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Coping with Life Change

Mar 31, 2016 by

Coping with Life Change
Six years ago I was laid off. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I think about it because the emotions are still pretty raw associated with this time period in my life.  Looking back on it now, I am able to see that God had a plan for me and thus doors needed to close. That chapter of my life is behind me, and I am thankful that I have moved on to other things. God gave me the strength to move forward to find the next chapter of the story.

I’m interested though in how others deal with tough life changes. For me, clearly, I have to write about them. I have to vent and get things out of my head. I have to pray too of course, but writing is truly how I get things out of my heart, how I clear my head, how I stumble through angst. But, being laid off impacted my heart. I couldn’t handle the mixture of hurt and grief, so I had to write things down…

Pink Slips and other things that suck…

I work hard. I do not have a cushy job like so many of you believe. I do not have weekends and summers “off”, I do not get to work only 9-5. I am good at what I do. I work hard for every penny that I make, and of those pennies I pay back my loans for my bachelors degree, I pay back my loans for my masters degree, I buy pens and paper and books for those that cannot afford it, I buy colored pencils and notebooks so that they can express themselves, I buy lunches for those that forgot, I spend money to further educate myself, I hand pennies over in support of extra curricular activities… I stay up late working and I get up earlier than I have to so that I can be to work early for them. I create, I engage, I write, I plan, I learn…I teach.

 

 

I honestly thought it would be pink. It’s not, in fact, a pink slip at all. It’s a plain, white, piece of paper with the same letterhead that only a few months ago boasted a huge, bold faced “Congratulations!” at the top. The same letterhead that told me at the end of the last marking period that more of my students were passing than the marking period before and that I was indeed doing a great job. I don’t even get the original. Just a photocopy, signed by the guy in charge, but delivered by my principal. I realize that he is probably having just as bad a day as I am, but that doesn’t make me any less bitter. At least I have been laid-off and not fired; it’s like an honorable discharge and not a “hey- you-suck-at-what-you-do-get-the-hell-out” notice. But it bites just the same.

 

 

I’m trying not to be a pessimist. I’m trying not to hate everything about my life. I’m not seriously considering launching myself out my second story window. (besides that would only hurt a whole hell of a lot and not end the whole game) I’m trying to remember the reasons why I do this in the first place, but it’s hard to do in a society that seems to be falling down around me. I have expectations in my classroom that my students treat each other with respect. I insist that they make choices and stick to the consequences that come from those choices. I instill upon them the value that they act like people that care about the well being of others. I’m sad that I am teaching them the rules and guidelines for life in a society that clearly does not exist. There was such a lack of respect in that little office as they told me that my position was being cut, it left me wondering how I can hope to teach my students respect when there are no clear examples from their superiors.

 

 

When it gets to a point like this it’s easy to fall back, to fall down, to just fall… and to question everything. Mostly though I find myself asking “why bother?” over and over. Why do I keep trying? Why don’t I use all my sick time, and pop in a video for my students? It’s then I remember the 110 faces awaiting me tomorrow, and I know that apathy won’t cut it. If I don’t care then they don’t care, and we’ve worked all year to boost their responsibility for their own education.

 

 

There is something that many people don’t think about. There is a face behind these layoffs. That face is me. I am not a number, I am not a price tag, and I am not a budget cut. I am a teacher and I make a difference in the life of a child.

 

 

What really gets my goat is that my school district is running an initiative that puts priority on literacy. On what planet does fewer teachers (especially English) and more kids in a classroom equal a positive learning opportunity?

 

 

So tomorrow Mr. Bossman, when you’re busy looking in the mirror for 122 minutes and 32 seconds, I’ll be reorganizing my lessons for the day, considering closing activities for my students, stressing about the student who told me she was experimenting with drugs, and thinking of ways to help the kid who just bombed my exam. When you stand there adjusting your tie and looking in the mirror, I’ll be busy adjusting my resume, making copies, and talking to the teenager who just broke up with her boyfriend… And please make sure you can look yourself in the eye and reflect, because I know when I see you in the hall you won’t be making eye contact with me.

 

 

Besides, I don’t do this for you anyway. I don’t do it for the pay check, or the experience, or because I needed something on my resume. I do it for them, and I’ll continue to do it until June. Even if you think you don’t need me, and the school doesn’t need me, and the community doesn’t need me…. They need me and that’s why I do what I do.

 

 


When life throws you a curve ball, how you react speaks volumes about your character. #change… Click To Tweet

 

 

How do you cope with drastic life change? What advice do you have for people dealing with events that are truly out of their control? How do you come to peace?

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Live for the moment: 6 ways to be present | be present

Mar 29, 2016 by

Live for the moment: 6 ways to be present | be present

Spring has sprung! And with it, a whole new set of anxieties… because as some of you may know, spring means we are one step closer to my husband’s next deployment and that scares the ever-lovin’ pants off me.

