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Hello Again!

Jul 31, 2016 by

Hello Again!

As I’m sure you can see, the summer got away from me and I took some time off from the blog. Mostly because I traveled A LOT! (More on that to come!)  I wanted to appreciate each moment and not be caught behind my computer screen. I was able to spend some time with my grandparents, distract myself from hubby’s deployment and deal with some life changing things going on in our world.

So, this particular post has to be one of the most emotional and wonderful blogs I have EVER written…. because it’s about time we share our happy news with you.   This blog and its followers has become more than just a community of army wives and teachers, it has become an extension of my life. Your love, support, questions, worries, and shared frustrations have lifted my spirits so many times. You’ve supported me during some of the crazy heartbreak along this pathway to motherhood, and so–it is with overwhelming joy and tears streaming down my face that I get to tell you WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!

Love the Everyday: Pregnancy Announcement with pets www.lovetheeveryday.com

I want to close by saying thank you to all of you who have supported us (and me for so so soooo long). We love you guys and are so grateful to share this experience with you. I plan to recap the first trimester in a future blog post, to be able to share with you the ups and downs of pregnancy and all the emotions that go with pregnancy after miscarriage. But at the same time, I hope to remain sensitive to those of you who are still trying, and still waiting on motherhood. My prayers and thoughts are constantly with you, and I hope to be able to celebrate your joy in the very near future.

 

 

 

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Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

Apr 29, 2016 by

Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

It’s no secret around here that I have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for years. There have been moments in this life that anxiety has completely shut me down, times when no amount of prayers or tears could drag me out of it. I’ve seen counselors, I’ve taken drugs, I’ve  learned all kinds of deep breathing exercises… There’s a moment I remember from my adolescent years where my high school boyfriend (bless his heart) tossed me into a cold shower for lack of any other way to figure out how to calm my anxiety.  **note, this is not the ideal method**

Anxiety makes me feel less like the person I want to be. #mentalhealth #anxietyisathing Click To Tweet

The truth is, anxiety inhibits my interactions with others, it lowers my ability to be social and it keeps me from functioning in the ways that I would like to. One of the only things that has made a significant difference in my anxiety levels in years is my marriage to my husband.  Marriage has been a rock solid foundation which has given me stability, faith in tomorrow, and a general calmness that I have never experienced before.

There are three major ways that my marriage has supported me in my quest to conquer my anxiety and although there are countless other times I have relied on my husband to support me through this, these things below are at the forefront of how a healthy marriage can help anxiety sufferers. 

  1. My marriage has built my hope and confidence.

I spent a ton of time in my early twenties feeling like I wasn’t good enough. To say I was in a rut would be an understatement!  I was in a long-term relationship that was going nowhere and felt like it must be because I was lacking some fundamental element that would encourage him to want to marry me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, and why I was unlovable. My anxiety grew by leaps and bounds in this chapter of my life. Most of my thoughts swirled around the lack of hope I had for my future and my low confidence in myself. My self-esteem was lacking and I felt like there was nothing I could do to get out of this slump.

Since those moments when my husband and I promised to be true to each other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health I have discovered that my most basic fears have been lifted.  When we stood at the altar of course, the last thing on our minds was the absolute guarantee that we were making to each other. I don’t think either one of us took into account the kind of “crazy” that comes with anxiety that cannot be explained with basic logic. I’m certain we weren’t calculating what that actually means “in sickness and in health”. I don’t think we thought about the ramifications that come with making that vow. My anxiety is definitely one of the larger issues and challenges we have faced as a couple and although it’s not what one thinks of when they think of a typical illness, it is a disease none the less. The beautiful thing is, no matter how big the challenge is, we signed up to tackle it together when we made those vows.

Dan’s approach to my anxiety has really been quite simple. He chooses to love me regardless, faces my anxiety like his next mission and knows that God put me into his hands for a reason. He is selfless about it, and amazing. He focuses on reminding me that we are on the same team, we are in this together, and boosts my confidence daily. Simply knowing that I do not have to handle any of life’s struggles alone, especially my anxiety has helped to alleviate the frequency of my panic attacks.

Since we’ve been married, my husband has told me I’m beautiful 239578 times. He holds my hand when I feel insecure, he reinforces our vows, he promises to never let me go…how can I fear the future when I have that?

  1. My marriage has helped to put my problems into perspective.

If something minor is causing my anxiety, we are able to talk through the details in a real and logical way to prove to my inner anxious self that everything is going to be OK.

