Officially Done!

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“When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully, because two things can happen. Either He’ll catch you when you fall, or he will teach you how to fly.”

Whew! As many of you know, I started my journey to obtaining a master’s degree last year. I completed a two year program in 15 months after determining I would have my intern overlap with my classes. Going back to school after 23 years was very challenging and rewarding at the same time. During this time I was reminded of my own resilience and tenacity. I was definitely stretched far beyond the limits I placed on myself. The fear I experienced at the beginning was indescribable. While I shared this information on my blog, I only shared it with very close family members such as my husband, son, siblings and parents. I was so afraid I wouldn’t have the desire or endurance to stay the course so I kept it a secret just in case I decided to quit. The funny part is, I’m no quitter. I thoroughly think things through before I start the process. So, I knew when I started, my will to finish would power me through. But, I was still petrified. The constant thoughts of, “What if I don’t finish on time?”, “What if I decide to take a break?”; the constant what ifs paralyzed me.

Well, none of that matters anymore. I’m officially done!!! Well, kind of. I still have to take my certification exam but the most difficult part is over. Although we had a virtual ceremony, I was able to ride down to the campus and take a few pictures and then I logged in to the ceremony to watch my name scroll across the screen. Initially I was disappointed that our in person graduation was cancelled but after that last activity was submitted, I didn’t care. Nothing could stop my shine.

I write this to say to any of you that are afraid of stepping out on faith, go for it. Lots of tears, lots of prayers, but more importantly, the countless number of times I reminded myself, “Faith over fear.” Some of you are doubting your ability to do something right now, I encourage you to push past your comfort zone. “Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.”

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Birthday #46 – Wimberley, TX.

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This week I celebrated my birthday and like many others that have celebrated their birthday this year, I celebrated in isolation. The difference between me and most people is this is typical for me. I had a couple of parties in high school and one birthday celebration as an adult, and I found that parties are not the most entertaining for me.

As a child, our birthday celebrations consisted of us having access to the biggest television in the house all day where we could watch what we wanted, dinner of our choosing and our favorite cake. This was enjoyable and sufficient for me as a child and as I’ve gotten older I find myself celebrating more and more birthdays in this very same manner.

This year we had to drop my son off to begin his first semester of college so I was looking for a few moments in seclusion to gather myself and regroup. My husband planned a trip to a hidden cabin with no neighbors and no noise. I had a couple of days that consisted of silence, wine, and complete relaxation.

Now, I’m not downplaying birthdays. It’s actually a pretty big deal for me. But the idea of crowds, parties and parades are just not my thing. However,  I do get excited for a new year, new adventures, and new goals. So cheers to 46 years!

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God Grant Me the Serenity

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As educators, we are all moving into the state of the unknown. Everyday, something different is transpiring behind closed doors that have an impact on many families. Anxiety is building, tempers are flaring and some are falling by the wayside. In preparation for the upcoming school year, plans are changing from day to day. And while I find myself getting frustrated, I had to pause and remind myself of the serenity prayer. The most important part for me over the last few days has been the part that says, “courage to change the things I can”. I’m so glad to have reminded myself of this because otherwise I was going to go bananas. While there are many things I cannot control as it relates to decision making, there are a ton of things I can control as it relates to the way I respond to things. Those few things include:

  • My thought process – Instead of focusing on everything that’s being said and done, I only focus on the small pieces that impact me. I’m only a minute piece to the puzzle. If I focus on where I fit into the puzzle and let the pieces around me fall into place, it will all work out to create a beautiful masterpiece.
  • Boundaries – Right now everybody is on edge, but it doesn’t give someone the right to snap at others. I am willing to protect my peace at all cost in this hour. I refuse to become a scapegoat for anyone in distress during this trying time.
  • Staying physically active – I try to workout at least five days a week. I’ve gone from only working out 2-3 days a month prior to Covid, to making sure I’m spending most of my evenings getting fresh air. This is two-fold, it helps me physically and emotionally.
  • My schedule – In an effort to control my state of unease, I chose to plan day to day this week instead of planning for the whole week. This makes my schedule appear less stressful and I don’t start the day worrying about the next day. This has allowed me to be in the moment this week without the distractions of what’s to come.
  • Limits on social media – Now that I’m back into the swing of things, I need to adjust to my social media schedule for school. I’ve had a lot of screen time since March and it’s time to refocus and remove the distractions.

Today, I’m choosing to remove all diversions and be at peace. “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”

 

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Motivational Quotes

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As I get closer to finishing grad school, the more difficult it is to stay motivated. It appears that many of the tasks have become redundant and we are being issued assignments to buy time until we cross the finish line. Having run out of energy and simply relying on fumes, I’ve resolved to listening to inspirational music and reading some of  my favorite quotes to keep me going. I have kept this quotes in a journal for years and I reference them often when I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall.

