Bitty and Beau’s

We had spent the majority of the week in South Carolina. Yet we were ready for something different. On a whim, we decided to visit family down near Savannah. It was a beautiful morning, and we took off around 6am. Heavy fog sat at ground level, the air sticky and warm. It would be a great beach day, but we had traveling to do. We got settled in the car, and headed south on route 17 towards Georgia.

The ride was pleasant. The morning was warm and sunny. We rode through the  South Carolina countryside, taking everything in.  We passed by deep marshes, and wide open fields. There were also small towns, that passed by. It was beautiful country, and I’m glad I got a chance to see it.

Soon found the need for caffeine gnawing at our bones. As I navigated the rush hour traffic just north of Charleston,  my husband looked to find us a coffee shop. We were looking for a local place.

We had bad luck the entire trip trying to find good coffee. We repeatedly visited Dunkins, which is a staple in New England. Yet we could never get coffee made the way we wanted. We both like our coffee dark. We couldn’t get a coffee without a gallon of cream added in. We tried everything, to no avail. So we wanted a local place, knowing that they usually let you dress your own coffee.

We stumbled upon Bitty and Bea’s by accident. It was the highest rated coffee shop in town. He looked through their page, murmuring that it looked really good..

” Your going to love this place, they work with people with Intellectual and Development Disabilities.” He said with a smile.

Bitty and Beau’s was founded on the idea that people with disabilities have a place in our society. You can read more about their incredible mission here. It is a mission that is close to my heart. I am a direct support professional, and working with people with IDD is my passion. These people are often marginalized, even by those with the best intentions. Many people champion inclusion, but few people follow through with those promises.  The Wright family has though, and they are changing lives in the process.

We stopped in on our way through Charleston. They are in a renovated spot, off of Church Street.The inside is modern and welcoming. There was a beautiful picture up on the wall of the employees. Above the group shot, was the explanation of the organization, and the ideals they represent.

We were ushered in by a soft spoken young man who took our orders. We got two cups of coffee and a couple of pastries. The young man that served us, was attentive, sweet and professional. The service was great, the coffee was tasty and the muffins were warm and tasted perfect.We took our goodies and sat on the benches that looked out over the street. On our way out the door, I grabbed one of their their awesome T-shirts too.

It was a pleasant stop on our road trip to Georgia. I’m so thankful it was our first taste of Charleston. If you are Charleston, I recommend that you check them out.  It was such a unique experience, but it shows us what we are all capable of.

 

 

Road Notes: Savannah

Savannah was many things. Much more than the Spanish moss I went there to see.

It was a waterfront, with a wide open park. People sat upon the benches, twisting palms in their hands, calling out to us. The muddy river wound lazily by, only interrupted by the ferry.  A Child circled a monument of the world broken in two, his father explaining the world war.  Just beyond was the cobblestones of River Street. People walked down the sidewalks, drink in hands, taking full advantage of the historic district.

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It was the cotton exchange, and the complex history of the Antebellum South. The worn cobbled streets,  and their legacy.  It was Factors Walk, and the many people who had worked here. As we wound our way through, I could feel the legacy thick in the air, history that I had learned years ago leapt off the pages.

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It was the green spaces, that change the character of the city.  Old live oaks towering over parks, dappling the sunshine on old brick walkways. The many flowers in bloom and the way their perfumes hung in the air.  The fountains that bubble over with cold water on a hot summer night. Tourists wandered cameras in hand, as locals sit on benches quietly. The parks were a quiet place of rest.

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It was the pain of a fallen office. Outside the police department there was a memorial for a police officer that was killed days prior to our visit. To see a police cruiser covered in flowers with a portrait out in front brought home the meaning of violence against the police.

Savannah showed me southern charm.  We only skimmed the surface in our short visit. Someday I hope to go back, and hope to immerse myself in the beauty that is Savannah.

June Check In

So much has happened since my last post in April. I have so much to share!  There have been some progress on my goals, and some fun trips. Yet I wanted to take a moment and back track on my journey the last few months. I have made some major life changes. These changes are centered around putting my overall well being first.

In my last post, I talked about my old job. Looking at that post hurts. My words were careful to skim only the surface. I am passionate about working with people with Intellectual or Developmental disabilities. Yet the place I was working was terrible. We had little support to help the kids. It was chaotic and the hardest workers were taken advantage of. If you got physically assaulted by an escalated kid, you got a five minute break. Each day I was getting beat up. It is hard to do such taxing  work with little support.

On top of the physical and mental aspect, I was constantly sick. In a four month period, I experienced four colds, the flu, stomach flu, and strep throat.  My body was tired, and I was emotionally taxed, I could barely keep my eyes open and was always on the edge of tears. When I wasn’t working I was sleeping, or trying to relax. There was no time or energy for goals or dreams. It got to a point where all my energy was being put into survival the next day. That isn’t a way to live.  Towards the end of May, I needed a change.

I got my break at the end of April. I was diligent and worked to earn myself a new position. It is working in the same field, but with a less volatile population with better support.  I was getting burnt out, and loosing passion for the field. I am so passionate about this field, and look forward to pursuing it.

