A Lifesaving Journey with Anne Frank!

Education, Goal Setting, Spirit

My 7th grade students are currently writing about Anne Frank. This post that I am reblogging is amazing! I wish I could introduce it to my students. I know that this post has given me a fresh perspective and encouragement to write again.


In the opening lines of The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne shared the excitement of unwrapping her diary: “Dear Kitty” …a gift for her 13th birthday. Likewise, on my 13th birthday, I had a similar rush of excitement when I unwrapped Anne’s diary, which was a gift from my mother, along with an empty journal to get me started.

Anne Frank writing in 1941. Anne Frank writing in April, 1941.

Mum was forever trying to get me interested in reading but she also encouraged and nurtured my writing. When I was around 11 years old, she’d taught me how to spell “enthusiastic” and I was as proud as punch with my new word and liberally started adding it to my compositions at school to receive that all-important red tick and VG in the margin. That same year, Mum also gave me a thesaurus. Although it took me a few years to really master it…

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In praise of Spinach


Oh! I love spinach! I too sing the praises of spinach.

This will be another recipe I will attempt – creamed spinach is wonderful!

rachel eats

I am immensely fond of spinach, fresh, lively, gloriously bright green spinach, the kind that bounces, crunches and squeaks in a most unruly way as you try to stuff it into your shopping bag.

Most of the time I like spinach served simply, so as to appreciate its sweet, leafy, ever so slightly bitter goodness, a nod to Popeye. We often have a little pile of spinach for lunch after the pasta, steamed or blanched briefly in fiercely boiling water, drained and then dressed with coarse salt, olive oil and lemon. I like it sautéed in nut-brown butter then seasoned with salt, pepper and a flick of nutmeg. I almost can’t contain my excitement at the thought of a certain French recipe in which spinach is cooked and reheated over 5 days, each day more butter is added, so by the end, half a kilo of spinach has absorbed an…

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When I began my quest to transform from the inside out, hummus was the thing that I loved the most! Fresh veggies and hummus sustained me the first couple of weeks. It was the “healthy” store bought version. I never imagined making my own, until now…

rachel eats

In Middle Eastern Cooking mixed mezze (little dishes of mixed d’oeuvre) are signs of hospitality and conviviality, dishes to be shared to begin the meal or like Spanish tapas, nibbles to be eaten while drinking and gossiping. The word mezze originally comes from the Persian word Maza, meaning ‘taste, relish‘.

Many of these delicious dishes have been adopted by the West and none more so than hummus, a simple paste of cooked chick peas crushed with tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Unfortunately like so many things Hummus has been hijacked by supermarkets who. with a few exceptions, sell us little plastic tubs of unctuous, over creamy distant relatives of the real thing.

The good news is we can reclaim Hummus and make it ourselves and never buy those little tubs again.

Apart from its glorious role in a mixed mezze, hummus is a good accompaniment to Grilled…

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The responsibility of Power

Education, Finances, Goal Setting, Mind, Motivation

I often think of how I would behave if I won the lottery. Would I lose my mind and abandon my good senses? Or, would I fulfill my dreams of helping others achieve the greatness they were created for? This blog post that I am sharing gives me hope that I would do the latter.

I would use whatever I am blessed with to be a blessing to others. However, I am only concerned with teaching others how to fish and not giving them fish; therefore, my lottery winnings would be used to open establishments purposed to educate and motivate others.

The Bulb Culture


We will all get to experience some form of power within our lives. It might be coaching a football team, managing a new project at the office or simply declaring that we are going to take full control of our lives.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”- Voltaire 

This particular quote may be a little bit of a cliché and it always seems to remind me of the first Spider-man movie for some reason. But it’s one of the best quotes to keep in the back of your mind when you feel like you’re in a position of power.

People often claim that when a weak individual who has stood along the sidelines for the majority of his life, comes to a position of power he will abuse that power and act vindictive towards others. Instead of uplifting those around them, their main aim is to bring people down…

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You would think it was steak…

Body, Nutrition

It’s been 21 days! No beef, pork, or chicken! No chemicalized or processed foods! Now, I’m venturing beyond the usual homemade stir fry and getting fancy with my veggie cuisine. 

