About Me

To Understand Who I Am, You Need To Also Understand Where I’ve Been

I am a teacher currently without a teaching job.

I love teaching. I miss it desperately. It is kind of sad just how much I miss it. How much do I miss it, you ask? Well, I miss teaching so very much, that even though I desperately need the finances, if someone came to me and legitimately offered me a teaching job but could not pay me, I would still take the job. I would take it. On the spot. Right then and there. When can I move in?

I don't care who you are or where you are - it is a tragedy to be taken from what you are most passionate.

During the last four and a half years of my life, I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome. It is an understatement to say that I went through a lot to get to the point I am in life now. I actually live a pretty “normal” life.

I no longer spend parts of my days in pain intense enough to put me in the fetal position on the couch. I no longer have to lay perfectly still in an effort to avoid pain. In fact, I no longer have to take a pain pill every single day, and I have not absolutely had to in well over a year. I can work a full day of school (even though right now it is substitute teaching), come home, cook dinner, eat it, clean the dishes, and start on whatever else I want (not that I do all of those every time; who does?!).

Even though I have been through a lot medically and personally in the last few years, none of the diagnoses were as harsh as, "You will not be teaching this year." I had been sick for so very long, that when I learned that I had Fibromyalgia, Sjogren's Syndrome, Lupus, and everything that comes with them, I was just glad to learn that all of my symptoms had (a) name/names and management options.

Oddly enough, the list of symptoms for each one actually even made a lot of my life make more sense. I was empowered to make better decisions for myself that had actual medical reasoning behind them no matter how weird those decisions/options seemed.

Not teaching is still completely and totally upsetting. Completely broken-hearted. Still.

I loved my job. I still love my job even though I am not there. I miss teaching, planning, having fun, etc. It kind of consumed my life. I did not know what to do when I lost it. I was so hurt, broken hearted, and just plain broken; in all reality, I still am. I once heard Paula Deen say that in a time when everything in her life wasn't right, she turned to her stove. I feel that way. God has allowed food and cooking to be a healing part in this time in my life. I have a renewed love for food.

Without a teaching job, I had more time to cook…and to eat. I love food, and as the intro to the Rhoda show used to say, “…[the food] loved me back.”

When I had first started to dabble in cooking again, in late September, I got a phone call:
“Hello. Is Amber there?”
“This is Amber.”
“Are you the one who made Mango Lemon-Drop Sunshine Puffs?”
*Stunned laughter* “Yes?”
“You have been selected as a finalist of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.”
“That’s ridiculous!”
Thoughts: Really? For real? This has to be a joke.
It turned out to totally not be a joke.

I wasn’t allowed to share that I was a finalist with anyone for a long time. I wasn’t allowed to share the recipe with anyone even longer than that. When I was allowed to share that information, I made Mango Lemon-Drop Sunshine Puffs for nearly anyone and everyone that asked for them in an effort to practice for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

Between practicing for the contest, making dinner, and making snacks and desserts that I had no business making over the last several months, my hands-on cooking time increased and is increasing dramatically. In fact, the number of recipe cards in my recipe box has increased dramatically.

I started Life’s Crayons as a blog requirement for a master’s education class; it became a place for me to share random thoughts about life. Several of those thoughts had to do with Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and random allergies because they have consumed my life for such a long time and because so many people who have autoimmune disorders want to know how to go from being in intense pain all the time to being able to function pretty normally. I thought for a while that I would like Life’s Crayons to be about overcoming and how to overcome Sjogren’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, etc., but I found that when I actually sat down to type out so many of those things, those things were too personal for me to bring myself to post and I did not feel expert enough to get on a soapbox about any of it. I still don’t. Autoimmune is different for everyone; even if everyone had the same kind of autoimmune disorder, it would still be different for everyone. Ultimately, I’m not passionate enough about the subject to write about it all the time; in fact, I wouldn’t mind forgetting it altogether if it didn’t still affect my life on a regular basis.

Now, Life’s Crayons is still a place to post random thoughts. Occasionally it will be about overcoming Sjogren’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, etc. It may even continue to be a place where I post some of my work for grad school. :)

The Recipe Crayon Box is a place for me to post the recipes that helped me heal in a time when I was unexpectedly broken. I am pretty passionate about food, and I would like to share that passion with you – photos, mishaps, family memories, and all.

The Box of Crayons Blog had a position from the start, and a good one. It is a place for me to post wonderful resources for teachers. Here is my passion. If I can’t teach, I will post what I would like to teach. It could completely consume my life if I let it.

Between The Box of Crayons Blog, Life’s Crayons, and The Recipe Crayon Box – these passions of mine are expressed to bring a smile to my face, and hopefully, they will bring a smile to yours. :) Welcome!


  1. Amber,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It can be difficult to talk about myself sometimes on my blog because I usually think "who wants to know personal stuff about me?" but it brings our readers closer and gives us a since of real life friendships with people whom we may actually never meet in person. Congrats on on being in the finalists for the contest! What an accomplishment. Have a wonderful week.

  2. I love all your recipes, your sense of humor and your candidness in talking about your autoimmune diseases. I suffer from Lupus and APLS and have faced the same difficulties with work and other obligations. Your recipes look delicious and I can't wait to try them out!!! God Bless You! Jen

    1. Well, I'll tell ya - I haven't updated this in a while! I actually got a teaching job in September. I teach 5th grade in an inner city school, and I love it! I have been wanting to update my blog(s), and post new stuff, but haven't lately because I have been insanely busy. I may post about that to let everyone know that I'm still around :). Your sweet note made me smile, and I'm glad that I could brighten your day a little. Don't be a stranger :).

  3. I just stumbled on your blog and FELL.IN.LOVE.AFTER.READING.THREE.RECIPES. I HAAAAAD to know 'who you are'...and clicked on 'about'. Then I felt SOOOO sad about how much you miss teaching - and then read where you taught this past school year. I truly hope you are teaching this year as well. :). LOVE LOVE LOVE - JAW ON GROUND - shredding chicken in kitchenaid. I CANNOT SHRED EITHER!!!!!!!!!! I am so impressed. Also dying to make those rocket rolls but wondering how much time they take? Thanks for a fabulous blog and I hope you keep it up. I am going to look for you on FB now.
    -A new fan (and mom of four ALWAYS HUNGRY boys!!! :)!)

  4. Thank you so much! Yep, I've been so busy teaching that I have forgotten to update this post! I'll get on that ASAP :).

  5. I just found The Recipe Crayon Box by accident but I am so glad I did. I love that you use your Mom's recipe cards. So far I haven't found one recipe I don't want to try right now! I had to see who was making all this incredible food so I came over to your "About Me" post. I know teaching children in this country is a thankless job. My family is full of teachers. My father was a junior high math teacher and I have 3 aunts and a cousin who do their job with very little pay and often put a lot of what they make buying supplies and things they need. All of them love what they do though. So Thank you! You are a special person to do what you do.

  6. Hi Amber,

    (I don’t know how to catch your attention but hopefully you could spare me a minute to read this message.)

    My name is Freddy. Surfing on the net I found your blog and noticed you have a great number of tasty recipes there, that is why I am contacting you. I wonder if you would like join our website www.mytaste.com and receive more visitors to your blog through making your recipes available to a greater number of internet users.

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