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Career Change?

Mar 31, 2015 by

Career Change?

We’ve been dealing with some lifestyle changes and some possible career moves in our future. It's weird to think that at thirty years old we might be starting over on a new adventure. Click To Tweet It holds both endless possibility and endless fear. I wrote a guest post over on my friend Kathryn’s blog while she was busy moving across the country on how we’re handling the impending decision-making process.

Now that it looks like we might be considering not being a military family our whole system of life is under the microscope.

I’m having a serious identity crisis.

When I said, “I Do”, I proudly took on the title of military wife. I piled it on top of my head, balancing it with all the other hats I wear: sister, neighbor, baker, daughter, friend, teacher, dog owner, traveler, aunt, crafter, photographer… military wife. It looks nice there on the top, it makes me feel like I belong to some elite club, like I’m wearing the appropriate uniform.

You can read more here.


Let me know what you think. How do you make life changing decisions?

How to make big life decisions? | Life Choices and Transitions |

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House Training A New Puppy is Like Taming a Tumbleweed

Mar 20, 2015 by

House Training A New Puppy is Like Taming a Tumbleweed

Disclaimer: This is a post about poop.

Literally, 12 times. In two hours. This is how many times I took my almost housebroken new puppy outside to go potty….and still he came inside, looked at me, and peed on the floor.

This puppy is a monster.

I’ve read all the articles. Take puppy out immediately after waking. Take puppy out 5-10 minutes after eating. Take puppy out after play time. Take puppy out when he’s sniffing around. If puppy doesn’t immediately potty, take him back inside to his crate for five minutes, then take him back out again for ten. Always carry your pup to the door so he doesn’t have an accident. Never carry your pup to the door or he won’t learn how to go to the door himself…. The list goes on.

Let’s get real here. Who has time for that? Most dog trainers suggest taking them out for ten-minutes, setting a timer, bringing them in for five and out for ten ALL DAY LONG! I read one article suggesting that only stay at home moms should get new puppies because they have the time and the patience to deal with potty training. WHAT? I challenge you to name one mom who has time for that!

Forget trying to get the puppy to poo in only one place in the yard, I’d just be happy for him to get the general idea that he should go in the yard at all! Working 40+ hours a week and wanting to just sit on the couch when we get home is not ideal when trying to potty-train a puppy. I understand this. I just don’t like it.

How to house train your dog, new puppy potty training, |
In a dream world I would be able to open the back door, let the dog out and watch as he happily skips down into the back yard to pee in his designated spot… the reality is, if I let him out alone he either a)poops on the deck right outside the door b)dramatically throws himself repeatedly into the sliding glass door while yelping to be allowed back in or c) runs off the deck to play, only to return to the house and proceed to pee on the floor.

You know that moment in childhood when your mom says you absolutely cannot have a puppy because they are a lot of work and you think to yourself “I would do all the work! It can’t be that bad!” Well, it is that bad, and mom was right. You heard me: mom was right. Click To Tweet

The thing is, I’ve successfully trained a dog before. My little terrier has an absolute bladder of steel and can hold it until I come home from work, even if I’m gone for 10+ hours. She’s a champ. She is a doggy-genius. She was easy to train.

This pup is an entirely new ball game. He’s lucky he’s cute.

So, I bought new, delicious treats today. Potty treats. I figured if M&M’s work for toddlers, then real liver pieces are going to work for the puppy. Please? Please let them work.

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Twittering Away

Mar 18, 2015 by

Twittering Away

I am learning how to use Twitter. I feel like it came into being just after it was cool for my generation to be using it, so I never did. And now… I feel left out. I’m slowly discovering how useful it is and I have clearly missed the bandwagon.

The first time I ever tried Twitter was several years ago, and I hated it. Really hated it. I’m pretty sure one of the first tweets I ever read was something like: “I ate a sandwich”. Thus began my long-standing belief that this was the dumbest social media platform. I still do not need to know when strangers eat sandwiches.

And then I started following Brad Paisley. He is hilarious. And Twitter slowly started to redeem itself. I found cool news articles and interesting people to follow.

I’m pretty sure there is a cool way that I can implement Twitter into my classroom as a way to communicate with parents and students… I just have to learn all the ins and outs first.