Tonight I had a veggie patty on a bun that was totally healthy!

You would think I had a steak dinner tonight! That’s how delicious it tasted. I wish I had been wise enough to adopt this lifestyle years ago.

I feel fantastic on the inside  and I’m beginning to really show it on the outside!

Stay tuned…

Pre-Diabetes: “The Lie That Is Killing Us”

Body, Nutrition

I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes a couple of years ago. My mother is diabetic. I share some of her same symptoms now. I believe I made the decision to change my eating lifestyle in the nick of time! I will reverse any damage done to my body!!

Low Carb RN (CDE)


If you tested your blood sugar first thing in the morning and saw this number, do you know what it means?

Approximately 90 million people living in the U.S. are pre-diabetic. About 90% are unaware of that fact. Of those that have been told, there is often no sense of urgency impressed upon them to act on this information, largely due to the term “pre-diabetes.” (Article: Pre-Diabetes, the Lie That is Killing Us – HERE.)

Make no mistake, pre-diabetes is early, or “stage 1” diabetes.  If no action is taken, one can expect to progress to type 2 in a very short period of time.  If you have been told you have pre-diabetes, it is time to act.  It is NOT o.k. to just “watch it” (My Article: Pre-Diabetes: Why your Doctor’s Advice To “Watch It” Is the Worst Advice You Could Follow – HERE.)

I WAS a…

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My purpose is to teach…

Career, Education, Goal Setting, Introduction, Motivation


My sole intention was to earn extra money by occasional substitute teaching.  I was encouraged by a friend to apply at a school district in Sacaton, Arizona; which is the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC).  In August of 2014, I stopped by the middle school to introduce myself.  I had just left the district office where I completed the necessary paperwork to substitute teach at the elementary or the middle school.

Today, I am teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts in the same classroom I served as a long-term substitute for about 4 months.  I knew I wanted to stay there on my first day.  The teacher that started the year with this class had been there for a few years.  A couple weeks after school began, she accepted an opportunity to teach at the community college level. 

By December 10, 2014, I was provisionally certified to teach secondary English Language Arts.  Although I had earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Business Management, to become fully certified, I would be required to complete the Teaching Internship program.  With the help of the Instruction Coach, I was gently eased into my responsibilities.  I had a tremendous amount of support and each day I improved my teaching skills and became more passionate about the students I am teaching.

The students I encountered needed so much from me.  My lack of formal training was apparent when it came to preparing lesson plans, a strategy for instruction, and managing the behaviors in the classroom.  The one area I felt fairly confident in was developing and maintaining rapport with the individual students.  This would benefit me in the long-run and buy me the time I needed to improve in the three areas noted.

I advise teachers who are entering a secondary English classroom setting to be prepared to really get to know the students.   They are facing such a critical time period in their lives.  They are no longer little ones and yet they aren’t quite adults.  They are facing seemingly insurmountable circumstances at times that they aren’t able to audibly explain.  Their emotions are driven by relationships and family systems that aren’t always positive.

Lesson Planning

Beginning teachers must be able to plan and provide a set of learning opportunities that offer access to crucial concepts and skills for all students.  The first thing a teacher must do to design an effective classroom is to create a conducive learning environment that supports students’ engaged learning and meaningful instruction (Choy, Wong, Lim, & Chong, 2013).  Accessing the students background knowledge, planning a lesson that reaches those students and assessing their progress along the way is critical in helping those students to grow in the skill sets needed to be successful in the future as an adult (Whitsett & Hubbard, Summer, 2009).

In the latter decades of the 20th Century, as US populations became more racially, ethnically and economically diverse, researchers also recognized that diversity encompassed factors such as learning styles (Angus & DeOliveira, 2012).  When lesson planning for a diverse population this must be considered.