I’m not ready. I may never be ready. I’m so distracted I can’t go anything productive. I want to be involved in a massive spring cleaning of my home, but instead I find myself totally distracted by all the things we will need to get done before he leaves again. I’ve already started making lists despite the fact that his departure is still months away. I’m constantly thinking about him leaving, and about all the things that will happen while he’s gone. (His birthday, my birthday, the birth of our TWIN niece nephew, summer vacation….)and  I always chastise him about living in the moment and taking things one step at a time. Yet, here I am freaking out about things that won’t happen for a few more months. We have some outstanding home repairs that we haven’t gotten to, the car needs maintenance, we have to make sure the lawn mower will start…Do I still have valid power of attorney paperwork? Who is the new commander?  What numbers will I need to call in case of emergency? So many things. My brain starts to get overloaded and I begin to panic. I can’t breathe. I need a glass bottle of wine.

 

Aside from all of that I feel a little angry, a little bit in denial and a little bit sad. My emotions are all over the place because he really hasn’t been home all that long. And then, there’s the elephant in the room. The thing that we refuse to speak of….the fact that this trip is different and we don’t know what to expect. We know our communication during this trip will be different from how it has been in the past, less access to one another, less internet, less contact and I’m freaking out.  (I’m trying not to. We are deployment experts! But change is scary!)


Change is inevitable, but that doesn't make it less scary! Click To Tweet

So today I’m working on 6 ways that I can Live in the moment and be present, not only for my own sanity, but also to preserve our relationship for the next few months. I want to make sure we are using our time together to its fullest. I want to focus on making sure that I can be present with him while he is actually still here. be more present| 6 ways to live in the moment www.lovetheeveryday.com

I want to be HERE. I want to be part of the NOW. I want to be able to live in the moment.

6 Ways I will Live in the Now, Today:

  1. Turn up the music. Listening to music is immediately grounding for me. It makes me focus, it allows me to dance and sing, it drastically reduces my anxiety and boosts my mood. It allows me to connect moments to the present. Besides, it really annoys the dogs when I dance around the kitchen with the mop.

 

 

  1. Think about breathing. Every single article I read about being mindful and reducing anxiety swings back to the idea of breathing. My hubby talks about tactical breathing at his job, and how they train soldiers to focus on their breath in order to calm nerves and return focus. I plan to do some research on deep breathing exercises this week in order to help calm my own nerves. But until then, I’m going to work on paying attention to taking a few deep breaths now and then.

 

 

  1. Go outside! Nature, sunlight, a change in surroundings…all these things help me to focus, calm my fears and bring me back to peace. I know this about myself, but I bet it is true for most people. Besides once I get outside the dogs want to play, and nothing brings me back to now better than a game of fetch.

 

 

  1. Take a shower. I’m not kidding. There is something about the tactile feel of the water on my skin that shocks me back to the present. Not only is it soothing and refreshing, but it makes me feel connected to something. The changes in temperature and water pressure alert my senses, the smell of the citrus soap. Showers are powerful things.

 

 

  1. Eat slowly. Seriously. I eat so freaking fast. I feel like I’m constantly starving and I wolf down food like someone will steal it. I know part of this comes from teaching and trying to cram in lunch and potty breaks while also helping kids write papers and still managing to plan lessons for tomorrow….. but seriously, I need to slow down. When I chew slowly, even counting the number of chews it takes before I swallow I am instantly calmer. This gives me a moment to savor the flavor of what I am eating, to appreciate the texture or the crispness of my salad, to love the way the chocolate chips melt in my mouth. Do this. It helps.

 

 

  1. Pinch me. When all else fails, and I feel myself losing control…. I pinch my leg. I know this sounds dumb. But nothing will bring me back to reality faster than quick, controlled pain. It’s a quick and fleeting sensation that I can focus on, and it brings my thoughts back to what is happening right now.

 

What advice do you have to try to be mindful of living in the moment?

 

 

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Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

Mar 25, 2016 by

Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

I know I shouldn’t compare apples and oranges, but it’s really hard to restrain when the bellies of all my closest friends are starting to take the shape of the aforementioned fruit, meanwhile we are still over here TTC.

 

Did you know there’s such a thing as pregnancy envy? How ridiculous. This isn’t a competition, but sometimes we allow ourselves to feel that way.  There is quite literally a constant stream of pregnancies around me, it starts to eat away ,a little, at my resolve to be positive about this whole thing. I know I am not the only woman in the world to be waiting on motherhood. I know I am not alone in this. However sometimes it’s hard to ignore the hurtful comments. It’s hard to ignore the fact that I am quite quickly running out of magnets for the fridge what with all the pastel colored baby announcements I have to hang up to torture myself with.

