She was my Spanish teacher in High School, a time that probably was the most confusing in my life. I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do, all I knew that I needed to get out of my house. Everyday, I would come into her class with some crazy drama after another, most of the time taking attention away from the day’s lesson. She would shake her head at me, laughing behind her chic framed glasses, saying, “I’esha, you’re a trip!” I loved her, probably one of my favorite teachers ever. She was young, fun, and just the coolest person ever. I admired her so much. Her style, her confidence, her short hair, and her spunk, was something I wanted for myself when I reached her age. She held a sense of freedom and laughter that most of the teachers at that school seemed to have lost down the road. Her youthful spirit and her love for the kids that she taught made her standout among the other staff, which made her our favorite. Although she was great at her job, she didn’t hold back from being real either. She talked to us like the young adults we were and never pretended to be perfect. That characteristic alone made me realize the kind of person I wanted to be growing up.
Little did I know that she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She mentioned it briefly back then, but as a kid, I couldn’t even imagine researching it, let alone already knowing what it was. According to WebMd.com (http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/default.htm), “Multiple Sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision. Other possible warning signs are muscle stiffness, thinking problems, and urinary problems. A multiple sclerosis diagnosis is made by the history of symptoms and a neurological exam, often with the help of tests such as an MRI or a spinal tap. No one’s sure what causes multiple sclerosis, but it may be hereditary. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis, but treatment can relieve worsening of symptoms.”
I didn’t see any signs of it back in 2003. She appeared fine to me. She danced in class, she play fought with us, she jumped up, laughed, and had a ball every period we were sent there to learn the Spanish language. Fast forward to present day, many years have past, two marriages between us, and my two little boys in the living room watching us converse. She is limited physically, her body not moving as frequently and youthfully as it once did. Her speech is different, but her smile remains. Only in her thirties and this disease is trying to make her appear older than what she is, what I know her heart feels.
I think about my life and the lives of all the people that I know. To lie and say that we don’t complain would be foolish. To pretend that we don’t get frustrated with our day to day, with the hustle and the grind, is blasphemy. While Joy, my beautiful friend and former Spanish teacher is confined to her home most days due to this illness, we have the ability to go outside and to be mobile. While she struggles to walk and often depends on her loving husband to assist her, we can do whatever our hearts desire. How shameful am I to have ever complained! God still manages to put a smile on her face, no tears or pity saturate her eyes and she often lacks the very thing that most of us take advantage of daily. The ability to move and be free.
When I think about how hard life is, and the struggle that even my own people seem to want to put me through, I have no choice but to fight. While she inspired me as a child, she still inspires me this very day. I think about how something we don’t even think about like MS can take the small things away from her like that, and how it could happen to anyone of us. Despite losing basic freedoms like wearing heels and going out, driving to the beach and having fun, running around with the children, she still smiles and still laughs. She still loves with all her heart and still cares. I tell myself everyday…
I must because Joy can’t
I must get up, I must keep going, I must not stop, I must not fall, I must love every minute of this struggle and enjoy the abilities that I have. I must because she can’t.
She is my inspiration. I saw her when she was different, I knew her before MS took over and I love her. I love her today, because when most of us would’ve been too in pain, to hurt, and too embarrassed to smile and laugh and reach out to friends. She keeps going. She keeps striving. When even the strongest of us would’ve given in to this disease and used it as a crutch, she is a fighter. Joy proves to me that if she can, I better! I had better strive, I had better fight, and I had better win… for JOY!
More than 400,000 people in the United States have MS.
An estimated 2,500,000 around the world have MS.
About 45 percent of the people with MS are not severely affected by the disease.
Diagnosis of MS is usually between 20 and 40 years of age.
MS affects more women than men, with a ratio of 2:1.
About 85 percent of those who are newly diagnosed have the relapsing-remitting form of MS.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about 50 percent of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will become progressive at 10 years.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about one-third of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will be using a wheelchair at 20 years.
MS does not significantly affect life span.
The course of the disease is unpredictable and no two people will experience the same set of symptoms.
There are four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing.
Among young adults, MS is the most common disease of the central nervous system.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS.
MS is not contagious.