Instructional Strategy

Beginning teachers must understand what the expected curriculum goals and outcomes are for students and what resources are needed in order to accomplish the goals.  They need to understand how the curriculum they teach fits into the larger department or school curriculum and ultimately the national standards (Choy, Wong, Lim, & Chong, 2013).  While meeting expectations are critical, learning to differentiate based upon the students specific background, cultural values, and learning style (Whitsett & Hubbard, Summer, 2009).  Your English Language Learning (ELL) students require this for certain.

I quickly learned to rely on creative measures to provide the necessary background knowledge my students needed to comprehend what the textbook lessons meant.  My students are all Native Americans.  There is no racial diversity in my classroom unless I am counted.  Although my classroom is not diverse, the world around my students is much more diverse.

I use multiliteracies, which recognizes both the increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in the new globalized society and the new variety of text forms from multiple communicative technologies.  There is also the need for new skills to operate successfully in the changing literate and increasingly diversified social environment (Boche, 2014).  I suggest new teacher’s research all the various teaching strategies and design activities that optimize equitable learning (Whitsett & Hubbard, Summer, 2009).

Classroom Management (concern with keeping students engaged)

Beginning teachers must possess the skill of organizing a classroom which provides an orderly environment that increases academic engaged time and decreases distractions (Choy, Wong, Lim, & Chong, 2013).  Who knew that your organization (structure and procedures) would be the secret to your success in maintaining discipline? I struggled the most in this area because I wanted the students to just “do as I say, when I say it” and all would be in order.  It certainly does not work that way!  This age group must be entertained/engaged at all times.

Engaging students with symbol systems, including images, sound and music, as a means of self-expression and communication, as they are now an integral part of contemporary life (Shoffner, De Oliveira, & Angus, 2010) is critical.  Once I understood and put this into practice, my classroom became much more managed.  Other teachers were amazed at how quickly the students bonded with me and behaved in my classroom.


Beginning teachers who seek to be effective in the classroom are able to demand and care, support as they challenge, and provide for collaborative and individual learning experiences (Heckendorn, Summer 2006).  Across the nation, educators continue to face challenges as they work to individualize instruction to meet the specific needs of their students (Vaughn & Faircloth, N.D.)  My initial success in the classroom was founded upon a gut instinct to build relationships with individual students and creatively meet their educational needs while keeping with the textbook curriculum.  Any educator who has a vision to see students succeed, plans and prepares accordingly will also succeed in the end.


Angus, R., & DeOliveira, L. C. (2012). Diversity in secondary English classrooms: Conceptions and enactments. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 7-18.

Boche, B. (2014). Multiliteracies in the classroom: Emerging conceptions of first-year teachers. Journal of Language an Literacy Education [Online], 114-135. Retrieved from http://jolle.coe.uga.edu

Choy, D., Wong, A. F., Lim, K. M., & Chong, S. (2013). Beginning Teachers’ Perceptions of their Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills in Teaching: A Three Year Study. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 68-79.

Heckendorn, R. (Summer 2006). Building on the Three Rs of Professionalism. Kappa Delta Pi Record, pp. 152-153.

Shoffner, M., De Oliveira, L. C., & Angus, R. (2010, December). Multiliteracies in the secondary English classroom; Becoming literate in the 21st century. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, pp. 75-89.

Vaughn, M., & Faircloth, B. (n.d.). Teaching With a Purpose in Mind: Cultivating a Vision.

Whitsett, G., & Hubbard, J. (Summer, 2009). Supporting English Language Learners n the Elementary and Secondary Classrooms: How to Get Started. SRATE Journal, 41-47

“It’s time to move it, move it, move it!”

Body, Exercise, Goal Setting, Mind, Motivation

I worked today – actually on my feet more than usual due to standardized testing.  You have to walk around and monitor the students while they are testing.

For some reason, all day I thought about going to the gym.  My friend bought me a special membership as a gift this past Christmas.  I have haphazardly utilized it.  I went a few times right after the holiday season and found it physically challenging.  So, I did not go back.