That being said, I went to a baby shower this weekend. The Mom-to-be is a coworker of mine, whom I adore. I know that she too had some struggles on the path to pregnancy and I am super excited for her. (It should be noted that I would attend 100 torturous baby showers to celebrate her and her pregnancy. ) I also appreciate her shower was on a Sunday, and not on Saturday, thus not ruining the entirety of my weekend… The shower itself was pretty and sweet. It might have been fine even, it I were able to join the ranks of women with children, or had a battle story of my own to share, but instead I found myself surrounded by tales of woe, destruction and horror. Not only was this incredibly depressing, but it also spurred the twinges of jealousy. Things started floating through my mind like: How dare they complain like that? I’d be so happy to have those problems. Although, actually bloated feet and a torn, unrecognizable vagina are not actually on my top ten things to do list…Baby Showers

I’m sure when I do become pregnant I will want to complain too. I’m sure it will be freaking awful and I will be a hot mess.  I know that pregnancy and new motherhood is probably both a difficult experience as well as a blessing, and I also know those gals meant no ill will… but I still left the shower in a state of unease. Feeling both jealous and sad. I hope I will remember in the future when I am actually a mom, that detailing my birth story in excruciating detail will scar the single girls and the childless for life.

I should have known better of course, and been prepared. Everyone knows that attending a baby shower puts you in the midst of a conversation that will inevitably circle around babies and parenting for the better part of two hours. It shouldn’t have surprised me, and the truth is, if I had thought it through a little better I might have even declined the invitation and just sent a gift. If I had thought it through I would have realized that attending a baby shower would be emotional Armageddon. If I had thought it through I would have had a few cocktails first… If I had thought it through I would have remembered that at the heart of the matter,  I hate baby showers anyway.

Like I hate, hate them. I hate that there is no alcohol present (I know we are celebrating a pregnant woman here, but still the rest of us shouldn’t have to endure party games without a beer in hand). (**side note: when I do become pregnant and someone decides to throw me a shower, please remember the non-pregnant are enduring the shower and serve them a cocktail or two.) I hate that there are party games to play at all. I hate that in order to purchase a worthwhile baby gift I have to spend shit tons of money on a gadget that I don’t actually know what it’s used for, or be the asshole that buys baby washcloths and a onesie they will outgrow before they wear.

Next time, I will go for a moment. Hug the soon-to-be-momma fiercely, tell her how genuinely happy for her I am. I will eat cake, I will leave my obligatory gift, and then I will make an excuse involving a gastrointestinal emergency related to my lactose intolerance (believable) and head for the door.

Because I am excited for her. And for my other co-workers, and two of my best friends, and my sister, and my dental hygienist, and the girl down the street, but I don’t want to have to wallow in your ever enlarging shadow while I binge eat cake with pink and blue frosting.

Binge eating pink cake, and other reasons I hate baby showers. #fertility #babies Click To Tweet read more

Power Souping Recipe: Weight Loss Goals | Power souping

Mar 23, 2016 by

Power Souping Recipe: Weight Loss Goals | Power souping

Juicing for a nutrient rich morning is yesterday’s news. Your favorite morning smoothie recipe? Gone too.

The newest trend in weight loss involves what nutritionist Rachel Beller calls souping. Power souping is the new big thing, it was even on ABC news this morning. I decided I needed to give it a whirl myself. I mean I love soup, why wouldn’t I love power souping?

 

Power Souping is the next big thing! #powersouping #weightloss Click To Tweet

So I decided on a kale based power soup (since that’s what I had on hand in my fridge) and since I was using a green base I decided to add other greens as well.


Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Cups of Fresh Kale (I used a Kale/Spinach Blend)
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • 1/3 of a fresh green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1tbs chia seeds
  • 2 Cups vegetable broth (I used an organic one that I had on hand, but you could use your favorite broth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese for garnish (optional)
Easy weight loss with easy ingredient Power Soup

I chose all organic products for today’s power soup. But you can certainly use whatever is in your pantry!

 

The process is just as easy as making your morning smoothie!

1.       Add greens to your blender of choice.

2.       Scoop avocado out of shell and into blender

3.       Add garlic, chia seed, green peppers, and salt and pepper.

4.       Add broth.

power_souping_broth

This is so easy, I can’t wait to try it again with other ingredients!

5.       Blend thoroughly. (I blended for two minutes)

6.       Pour mixture into sauce pan on stove. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until warm.

7.       Top with parmesan cheese. (if desired)

8.       Ok, let’s be honest, I topped mine with goldfish crackers because I’m a child.

9.       Yum!

Healthy little chia seeds make me happy!

Healthy little chia seeds make me happy!

 

Next time maybe I’ll toss in a jalapeno for a little more kick.

power_souping

I couldn’t resist the little goldfish crackers, but it would certainly be yummy with a big chunk of crusty bread too!