  • “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you have to suit up for them all.” – Everyday is not your best day. But everyday it is necessary to give your best.
  • “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” – Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Make it happen.
  • “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – You’re never a quitter until you stop trying.
  • “Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.” – There is some level of greatness within you.
  • “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Every step that moves you forward is a step in the right direction.
  • “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – No one gets to determine what you’re going to be but you owe it to yourself to be the best version of you.
  • “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” – Set your goals high. Even if you fall short, great things have still happened in the process.

Keep cheering me on to the finish line. I’m close enough to see the tape. If you have a quote or two that keeps you motivated, please feel  free to share. 🙂

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Goal Digger

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2020 arrived and revised our lives. Many adjustments have been made in an effort to keep moving. 2020 has grounded us in fear, dread and agitation. In all of my years of experiencing social media, I have never encountered so many people troubled with anxiety, stress and the pressure of the unknown. A lot of people are finding out depression is real. There are days when I struggle to do the bare minimum. Sometimes it’s because I’m overwhelmed and sometimes it’s because I’m lazy. I find myself spinning in a haze, not knowing where to start or where I should end. And in those moments. I redirect my attention back to my goals. While many have put 2020 to rest already, I am still working vigorously towards my goals and it is my desire to fulfill each of them before the year ends. Many of my goals are closely coming to fruition in the very near future and some I will work diligently to accomplish, even it it means meeting the goal on December 31, 2020. My goals for the rest of the year include:

  1. Graduate with a M.ED in Educational Leadership/Administration and pass my certification exams.
  2. Lose 7-10 pounds and stay consistent with managing my weight.
  3. Increase my Poshmark sales.
  4. Grow my blog and network with other bloggers.
  5. Pay off my credit card debt.
  6. Limit screen time when I have down time.
  7. Take another photography class.
  8. Attend a WordPress training.
  9. Learn how to understand and operate the functions of Pinterest.
  10. Stop worrying.

I know many of you are pushing through this year trying to maintain. Are you still working towards achieving your goals? Do we have similar goals that we could possibly support one another in achieving? Let me know how you’re doing with your goals. As for me and the members of my house, we have to keep on pushing.

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I Owe It All to You

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Life has a tendency to do its own thing. We are taught to plan, organize, and execute, and if we do those things, all should go well. We set goals, we reach milestones and every time we reach a milestone, we strive for something bigger, greater. With many great achievements experienced, I sometimes look back and wonder, “How did I get through that?” I remember the elderly people in church singing a song with lyrics that said, “My soul looks back and wonder how I made it over.” As I go through the process of finishing my last grad class, assisting my son in preparing for his transition to his first year of college, all the while trying to adjust to virtual instruction with parents that “didn’t sign up for this!”, there are times when we come to a week’s end and I really wonder how I’m still standing.

One of the things I’ve always bragged about is my support system. They show up and really encourage me along the way. They stand in the gap when my schedule gets so busy that I need a break from the norm. They are always making provisions for my little family and are very empathetic as if they’re not experiencing life at the same speed as we are. I am truly grateful for my family and each gift they extend to me.

My parents – As expressed before, my dad transitioned last year. But with one parent or two, I know I have love on my side. My parents have supported everything I’ve done from beginning to end, as a child and an adult. My parents attended all of my school programs, they were the loudest people at the track meets and made it their business to brag about my accomplishments. When I became an adult, my parents did school pick ups, cooked me breakfast to pick up on the way to work, came to my games when I was the coach, not the player, bought uniforms for students in my class, sponsored class parties, bought supplies and still bragged about everything I did, as their child. My parents made me believe all things were possible and I still hold on to that belief.

My siblings – Having four siblings, each of them offer a different level of support. My youngest sister is definitely my biggest cheerleader. Thinking about the effort she puts into “pumping me up”, I’m surprised she was never a cheerleader because the team definitely would have won with her on the sideline. My younger sister often stands in the gap and is the bus driver when schedules have to be adjusted and I accept the fact that I really can’t be in two places at one time. My older sister offers guidance and she’s the one with a sense of humor that mirrors mine. During those moments when I probably should be genuine and serious, she is the one that shares a laugh with me. And my brother, the best friend I could ever ask for, I don’t have words to describe who he is and what he does for my family. He is the most level-headed person in the group but he is also a jokester. We start so many conversations with, “Okay, now don’t laugh.” Ha! He definitely keeps me grounded and has always made sure I was better than alright.

