8 Trials and Triumphs from 2015

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#1– One of my children was diagnosed with a genetic immune disorder, after struggling through many months of respiratory, ear and sinus infections, and three separate bouts with pneumonia. It will never go away, but thankfully with the right diagnosis, and several daily medications, she is healthy and strong today. And, this year, she learned how to read. 🙂

#2– Another one of my children was diagnosed with asthma, after many months of coughing, wheezing, and recurrent respiratory infections. Thankfully, his asthma seems to be triggered by viruses and is currently under control. His laughter is the best medicine of all.

#3– My oldest child began to excel in his homeschool curriculum at an incredibly fast pace with superior comprehension and synthesis, to the point that it became necessary to make major changes in his homeschooling plan. As I write this, he is 11.5 years old, and he has completed 6 of the 24 high school credits he will need for graduation. I am forever thankful for the support of the Florida Virtual School teachers who help lead him forward in academic success.

#4– My older daughter has memorized entire chapters of the Bible. She cares for her younger siblings with a nurturing heart, compassion, kindness, and a level of patience that is unmatched. She has developed an insatiable appetite for all things scientific, and she is excited about learning new things everyday.

#5– In the past year, I have completed 15 credits towards my PhD in English Education at the University of South Florida. Late last year, and early this year, I became extremely ill with horrendous abdominal pain on a nightly basis. I was not able to sleep, and ultimately, eating food of any kind seemed to make me violently ill. Late in February, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is a chronic illness which required major lifestyle changes, but it was not the death sentence I was expecting to receive considering the excessive pain I was experiencing. After several months of avoiding all possible sources of gluten in order to manage the symptoms of Celiac, I could not go through a full week without what seemed to be a relapse. I decided to go for further tests, and it was discovered that, in addition to Celiac disease, I also have at least 8 food allergies: wheat, milk, eggs, and soy among others. It has now been two weeks since I have once again had to make major lifestyle changes. This is not simply about food changes, but rather changes in choice of scheduling my family around time to prepare meals, shopping with added costs of foods that are allergen free, and now a significant and rapid weight loss which is a side effect of the new food choices. Further tests have revealed that I am also dealing with several vitamin deficiencies, which are likely resulting from the Celiac and food allergies. I am thankful to finally have answers about what has been leading me to feel physically ill on a regular basis. Armed with information, I am empowered to continue battling whatever obstacles may come in my path.

#6– I have poured myself into my family, my studies, and my students this year. My husband has had what we would both describe as both his most successful year of his career and the most stressful year of his career. He has been by my side through every battle this year, and I have been by his side through every one of his battles. He is my rock, and our faith has kept us strong throughout this year, as only a sincere faith can.

#7– Through it all, as I have felt a constant sense of I’m-not-doing-enough and I’m-constantly-failing. But now, as the semester has come to a close, I find the absolute necessity of reflecting on the past semester. I was successfully able to publish an original poem this year. “Wings of Doves” is my second creative publication, and I am so proud of it. Reading this poem brings tears to my eyes every time. I look forward to hearing feedback from others about it, as it is deeply personal to me. Another major achievement came when, for the first time ever, all of my students passed my Composition 1, 2, and Literature courses this semester at Trinity College of Florida. Additionally, for the first time ever, all of the students assigned to me for Academic Mentoring successfully raised their GPAs and were removed from Academic Probation. 100% success— this is practically unheard of, and I cannot help but wonder whether anyone outside the field of education can truly comprehend the immensity of this.

#8– Everyday when I drop off my children for the day as I head to work, the children and I pray for health, for safety, for patience, for perseverance to get through the difficult things, and above all, that God would continue to use our family for His glory. What you have just read is the undeniable record of answered prayers. To God be the glory, forever and ever—

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