Or I was thinking of trying out a cold breakfast soup, maybe eliminating the savory spices and adding a banana, cinnamon and honey instead? What do you think? Are you ready to try power souping as part of your weight loss plan?


 

Do you have a favorite soup recipe? You can check out my other favorite soups here!

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I’m learning to use Twitter to Grow My Blog…slowly but surely. | Learning how to use Twitter

Mar 15, 2016 by

I’m learning to use Twitter to Grow My Blog…slowly but surely. | Learning how to use Twitter

I dedicated February to finding out how other bloggers are making money using their writing and marketing skills. (This came about mostly because I wished I was home in sweatpants last month and not at school…) As it turns out,  after blogging for years, I don’t actually know a whole lot about this business. It only seems reasonable that I finally get this show on the road though right? The problem is, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing wrong. I would pour myself a glass of wine at night, schedule a few blog posts, reply to a few comments and thought I was headed in the right direction.

I started by digging through hours of research, reading other’s blogs, and seeing who was the most profitable out there: I started with some of the advice and ideas of my blogging acquaintance Kathryn who blogs over at Singing Through the Rain. I have been blog-stalking her for years, so I knew she had excellent content as well as awesome online presence. Her followers are loyal and engaged, and I’m in awe of her every time I click through to her blog. I read through her recent post about how much money she made this year (WOW) and was inspired to make sure I had all my chickens in a row, so to speak.

My very first order of business was to grow my blog traffic. This seems to be my number one issue. I have days when I have 200-500 blog visitors, and other days when I have 5. The inconsistency is crazy! It makes me a little crazy as well.

So I decided to start with learning how to use Twitter. (@mollywillis72) Twitter has been a huge mystery and I was a little afraid of it to begin. Twitter has included a giant learning curve for me, and I am not at all very good at it. There are so many users, the news feed is constantly updating and I felt like I was never caught up! I felt like learning how to tweet was hard enough, but learning about the rest of the Twitter platform was difficult too. I felt out of my league and old.

Social media is the key to success in this industry! #community #bloggingbuddies Click To Tweet

It’s taken the past three months, but I’ve collected some really great ideas and made some plans for my blog since I’ve been learning how to use Twitter.


5 important things I have learned about Twitter this year:

1. Get followed. Everyone offers tons of advice on a follower-to-following-ratio. I’ve discovered that although they are right and it looks cool to be followed by thousands and only follow a select handful of people, as a newbie it has been really helpful for me to follow a wide variety of people and companies to get a feel for how they run their blogs and businesses. Someday in the future I will go in and figure out who actually is a good representation of the kind of person I want to follow but right now, the more the merrier. I like being able to see how people engage and what kinds of things people are posting and responding to. How to use Twitter to Grow Your Blog

2. There are LISTS and lists are awesome. I’m not using them yet because it’s a time consuming process, but I love the idea of being able to organize the people I’m following. Yay! I love organization! Creating lists for different conversations and genres will help to eliminate some of the “noise” of twitter and allow me to interact with only the kinds of people that I want to. Learning how to use Twitter has been a slow process, but I can’t wait to add using lists to my knowledge.

3. Make it personal and pretty. Seriously. I am much more likely to strike up a conversation with someone who has a profile photo than with someone who uses their logo. This is simply because I like to see who I’m talking to. I just popped a pink header on my twitter page for now, later I hope to create something that is more aligned with “Love the Everyday” but for now, its pretty and its perfect.

4. Be visual and interesting. I have discovered that my posts with pictures are not only more visually appealing, but they seem to get more retweets and likes. More retweets and likes ultimately means more likes which is after all, what we are aiming for.
Pictures are important on Twitter

Lastly, and I just started doing this yesterday:

5. Schedule content. I am getting increasingly better about this but the bottom line here is you need to stop wasting your time all day on social media. Honestly, this is the number one change I made in the course of the last few weeks and I have been so impressed with the change.  If I schedule things in advance I can still pop in quickly to retweet and engage with others, but I am not spending hours on sending new content out. I’ve been scheduling my blog posts too! (Like this one) This helps me to have more content popping up on my Twitter Feed at various times of the day. Because I am new to Twitter I need to be able to have my content available for people in different time zones. It’s helpful to have that all done in advance so I don’t have to worry about it throughout the day.

 


 

 So… .here’s where I’m at right now. I’ve been learning how to use Twitter, but also being super productive elsewhere!

In February:

  •  I hit my highest ever amount of page views to my blog.
  • I reached a goal of blogging everyday for 20 days.
  • I made my first $30.00 using Google Adsense
  • I increased my Twitter following from 72 followers to 887   888   889  .
  • I joined some Facebook groups for bloggers.

 

My current goal for the year is to make $1000 blogging.  What should my next step be?

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