a Doctor, I saw a PA, which to me was even better! They are on their game, not playing around, and no wait! Everything came back, not good. Not only was my blood pressure high, but I have a vitamin D3 and B12 deficiency; and I get to take a trip to the Cardiologist after the holidays…

I write this to say, listen to your body and what it is telling you. Now, I am going to go relax, play with my daughter, gaze at my handsome boyfriend, and enjoy this time with my family. Merry Christmas from me to you!

Cheers and Joy!