Today, I yearned to go to the gym.  I knew it wouldn’t be challenging for me anymore.  Instinctively, I knew I was in a better place physically now that I am eating clean.  I was right!  Thirty minutes on the treadmill was not difficult at all.  I can do it again and again.

IMG_0635 IMG_0636 IMG_0641

It is urgent that I start moving my body (especially reducing my level of body fat).  I want my skin to be firm so I believe exercise is required.  The workout was awesome and I plan to repeat it consistently from this point forward.

I am transforming my body…stay tuned!

What’s the big deal?

Body, Exercise, Goal Setting, Motivation

This time is different.  I don’t care how much I weigh or how much weight I have lost.  I know the adipose tissue (fat) is disappearing from my body and that is all that matters.  I am transforming and that is the goal.  To become someone new, closer to what I was created to be, on the inside and out.

It’s funny because my mind is overactive these days as I process my old habits against my current behaviors.  It is amazing how happy I am.  There is peace and my inner spirit’s pleased.  I can physically do more…simple things like bend down without pain and no more heavy breathing.  I enjoy a good night’s sleep and consistently awake feeling fresh.  I properly cut waste from my body daily and have no bowel issues.  It’s because I am eating the right foods.  I am more physical.  My mind is set!  I decided to live and not slowly die.

I walked to the store to buy my healthy food instead of jumping in the car.  In fact, I love walking!

I do not plan on weighing on a scale.  It will take my focus away from what matters most – my health and how I FEEL.  That is my barometer.  To be intentional about my focus is what is different from the past.  To be present and accounted for in my self healing – not concerned with what others think.  I am not longer drawn to the dark side of living by longing for those things that are not good for me.

I believe the pain of my past is finally no longer affecting me.  It was excavated and given a proper burial.  I am released.  I see clearer without dingy filters and I hear the positives versus the negatives spoken to me.  I am able to love people – even the ones others find tough to love.  2014-05-15 20.40.47

My goal with blogging is to show my transformation – that is all.  I am a light for someone else struggling with food addition, among many other things conquered in my life.

This time is a big deal!  

This thing called PASSION will lead you to PURPOSE…

Introduction, Mind, Motivation, Spirit

When at look back at the experiences I had growing up and the journey it took to get to where I am today.  I wouldn’t change anything.  That seems silly because it wasn’t the best of times.  However, it led me to the best of times – the place I live now.

I feel as though I am finally in the right place in life.  No more looking back or seeking the approval of others.  I moved up on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need and am in a place of self-actualization.

Over the years, I have been passionate about many things and believed that I needed to make a difference with all of them.  Ultimately, I would end up switching my focus and it would be a disappointment or something would happen and force my situation or circumstances to change.  When I analyze the patterns in my life – it all makes sense.

Losing my babies catapulted me into a period of despair that I believed I would never overcome.  Yet, I am here.  I am happy and FREE.  The time between that occurring and now is filled with so many experiences good and bad it is exhausting and exhilarating to think about.

At first, I felt pushed into life and then one day, I started pulling.  At that point, I realized that I was passionate about living and could make choices and have desires that would ease my course in life.  I would be remiss if I did not share that my faith in God and relationship with Jesus Christ had everything to do with my transition.  In fact, this is what led me to understand that all I was searching for was in my hands.  I just needed to be faithful with the small things and the big things in life would work out.

Somewhere during that time frame, it occurred to me that it was my purpose to help others on their journey.  It’s not enough to get their yourself, but you must help someone else.  I imagine that Harriet Tubman, was overjoyed about freedom from slavery, but agonized over those who were left.  She had to make the trek back to help others to freedom or she was not truly free herself.  This is where I found myself in thought.

So, I talk to people and encourage whomever I can when possible.  I thought this meant LIfe Coaching, Ministry Work, Public Speaking, etc.  Truly, it just meant to exist and continue being led until otherwise instructed by my inner spirit.  That is where I am now.

No pressure.  Allow God to place people on your path, be open to receive them, accept what is intended in the right moment as prescribed and it will happen.