I was also blessed to be given the opportunity for a trip. I spent ten days traveling in the south. I took this time to step away from everything and relax. I mean everything. A big part of my life is reading and writing. I put both of these aside for self reflection. Most of the trip was spent sitting in the sun, exploring, and engaging in much needed self care.

I needed it more than I realized.

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These are two pictures of me. The left one was taken in April.  My face is sunken and tired. What haunts me the most are my eyes. looking back, I knew how I felt, but didn’t know how evident it was on my face.  The second picture is after seven days on vacation. The life is back in my eye. I look healthy, and alive. Looking at these pictures, I am happy  I made these changes. No job is worth your mental health.

It took a lot of hard work, but I’m happy that I took the initiative and moved on.

Time To Go

For a chance t get int my head, listen t this song I listened to while I wrote this post. mood, I was listening to this Time Will Tell by Gregory Alan Isakov.

life has been changing. The days are getting longer, as we creep slowly towards Spring. Things are changing in my personal life too. I am in the process of making some big changes. My biggest goal right now is a career change.

 I work as a Para educator, supporting the daily needs of kids with special needs. I have been struggling with the choice for months.  My coworkers will be disappointed. The kids will be disappointed. I will be a quitter if I walk away. We live in a culture that values sticking it out.  There is this myth that in time, things will get better. Yet this isn’t always true.

There is a time to let go.  My work has left me tired, sick and burnt out. I have not felt happy for months. I have moved, making things difficult. The commute is long, and the money isn’t the best. I am losing my own happiness.

I can feel it in my bones. I know myself now, and it is time to go.

 

 

 

 

 

though its hard, I have to follow the path that is best for me.

Finding Happiness

I have been away, taking some time to regroup. Late in 2018 we faced some challenges that forced us to move in with family. We traded in a wide open country lifestyle for a hectic urban one. It was hard, but we needed to get out of a toxic situation. Yet it has been an adjustment.

Overall, I thought that it would be much more of a challenge to my mental health. In the past, adversary has tended to drag me down into a dark place. Yet this time It has not been too bad. I have been trying to figure out why, and I think it is all about my attitude.

This year I am making a big effort to focus on the positive. I have also taken time for self care, and reflection. I have found that by doing this, my attitude is better. I have found a way to be happy, despite the challenges.

Life is about how we meet challenges. We can either choose to yearn for something ahead, or choose to be happy where we are. This afternoon, instead of yearning for another far off trip, I enjoyed the moment. We forget to do that, and I believe that it steals so much happiness from our lives. It is great to wish for bigger things but we cannot let those dreams consume us and steal the joy out of everyday moments.

There is magic in everyday moments, we just need to open up our minds to see it.

February round up

I can’t believe that it is already March. As I grow older, the years seems to go by quick. It is crazy to think that we are almost a quarter of the way through 2019. This year, I am following a group of goals, set month by month. This is much easier to track and attain that lofty year long goals.

I am using a special planner this year. It is a monthly planner by a company called Orange Circle Studios. Each month it has a goals section, where you can write down goals, and track daily progress. I love mine, and it is has helped me measure my progress. It has kept me really honest, and I think it has helped inspire growth.

These were my February Goals,

  1. Write One Page everyday
  2. Publish on my blog twice a week.
  3. Guided Journals each days.
  4. Participate in social media for the blog.
  5. self care each day.

So these were the goals. how did I do achieving them? It was mixed honestly. I did really well, but some unforeseen circumstances threw my plans off a bit. I got the flu on the 22nd, which really took the wind out of my sails. But that’s life, sometimes we have to make due with things. luckily I made great strides earlier in the month, so the hit wasn’t as bad.

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In the blogging department, I did well. Luckily I posted right before the onset of the flu, So I kept that goal for the month. Eight posts were published, which was my goal. My biggest challenges were the guided journals. This honestly was my fault. The commitment wasn’t really there. I plan to recommit to this in March, and am hoping for better results. The other goals were reached as well. I wrote a page everyday. I also got back into social media marketing. I also worked on my self care as well.

February was a good month. I am happy to be making progress towards my goals. Hopefully I will make the same kind of progress in March. Do you have any goals you are currently working on? Do you set goals monthly, or yearly? Drop your thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

I hope that you have a productive March

Till Next time

Colleen



Knocked Out

Been under the weather for about a week now. On Friday I caught the flu. I have been out of work since. I ran a fever, caught a cold, and somehow ended up with a case of vertigo. After about six days, I am finally feeling a bit better. Honestly it has been a rough road. I am ready to rejoin polite society now.

It amazes me, how tiny little germs can throw our plans off so badly. They invade our lives, throwing everything out of balance. we think of yourself as invincible. In truth we are fragile, at the mercy of the world around us.

I am taking it how it comes. I could get frustrated but it isn’t wort the effort. I am letting go, and just letting it shake out. I am taking a deep breath, enjoying the rest, and taking lots of naps. I figure sooner or later, it will pass, i just have to be patient.

But I am looking forward to getting back to it.