What’s in a Name?

Recently someone from my past noticed I did not have my husband’s last name listed on my Facebook profile. He’s the first to say something but I’m sure many people have wondered.

It seems on Facebook, anytime you change something people immediately start wondering about your relationship (or mental health) status.  I think it’s a lot more interesting that people imagine the drama, than live in reality.

Here’s the reality…

Sometime after I left my job as a teacher (and during a hateful presidential campaign), I changed my name to Lisa Marie. I did this for multiple reasons, none of which had anything to do with my marriage.

I left my job and was preparing to use my voice in a way I never could when I was teaching. I was creating a blog to advocate for teachers and I planned to use my social media to promote it. I didn’t want my last name, one students and administrators knew me by, to impact my advocacy. I also wanted to preserve it in case I’d return to teaching one day.

As a woman who’s honored her husband by changing her name (twice), I’ve experienced the good and bad parts of a last name.

The good is that there is a legacy in a last name. It takes us back in time and tells a story of our ancestors. We gain knowledge of our culture and pass that on to the next generation. My children carry their father’s name and his culture as well as mine.

Now that I no longer share their father’s name, my children and I don’t share a last name. There is a tinge of anger each time I have to make that distinction.  Aside from my children, many of my accomplishments are in my ex husband’s name. For example, the college degree I worked for has his name on it. Some of my favorite students still refer to me by his last name.

A name that I no longer identify with still carries meaning in my life.  I want those accomplishments to represent me, but somehow they seem to represent him.

The major flaw in a woman changing her last name is her loss of identity.

After literally changing all my identifications multiple times, I’ve learned not to identify by my last name. Lisa Marie is my constant and the hero of my story.

I’m thankful that Brent was proud to give me his last name, but not too proud to understand that maintaining who I am is more important than putting his last name on Facebook.

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Got to Love Greek Food: Wellness Diary Week 2

As you may have seen on my Pintrest board last week, I pinned and cooked some amazing meals last week.  I made many Asian themed foods for lunch and dinner, and some yummy quiches for breakfast.  Unfortunately, one of my most predominant flaws, lack of consistency, showed it’s ugly face and I cheated quite a bit.  From eating Chick-fil-a with the kids, rather than packing a prepared meal, to binging all weekend on restaurant food (thanks Hooters, Chilis, and Tony’s Pizza), I should feel ashamed of myself, but I don’t.  

The only thing I can do, is improve this week.  If I make excuses or beat myself up over it, I’ll stay inconsistent and unhealthy.  I have to improve my mood by getting back to work!  So, I started Monday with an awesome workout and have a class scheduled every day this week, except Friday and Sunday, because every day is just crazy talk.

This week’s food prep theme is Greek/Mediterranean.  I use themed food each week for two reasons; First, I am expertly inconsistent so, new foods each week keep me interested and make me want to eat them (most of the time).  Second, all the recipes use similar ingredients so my food bill stays reasonable, even though I’m using fresh, healthy ingredients.  

I never stick to specific diets, I just try to eat healthy, but I always do a little research before I prep each week.  Here’s what I found on Mediterranean diets:  A mediterranean diet focuses on less protein and lots of vegetables.  Since the recipes have no salt and oil replaces butter, it’s a heart healthy diet that has also been linked to reduce risk of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.  Last night, I made a tomato, basil, artichoke chicken with sautéed lemon, garlic spinach.  The younger kids screamed, “Ew!” while my oldest   said it looked like a gourmet meal!  I pushed the veggies aside and cut up their chicken for a meal everyone LOVED!  

On Sunday, I prepped Greek salad and rice bowls for my lunches, but I didn’t prepare anything for breakfasts.  That’s a big no, no for me because I’m not a breakfast person.  Nothing ready, means I eat nothing, or I eat crap.  Today, I had cold pizza left over from the weekend… Inconsistency flawed, I don’t know what to tell you.

Life is about balance – at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

I ate that strawberry donut on Sunday… Yummy!

It’s only Tuesday, ya’ll.  If you’d like to see if I make it through this week and all the moments mentioned above, check out my youtube channel this Friday when I post my weekly wellness diary.  I’m sure it will be filled with flaws that should make you feel better about your own wellness journey!  

YouTube:  youtube.com/expertlyflawed

For recipes check out my Pintrest Board:  Week 2 Flawed Wellness 






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A Teacher’s Final Goodbye

I left teaching on October 21, 2017 and it was the hardest decision I ever made. I left 125 students who looked to me for knowledge, guidance and encouragement.  I’m sure some were happy, but even more shared my broken heart.  My decision has been documented in previous blog posts and I will continue to share my letters, experience and advocacy, but today I was feeling nostalgic and thought I would post the goodbye video my kiddos made for me.


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