My husband – My husband has so many of the same qualities my dad possessed. He supports everything I do. He wipes my tears, and I have shed a lot of them lately. He can convince me I can walk on water if that’s what I said I wanted to do. He listens to my gripes, he  commends all the things I do to make our household function, but he also gives me the freedom to walk away for the sake of clearing my head. He knows when I’m tired and relieves me of responsibilities for the sake of my mental and emotional well being.

My son – This one gives me life. He’s the reason I can’t quit. The crazy thing about my son is whenever I’m down, without even knowing, he does something so entertaining that my mood immediately changes. Many people refer to us as twins because we look alike and act alike. The scary part is my son can always sense when something is wrong and he silently covers and comforts me.

I have aunts, cousins and a few friends that are also very supportive. My entire family believes in me. Some cheer for me in private and some are here to let the world know how much they care and will go to war for me. While we don’t always agree, the people in my corner belong to me and I really wouldn’t trade them for anything, or anyone, in the world. To all of my love ones, thank you! I owe all of my success to you!

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Dinner Dates?

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Most of us dream and when we dare to dream, we dream big. While attending a Girl’s Night Out, Pre-Covid, we played a game. I’m not really sure the name of the game. What I do remember is we had to randomly select a question and answer it as honestly as possible. Of course, I received the celebrity crush question and I didn’t have an answer because I’ve never had a real “celebrity crush”. So to try to get a response, the question was rephrased to ask, “If you could have dinner with anybody, who would you choose and why?” Well…

  1. My daddy – The first person I would choose is my daddy. When my dad was ill and in his final days, my youngest sister planned a dinner gathering for the family. She arrived in town on Tuesday and we were to assemble on Saturday. My dad passed away on Wednesday, so we never got around to the entire family sitting together. While I spent time with my dad every Sunday and on random days during the week, my siblings and I were never able to sit together in his final moments and surround him with love, collectively.
  2. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston was my favorite singer and I still listen to her almost every time I turn on music. I probably would have annoyed the crap out of her by asking her to sing one-liners randomly throughout the evening. I don’t know if we would have gotten through dinner.
  3. My younger self – I would love to sit with my younger self and have a discussion about the years between the ages of 22-35. After graduating college with my undergraduate degree and obtaining my first job I became very stagnant in life. I was content and satisfied and didn’t push myself too much beyond my comfort zones. Although I’ve moved on from that place, I’m interested in determining how I got stuck there for years.
  4. Chauncey Billups – Chauncey Billups is about the closest thing to a celebrity crush I’ve ever had. So naturally if I could pick anybody I wanted to have dinner with at some point in my life, Chauncey Billups would be the one.
  5. My husband and son – Yes, we absolutely go out for dinner! However, 2020 has been a very different year for all of us. We’ve missed birthday dinners, graduation dinners, random Saturday night dinners, etc. due to Covid. Although we sit together at the dinner table most nights, it’s not the same. Going to dinner allows us to disconnect from the norm including devices, the noise from the television, someone having to get up to refresh a drink or someone finishing dinner first and leaving the table.

Is it not normal to have a celebrity crush? Is it normal to wish for that one last moment with someone or do you just move on? Am I the only person refusing to sit in a restaurant with the restrictions loosened?

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Random Facts About Me

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Every once in a while I do a blog post that allows my followers to learn a few things about me. The last time I did such a post, I had approximately 30 followers. I don’t have thousands or even hundreds yet, but I have definitely gained a few more fellow bloggers to move through this journey with me. Therefore, I find it necessary to share some interesting facts about me with some of the new faces. And please feel free to share if you can relate or if you want to tell me something about yourself when you’re done reading.

  1. I am the middle child of five children. I am made to deal with responsibilities as if I am the oldest girl, although I am not.
  2. I complete my weekly “To Do” list on Saturdays for the upcoming week and I grade myself based on the number of tasks I actually complete on a daily basis.
  3. I have one child that is heading off to college and I am overly anxious. I’m driving myself crazy.
  4. I have been an educator for 24 years and will complete my master’s program in August. Help me to the finish line.
  5. I am the epitome of a”team mom”. I cheer for every single kid. I’m always checking to ensure kids have the necessities. I’m always asking my son if the team has enough water or fruit. And I wouldn’t be a parent if I didn’t ask, “Have y’all had lunch since you’ve been here?”
  6. I love the sight of butterflies but I don’t like the idea of them touching me.
  7. I am afraid of lizards and frogs. Please don’t tell me how harmless they are.
  8. I watch the same episodes of Law and Order: SVU over and over and over again.
  9. I buy three purses every year, same two brands every single time.
  10. I absolutely do not participate in potlucks at work. I hate that all staff members are expected to bring something because it’s as if I expect someone to eat my food while I’m refusing to eat theirs.
  11. I love to travel.
  12. Purple is my favorite color but I wear pink most of the time.
  13. As much as I enjoy reading, reading from an E-Reader is difficult for me.
  14. I don’t know how to shop for casual shirts and/or tee shirts.
  15. I watch people’s Instagram Stories without the volume and then try to guess what they are talking about.