I’m positive that there are some benefits tucked away in there for my photography business too…. I’m just not sure how to grow my following on Twitter in order for this to be an asset. But, I’m learning. And I am a fast learner.

Also, I’ve started to figure out how to connect with a wide range of awesome, inspiring women via Twitter. This is the best part. The connectivity that is possible, the unity, the bonds. I’m excited to see where this will lead. You know I love communities. Especially ones where I can participate whilst never leaving my pajamas.

My first steps as a Twitter Newbie:

1. Follow tons of awesome people. I’m pretty sure that just like other social media venues that the more people you follow, the more who will follow you in return. I’m finding really great women on there like Jillian who uses her account sort of like a micro-blog. Full of positivity and fun. I also am following some of my favorite celebrities and military bloggers as well as communities of military spouses.

2. Figure out how to add “Tweet This” items directly into my blog posts. This is cool. I love tweetable links in other blogs I read. I have to figure out how this is done because I am jealous. I downloaded a plugin, I’m just not positive that I love it yet. (See it below and tell me what you think). I want something efficient that does not take away from the content of my blog.

3. Learn how to write in 140 characters and how to use a hashtag. I thought I hated hashtags. My students have started using hashtags in their regular conversations. “Hashtag thisisdumb.” “Hashtag Hatinghomework”.

So if I can figure out how to wield the power of
 the hashtag I can rule the junior high. Click To Tweet


4. Automate all these new systems I’m starting. I know there are lots of programs to do this, I just need to choose the right one. With all the things I’m starting this year, and revamping my photo business, working more full-time-ish on blogging, and trying to be a productive person too, I needs to find a system that auto-posts some things and lets me schedule my life more easily.

5. Convince people I am worth following. There’s an article here on how to grow your Twitter following. I’m just not there yet. It reminds me that I have to make Tweeting habitual. I’m not very good at following a set blogging schedule so I’m most likely going to be bad at Tweeting in a timely manner as well.

6. Learn proper Twitter jargon. Twitter is confusing. I think it’s because everything has to be neatly shortened that they have a million different abbreviations for things. There’s a full Twitter glossary if you’re new like me and have no idea what is going on.

7. Integrate my stuff. I want to make sure that all my different social platforms are interconnected and work together. That involves taking the time to click around through settings of various things and adding the codes. This isn’t hard, just time-consuming. So I need motivation to get that done.


Unfortunately, aside from writing with brevity, there is no secret Twitter guidebook to get me from point A to point B. Any advice? Twitter for Beginners |




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Anxiety is TOTALLY Irrational

Mar 4, 2015 by

Anxiety is TOTALLY Irrational | Cast your cares on the Lord. When I was about 15, I mentioned to my youth group leader that I regularly felt anxious. His response sorta shattered my soul for a while. I was a timid kid in my early adolescence, it took me a long time to come out of my shell, and he basically told me I was a bad Christian for feeling this way. His exact words are lost somewhere in my memory, but the general idea was that “Good Christians, who rely on God, never feel depressed or worried.” For years after that I was reluctant to admit that I might have a problem, I didn’t talk about it, and simply suffered in silence. I felt judged and misled. How could I call myself a Christian if God didn’t help me through my anxious thoughts?

I think that mental illness is one of those things that well-meaning Christians get terribly… Click To Tweet

I left the church that night feeling like if only I had “enough faith” I would feel better. Those thoughts sprouted others like: “Feeling like this is a sin?” and “There’s something seriously wrong with me” and worse yet, “Other Christians never feel like this.” We know that Satan uses all avenues to attack Christians, and he definitely used these feelings to exploit my weaknesses. I kept these thoughts to myself and became very good at hiding the signs and symptoms. Even so far as, it became hard for even me to recognize and pin point the moments that caused my anxiety to surface.

Since then, when I’ve had opportunity to open up and describe my battles with anxiety to other Christians and friends they are usually surprised.

I get a lot of “But, you’re happy all the time” and “You don’t look depressed”. There’s a weird stigma attached to mental illnesses and I don’t fit neatly into the box that people believe I should.