Earth to Molly: the world is NOT spinning out of control!

Knowing that communication isn’t always easy, especially if I am suffering with some unrealistic anxiety or unmet expectations, I realize that sometimes talking through a panic attack isn’t a reasonable option. However, when my anxiety cannot be attributed to any identifiable triggers, it is important that someone helps to bring me back to reality. My husband can do that.

I feel like by working on our communication and talking through the little things I am able to get a better handle on what is truly important, what is really at the root of my emotions, and what things can trigger my anxiety. When an anxiety attack will hit me is extremely difficult to predict:  sometimes it can be brought on by truly life altering stressful situations (ie: hubby’s next deployment) other times a wave will come when I’m standing in the produce section on a lazy Sunday at the grocery store.

Because we are deeply invested in this marriage and have a true desire to understand each other we make an effort to communicate our feelings and thoughts regularly. That being said we aren’t always good at it, but his ability to try really helps me get a handle on the big picture. Dan’s ability to compartmentalize things, rationalize and ease my fears truly is what I rely on daily to understand how the world works around me. When he can crack a joke about what’s really happening, or change my perspective on a matter of minor importance it helps me to get a handle on what is really going on. Putting things into perspective in a way that I can understand and hold on to has been really helpful in crushing those anxious feelings.Exploring the benefits of a healthy marriage on anxiety symptoms. www.lovetheeveryday.com

  1. My marriage has helped to identify and minimize my anxiety triggers.

We spend a lot of time together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and he can see things in me that I cannot. By connecting our lives in marriage we have tethered ourselves for the long haul. Because of this, we are able to spend quality time investigating the ins and outs of my anxiety.

Together we have discovered some of the best ways to minimize my impending panic.  We now know that I am more likely to feel anxious when I don’t have a plan and a back-up plan. Dan is able to help me make lists and organize our day into a manageable order. In these ways we stop some of the anxiety in its tracks. I know that the weeks leading up to big changes are often the hardest. He’s pointed out that when I don’t get 8 hours of sleep I’m more likely to be triggered by something random, and when I’m hungry I’m just more prone to irrationality than other times.

We’ve also written down a list of the things that help me get through anxious situations (Drink very cold water. Turn off the radio. Pray. Count something. Make a list of what needs to be done next. Sit on the floor. Breathe. Hold something in my hands. Etc.) and he will tactfully remind me of them if I’ve forgotten.


The bottom line, of course, is that anxiety isn’t fun for anybody involved. It takes an infinite amount of patience and a whole bunch of trial and error. There are absolutely days when I want to wring his neck and moments when he totally shuts down and cannot help me. There are times when I want to scream at him (and I do) because he tries to logic-out my problems. There are days when he calls me “crazy” and I call him “mean” (toss a few curse words in here and there and sometimes it becomes a full-fledged battle). There are times when the tears outnumber the condolences. There are certainly times when anxiety gets the best of me and I am not the best version of myself. Sometimes my anxiety takes a pretty big toll on our marriage, and I know that my husband struggles to understand where I’m coming from and why I’m melting down. Anxiety is actually pretty tough on our marriage sometimes.


In collaboration with my friend Kristin, we’ve teamed up today to talk about how a healthy marriage can help anxiety and, on the flip side, how anxiety can put a negative strain a marriage.

To read the other half of this collaboration, head on over to Kristin’s blog, The Peculiar Treasure, to read about how anxiety can negatively impact a marriage.

**Kristin blogs regularly on The Peculiar Treasure but you can also locate her on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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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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$300 Target Card Give Away! | give away

Mar 14, 2016 by

$300 Target Card Give Away! | give away

Today I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring to you a great give away! (I am so excited! This is gonna be great!)


 

We’re giving away a $300 Target Gift Card to one lucky winner!

That’s right THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I don’t know about you but Target is one of my weaknesses and I’m super excited to be a part of this group and offer this to you! The lovely ladies who are participating are wonderful and you should take a moment to check out their blogs too!

Complete as many tasks as you can to up your chances of winning! The giveaway starts on Monday, March 14th and runs until Saturday, March 26th. The winner will be contacted on Sunday, March 27th. All entries will be verified. Please enter fairly and have fun!

Click below to be taken to the Give Away page! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Today I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring to you a great giveaway! #giftcard… Click To Tweet

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