MS is a progressive disease for which there is not yet a cure.
Increased understanding of MS has led to the development of many new treatments that target both the disease process and its many symptoms.
In countries further from the equator, the incidence of MS increases.
Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning hardening of tissue or scars.
MS is not inherited or genetically transmitted, although there does seem to be some genetic susceptibility to the disease.
This weekend, March 16th at A2, TAG (The Alliance Group) will be holding a day party and charity event to benefit MS. They have collaborated with Jamia Thomas Crockett, an advocate for MS who travels the country sharing her story on life with MS and inspiring many. Check out Jamia’s story here: (
). Although Joy and I can’t attend I encourage you all to be there and support. The details are here on their Facebook event page:
Every Week GaptoothDiva.com wants to feature beautiful, stylish, and marvelous people with awesome personalities. It’s our pleasure to highlight our supporters and just how incredibly unique they are. Check out the following individual and connect with them online. We’re building a community of like-minded people who want to celebrate distinctiveness and diversity. We are the Baddest Creative Motivation!
Today’s awesome style and personality belong to:
Vanessa adds, “A great belt makes me happy too ”
I love your style and how you rock those curves doll! Weerrk! LOL It’s great to see a Teacher express her beauty in such a fun and fabulous way. Keep it up Vanessa, you’re amazing. xoxo
To be featured Submit your information to GaptoothDiva@hotmail.com. Men & Women encouraged to apply. Submit your pics, a brief bio describing your style, and your online profile links and we will share your info with our community. All ages and demographics accepted, Style is unique and we love it!
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My first born, adorable, and wise-ass son A’veri began school yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. He has been begging to go to school for the past two years. I’ve bought him flash cards and prepared him for education very early on, and now I will have the help of Richmond Public Schools to see that my child receives a great education. Thank the Lord! However, with all the preparations, nothing prepared me for the craziness that would come out of this boy’s mouth during the whole process. A’veri says what he wants, but sometimes I wonder who is feeding him this information. I call him the guru, because he thinks he knows it all. Now that he is going to school, I guess I have to get ready for him to try to school us all.
On the first day, I knew we were in trouble. While all the kids sat in a circle, A’veri sat in the middle of the circle as if they were all there for him. While the teacher was seating everyone and dismissing the parents, A’veri raised his hand to ask a question. When the teacher called on A’veri, he said, “When are we going to start, because I’m ready to learn now”. Lord, please help us!
In Walmart -
A’veri – Mommy? Can you buy me a computer for school? I need it to do my business at my desk.
Me – I’m not buying a computer for school. You will get a notebook and a pencil. No one uses computers at their desk in Pre-school.
A’veri – Yes they do, Mommy. I have to do my work at my desk, so I can get paid.
Me – Boy! You don’t get paid to go to school. You go to school to LEARN.
A’veri – Learn? Do I learn, so I can get a good job like Daddy?
Me – Well, yes. So you can get a good job when you get older.
A’veri – So I can get paid then at my job… duh! Mommy, can you make sure my computer is red and blue like spiderman.
Going Over the School List
Me – The teacher said she needs everyone to bring tissues, soap and hand sanitizers, too.
A’veri – Mommy, are there dirty kids in school?
Me – Why? There are all types at kids at school.
A’veri – I don’t want to go to school with dirty kids, and I don’t want to get dirty either.
Me – A’veri, don’t worry about the other kids. You are going to school to learn.
A’veri – But Mommy, the teacher worried because she need soap and “tizers” (hand sanitizers) from everybody for all the dirty kids. Ugh!
Me – A’veri, that’s for everyone to use in the class. Even you.
A’veri – She better not be calling me dirty.
The Night Before the First Day
Me – A’veri, I’m going to miss you when you’re in school tomorrow. But when you come out, I want you to sit with me and tell me everything that happened.
A’veri – I’m going to miss you, too. Are you and Dash (his baby brother) going to be ok?
Me – Yes, me and Dash will be fine. We are going to wait on you.
A’veri – Mommy, don’t just wait on me. You could be cleaning up my room, buying me toys. Mommy! You can make me something to eat for when I get home. And you can’t let nothing happen to my brother. Feed him, change his pampers, and watch him. I don’t want nothing to happen to my brother. Ok, Mommy?