What I struggle to remember is that anxiety is totally irrational. Click To Tweet

There is no one-size-fits-all definition. I do know that I am not weak, or a bad Christian. Worrying about things is a normal part of life, and we are not meant to face the scary parts of life on our own.
Being someone who struggles with anxiety and who also is a Christian has caused me to look at life differently and to consider the concept of grace. I am regularly filled with thankfulness for a God who still hasn’t given up on me.

Be still and know that I am God: Overcoming Anxiety |

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One Nation, Under God…

Mar 2, 2015 by

One Nation, Under God…

How do I exemplify Jesus in a world that prohibits me

from talking about my faith in the workplace?

Religious Neutrality:

In America our schools are designed to be religiously neutral. I genuinely feel that this is one of the strengths of the American public school system. It allows complete freedom from discrimination by teachers and administration, as it is, I cannot alter a child’s beliefs while he or she is in my classroom. I am allowed to focus on creating a safe place for students to learn and grow without fear of retribution, criticism or discrimination based on their religious values. This is a positive thing, really, it is. This allows students of all faiths to come together and learn, to better themselves, to experience an education, and to be loved. This is a blessing in so many ways, because it gives me an opportunity to interact and to love on students who might otherwise not go to school, or whose parents wouldn’t place them in private, religious based school settings.

And, just because I do not mention God does not mean that he is not at work in this story. We have a mantra in my room that gets repeated whenever there is an occasion of teasing each other: “In this classroom we are kind. “ We also discuss positive character, integrity and brotherly love. We have tutoring programs, and after school support for kiddos who do not have that at home. The box of granola bars in my desk is depleted weekly by the little girl who “forgets” her lunch. My church partners with several area elementary schools by providing backpacks in the fall, Christmas presents and coats in the winter and lunch programs in the summer. We are motivated by love and faith to do these things, and although I don’t necessarily get to discuss my faith with my students and coworkers, it is evidenced through my actions that there is something different in my life. This classroom is full of love.


Classroom Examples of Christ:

We had a writing prompt in our classroom this fall asking students to write a descriptive paragraph about their favorite holiday and family traditions. When I later went around the room asking students what their favorite holidays were and why, I was blown away by one little girl who said: “Easter, because that is when Jesus Christ rose from the grave.” My politically correct response was, “Excellent! And you Joe?” as I moved on to the next child. But, later, privately I was able to tell that child that I was proud of the courage it takes her to be open with her faith.

Many of America’s public school teachers and administrators are heroes and crusaders for Christianity.  Many of these people do what they do every day because of their faith, myself included.  We don’t need mandatory prayers read over the loudspeaker to “put God back in schools.”  We don’t need to argue over the words in the Pledge of Allegiance, God has not left the schools.  God is still at work through me , within committed parents, and passionate educators and administrators who seek to help give our children an education laced with love.

People, especially Christians, seem to get very riled up about this topic. I think it’s important to remember that Jesus lives within his believers, that I can show Christ’s love through my actions, and tolerance and kindness speak much, much louder than words.

For instance, Jesus taught us to love and serve one another. I can teach this in my classroom. I can show my students how Jesus lived his life in the way that I live mine. They will learn about helping people in need and visiting and assisting the elderly or the sick. In this way, we can teach our children to develop empathy for others, and use kindness in the way in which they treat each other. We can also teach them to honor their parents and respect and serve other people. I can live like Christ in that I can be loving toward my students, in the same way that Jesus showed compassion to children in the Bible.

I can demonstrate to my students what a healthy relationship looks like, and why marriage is something to be cherished and waited for. Many of my kids come to me from broken homes, their examples of strong women and kind men are limited. I love to tell my students stories about my marriage and my husband so that they will know that healthy and loving relationships are possible and aspire to that in their own lives. I talk with girls about relationships and what it means to have pride in yourself, why boyfriends are unnecessary at this age (12) and how waiting for the right guy to come into your life is worthwhile. We discuss what love looks like, and why friendship is an important element to a loving relationship.

I can share with my students how I honor my father and my mother, even though there were times in my life when my father hasn’t been that supportive of me. I talk to them about volunteering and I can mention how I get up early on the weekends to go to church.

I can show them Christ’s love. And I do.Why Jesus is Still in My Classroom and How to Show Kids Christ's Love  |

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