Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Good Life


So, as a type 1 diabetic, I have blood work drawn every 6 months. This time around, the one test for overall blood sugar control, HbA1C, was up to 7.8. This ain’t a great number. In fact, it’s higher than it’s been in 5 years- higher than when I weighed enough to be classified as almost obese.

Why am I telling you this? To me, it’s a reminder of a few things.

You can’t take anything at face value.

Anyone that sees me on the street today will probably not make a note of it. I’m pretty generic looking. Average height and average weight- I’m an average looking mom of 2 boys. I exercise regularly. I write down what foods I eat and try to stick to a balanced diet.

No one can see I have a condition that I fight every day. There are no outward signs,  unless someone sees me test or inject insulin, that I have to monitor what I eat, what I do and inject medicine every few hours of every single day.

There are tons of people out there like me. We all have things going on that others don’t have a clue about. It’s a reminder to pass on a smile every chance we get. It’s something we can do to lighten whatever burden the other person may be carrying.

You can always do better.

I look healthy and I feel fantastic. I went through some stuff in my early 40s that made me afraid I would be in pain for the rest of my life. I worked hard and improved. Despite my apparent health now, I’m reminded by this blood work that I can still do better.

Diabetic Warriors (my favorite term) can get numb to the daily grind and we need to be reminded to pick up our game. This doesn’t apply to just us Warriors, though. We all need reminders.

We all need new inspiration to keep our goals in sight.

A corollary to the fact we can do better is our need to get help from others to do so. For me, I should reach out to my health care team to help me gain tighter control of my diabetes. This goes for everyone: getting help from others helps us succeed. It can make the process more enjoyable, as well.

Enjoy your days.

I could get depressed about my numbers or ticked that I have this stupid condition in the first place. I choose not to, though. I choose to find ways I can enjoy getting and staying in shape. I choose to spend time each day doing things and being with people who fill me with joy and purpose. I’m not rich with money but I am rich with the satisfaction of who and what I am.

To me, that’s a very good life.

The above essay was inspired by my current work on a guided journal for Diabetic Warriors, which I hope to release in 2018. This will be the 2nd in my Support & Inspire series, following Dear Teachers. Which reminds me! Summer will fly by, so if you are or someone you love is a teacher, please make sure to order your copy soon!! Dear Teachers also makes a great gift for your staff if you are an administrator, principal, youth group leader or home schooler as described in this post. Contact me at for signed copies and special bulk pricing opportunities.

Friday, June 9, 2017

An Open Letter to Support Your Teachers

An Open Letter To Support Your Teachers

June, 2017

Dear School District Administrators, Personnel Heads, Professional Development Managers, Principals and Head Teachers:

You can give your teachers a warm hug of support that will last an entire school year.

A school year has ended and another waits in the wings. If they are at all like the teachers I’m familiar with, your teaching staff is probably hard at work right now closing their books, leaping into days to recharge with family and friends and also exploring a variety of professional learning tools and events in preparation for next year. They never stop.

My name is Susan Baumgartner, and I would like to introduce you to a book I’ve written to help your amazing teachers get a weekly boost throughout the 2017-18 school year.

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Based upon my lifetime of experiences and philosophical thought and 5 years as an elementary educational assistant, Dear Teachers is a guided journal for today’s educator. It contains 40 beautiful nature photos taken by my friend and elementary health room professional, Marlene Oswald, tied to 40 of my own essays on a variety of teacher-specific themes. In addition, there is space each week for the reader to add their own thoughts. An entire year’s worth of experience can be captured in this single, 88 page paperback.

I think of Dear Teachers as a friend that can sit on a teacher’s desk or in their bag, waiting with a positive word or picture at the ready or simply acting as a space to listen as the teacher journals. Some teachers have said they plan to sit down with Dear Teachers on Sunday mornings with a cup of tea or coffee before preparing for their week. What a great idea to embrace!

To assist with the connection of writer, book and reader, I’ve established a closed Facebook page readers are invited to join. I will post additional information weekly and readers may also share if/when they wish.

We are in this together.

I would love to discuss with you ways my book could help you support your teachers. Amazon offers Prime shipping directly to you from the printer. I also have signed copies that we can arrange special shipping and pricing for based on volume orders in the US. UK orders can be placed here.

PD events, in special gift baskets and in tool kits for your teachers or new hires are some of the opportunities my book can be used in. I am also available for speaking events.

I look forward to talking with you and wish you all the best today and throughout the year!


Susan Baumgartner
Author, Dear Teachers
Twitter: @sbaumgartner94

Phone: (262)787-8770

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


The events surrounding KPop superstar T.O.P this week (and beyond) highlight some important facts: we all have problems, we all need to live true to ourselves and we all need people around us who can help us do that.

We All Suffer

I have type 1 diabetes (T1D) and have struggled with depression and anxiety on and off my whole life. I know people with a laundry list of physical, emotional, financial and/or psychological hardships. It doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have. Money cannot buy you out of life’s bitter darknesses.

T.O.P is said to be dealing with some mental health issues. Mental struggles are just as painful as physical ones. Some have argued that they are tougher because they are invisible, therefore sympathy is not easily earned. Having an invisible condition myself (T1D) I can see this as possible. We sometimes want to pretend these things don’t exist. Sometimes we try to hide our weaknesses.

We All Deserve Truth

I’ve become more outspoken about my life, including my T1D, in recent years. Writing this blog is testament to my willingness to share my life’s truths. It’s frightening to me but I feel compelled to live (and share) my real life for both myself and others who may find themselves in similar situations.

We all live within a social structure and sometimes we feel obligated to mold ourselves to that framework’s customs. I believe people like T.O.P feel this pressure deeply. Whether it’s our personal, medical, professional, religious, political or sexual truths, if ours are in serious conflict with the framework we find ourselves in, it will lead to our destruction.

A little flexibility could go a long way towards easing each other's experiences.

We All Need Someone

With all my talk of pain and pressure, YES there is hope. It can be found in each other’s eyes and arms.

We all need a support system. We can all be a part of those support systems. We can express kind words and actions. We can allow others who differ from us to have their space. As long as they are not negatively impacting others, it’s their right. We can speak up and stand up with non-violent conviction when we see others being excluded and wronged.

We don’t need yes-people in our lives agreeing blindly to whatever we say and do. We need people living their lives fully and living their truths fully.  We need people willing to actively try, fail and get back up again to try again. T.O.P needs that just as much as you or I.

Life’s about learning from our experiences. We can do that best when we do it together.