Me – Ok, A’veri. Whatever you say (sarcasticlly)
A’veri – Good girl, Mommy.
Dad – So, how was it man? Did you like school?
A’veri – Yes. But Daddy, you and Mommy lied to me. You said that we were going to learn our alphabets and our numbers. We didn’t learn nothing today. We played, took a nap, ate lunch… but no learning. School is fun and ya’ll are liars.
Mommy – Hold up! I didn’t lie. It’s only the first day, A’veri. You don’t learn on the first day.
A’veri – So when do you start learning?
Dad – Later on. She has to make sure everyone is comfortable first.
A’veri – I’m never going to tell her I’m comfortable. I wanna play everyday!
On the Way Home
A’veri – Mommy, I wanna be in the big kid class!
Me – You’re in Preschool A’veri, there is no big kid class. What’s wrong?
A’veri – I got a lot of babies crying in my class. Like Dash, they always “boo boo, boo, and whaa whaaa whaaa” (imitates a crying baby), and they getting on my nerves! Ugh!
Me – Have you tried helping them or giving them a hug, so they stop crying?
A’veri – They not my kids!
Me – Ok, A’veri get ready for bed. Are you ready to say your prayers?
A’veri – Yes, I’m ready. Mommy can you do me a favor?
Me – What?
A’veri – It’s very important. I need you to pray for me.
Me – I always pray for you A’veri. What’s the matter?
A’veri – I need you to ask God to tell Ms. Johnson to make me the line leader tomorrow when we go to the bathroom. She didn’t make me the line leader and I was pissed off.
Me – Ok I’ll pray for you. But why don’t you just ask her tomorrow, yourself.
A’veri – Ok, like a man. I’ll ask her like a man.
Me – (laughs out loud… like literally), Good Night!
That’s what I’m talking about… Pray for Me. Xoxo
Belinda’s quick wit and passion to motivate & inspire others is her gift from God. Her gift to God is a life dedicated to helping as many people as she can to get through life’s challenges with laughter while inspiring them to overcome their fears and self-limiting beliefs.
Inclusive of all the good and bad personal, family, and business world experiences, Belinda considers herself well educated in the school of life. Her varied professional background includes management, training & facilitation, real estate sales, and entrepreneurial business coaching.
Belinda draws on her extensive professional and personal life experiences in order to deliver a rare blend of passion, humor, and enthusiasm to her audience in hopes of inspiring them to be all they can be in both their personal and professional lives. Her infectious energy and distinctive presentation style captivates her audiences and provides clarity, practical tools and techniques that participants can easily incorporate into their daily lives. She encourages attendees to tap into their unlimited resources of rich potential that lies within. She also challenges them to first seek success on the inside in order to see success on the outside.
Belinda is an active philanthropist and believes that giving back and having an attitude of gratitude is the true secret to success. She supports causes that focus on the homeless as well as organizations that promote the empowerment of all women.
Kristy K. Taylor is a full time Health Science Professor, author, and founder of Kid Medic, L.L.C. She has over five years of teaching experience in the field of health science education, and she spent two years as an elementary school teacher in Brackettville, TX. Prior to becoming an elementary school teacher and accepting her current position at Palm Beach State College in Florida, she spent six years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Healthcare Administrator and teacher for the Community College of the Air Force. Kristy holds an associate’s degree in Healthcare Management, a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources, and a master’s degree in Health Science with a focus in Health Education. Kristy is also currently pursuing her doctorate in Health Science with a focus in Global Health at A.T. Still University located in Mesa, Arizona. She holds several certifications to include:
Texas EC-4 Generalist and EC-12 Health Teacher
Certified Wellness Coach
Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)
Certified in Instructional Design
In the past, Kristy has worked with students by providing them with career exploration tools and resume help. She is also currently working on her Career Coaching Certification through the Professional Association of Career Coaches and Resume Writers. Kristy enjoys teaching and working with students to help them achieve their goals. She started Kid Medic because she believes that children can reach their potential only when they are properly taught, nurtured, and engaged in a manner that inspires them to expand their horizons through reading, thinking, exploring, and discovering the world around them.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Have you realized that you suffer from alcoholism/ drug addiction just like your mother or father. Maybe you keep falling into the same negative relationship patterns as someone in your family. Perhaps a child you know is being abused, because their parent(s) were abused, and their parents before them.
GaptoothDiva Talks with William Shifflett, Expert Author and Teacher, who has studied and written extensively on the subject of Generational Curses. Generational Curses is the belief currently in vogue in some circles of the Christian Church, that a person’s problems are to be blamed on the sins of ancestors, thus the alternate name Ancestral Curses.
In his book Friendly Fire: Embracing the Power of Trial, Pastor and Bible teacher William Shifflett takes issue with the errors of this teaching as a means of escaping the character building benefits of trials. William’s website, http://www.Swordpoints.org also features a discussion on these fallacies and is linked to other sites exactly for that reason.
Tonight we will discuss the confusion between Generational patterns and Generational effects, the foolishness and silliness of some of Generational Curse claims, and William Shifflett’s book Friendly Fire: Embracing the Power of Trial.
Community 50/50, Inc. was founded in August 2009, based on the urgent need to address our youth’s thinking process and to promote youth to make positive choices about their life, to impact healthy growth/ development and a positive future. Community 50/50, Inc. started with a five member team of individuals who work together in the community and residential facilities with at risk youth. Through our direct contact with youth and their families we observed firsthand the need for support present in our neighborhoods. With our innovative programming and passion to help, we hope to bring about significant change in our communities and revitalize the idea that it “takes a village to raise a child”, but this will only be accomplished if we get the adults in the community actively involved.
Do you want to leave your current job, but you’re too afraid of struggling on uncertain income? GaptoothDiva will discuss finances, fear of career change, and budgeting for your family with Danny Kofke.
• Retire with a sizeable nest egg
• Teach in a foreign country
• Own all of your possessions—including your cars and house
• Invest in Roth IRAs and 403bs
• Establish a weekly ‘budget’
• Live a financially secure life on a teacher’s salary!
Use the easy-to-use tips to equip you and your family to not only survive, but live happily within your means, multiply your funds and invest in your future.
Danny Kofke is currently a special education teacher in Georgia. He has also
taught kindergarten and first grade before moving into special education. His love of teaching and finances led him to write the book “How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher‘s Salary.”
Danny has been been featured in a number of publications including CNN.com, USA Weekend, Bankrate.com, PARADE, Instructor Magazine, USA Today, CBS MoneyWatch.com, FoxBusiness.com, The Wall Street Journal, ABCNews.com, Yahoo Finance, Woman’s Day, Consumer’s Digest, Bottom Line Personal, AOL.com, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Your Family Today and The Huffington Post. He has also been interviewed on over 150 radio shows and on numerous television shows including Fox & Friends, CNN’s Newsroom, The 700 Club, ABC News Now, FOX Business Channel‘s Varney & Company, HLN’s The Clark Howard Show, MSNBC Live and The Daily Buzz.
A lot of people think that figuring out financial matters and investing are
difficult and are intimidated by it. Danny wants to show others if this 35
year-old school teacher can figure it out then they can too.
To learn more about Danny please visit www.dannykofke.blogspot.com.
“Many of you reading this love your job – that is PRICELESS. Did you know that, according to a 2006 study done by the NEA, 50% of teachers quit the profession within 5 years because of poor working conditions and low pay? I don’t want you to be a part of that 50% if you don’t want to. That is why I decided to write my book. In it I show how this 33 year-old school teacher has done very well on his salary. I was actually part of that 50%. I had the opportunity to double or triple my salary a few years ago. I decided to take this risk and became a flooring salesman. After 2 months of trying to sell flooring I realized that I was meant to teach. I even sat down with my wife and said that even if I made $1,000,000 a year selling flooring I was not as happy as I was in the classroom. Some of you might be in a similar situation. I hope that I can show you that you can still do well on a teacher’s salary and that wealth does not always mean how big your bank account is.”
- Danny Kofke
Contact Danny Kofke at …. firstname.lastname@example.org
Purchase His book…