If you’re interesting in knowing more feel free to click here and here for more of my randomness. And again, I would love to hear from you. Tell me one fun fact about you!

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Interview Etiquette – Does It Exist?

Answering Interview Questions With No Experience: Pro Tips!

Lately, I’ve found myself in more interviews than one should allow. And the longer I sit through interviews, the more I realize how relaxed standards are at this time and first impressions no longer matter. My first experience with writing a resume and going through the interview process occurred when I was in high school. I completed a course hoping for an opportunity to be awarded a scholarship to a school of my choice. In addition to one person in the class receiving a scholarship, five percent of the participants in the class would be given an opportunity for employment at a bank. The requirements consisted of us having to go to weekly classes, take part in a three part resume writing session, submit our resumes to employers and interview for a teller position. At the end of the class, I was one of the students that received a position at the bank. Whoo Hoo, I got the job! Not! I was only there for the scholarship opportunity but I accepted the position because of the score I received for my resume and the interview. I was delighted to know how impressed the professionals were with my resume writing skills and how well I was able to articulate my thoughts during the interview. However, it appears that everything I was taught many many years ago no longer applies. But even now, I find myself with committees that still seek potential employees that live up many of those standards I was taught many moons ago.

  1. Arrive early for your interview – Four years ago I had an interview at a school approximately seven minutes from my home. I left with the intent to arrive 15 minutes before the start time. Upon arrival, I couldn’t distinguish the front entrance of the building from the back entrance and I parked in the wrong parking lot. I walked to several entrances trying to locate the right entry. By the time I arrived to the correct door, I was only five minutes early. Had I planned to arrive right on time, I would have been late. In addition to arriving early, this experience taught me to prepare for the unexpected and plan ahead.
  2. Dress professionally – Can we please go back to the black or blue dress or dark colored suits? Do men still wear suits and ties for interviews? Since I began my career as a professional, I have kept a black suit in my closet. My black dress is not always adequately pressed for interviews but that black suit and white shirt are forever ready. In addition to your suit or dress, make sure your shoes are free of scuff marks and are closed toe shoes. If you’re like me and wear lots of accessories, take them off for your interview. A simple pair of stud earrings, a wristwatch and a light bracelet are more than enough. And make sure your hair is neatly combed. Prior to my interview, I had two neat cornrow braids in my hair. The braids were very neat but also very unprofessional. I took the braids down and pulled my hair back into a sleek bun. Make sure you present yourself in such a way that the committee can focus on what you’re saying and not your appearance.
  3. Bring a copy of your resume – This day and time, many companies pull your resumes from an applicant tracking system . Sometimes your resume has been sitting there for months. Printing a copy allows you to review your resume and add any updates prior to your interview. The committee is okay with you saying, “I know you have a copy of my resume but there were some updates made to my resume. I have a copy for the committee.”
  4. Come prepared for the interview. Answer the question, please – Please don’t get in an interview and start rambling. We know if you know the answer or not. Answer the question and if you don’t know the answer, feel comfortable in admitting that. You have an opportunity to ask questions. At that point ask about potential training for any skills you might need. Refer back to the question you couldn’t answer to see if there’s a chance for you to learn about the thing you didn’t know about.
  5. Remain humble – I think the most annoying phrases I have heard in interviews are, “I know I’ll outshine everybody on this team.”, “I know I would be an asset to this team.” or my favorite, “My area of growth or my weakness is that I’m an overachiever.” What? What does any of this mean? You don’t know me! Why are you competing against your potential team? These statements confuse me. Help me understand exactly what you’re saying!

And here’s a bonus, while we’re working remotely, find a white wall and put your back against it. Please don’t sit in your bed, with your legs crossed, during an interview. What are some of the craziest things you’ve seen or heard during an interview? What are some of the things you find necessary for applicants to do in preparation for an interview or during the process of interviewing?

 

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Church Hurt

I have spent most of my life attending church. As a young girl, I was made to believe the church was my safe place. I trusted the pastor’s words. This was the appointed shepherd and I was instructed to be the sheep. While I was told to study the word myself, I was taught the pastor would guide me. For years I was actively involved. I started as an usher in my primary years and moved to the choir as a teenager. During college I attended church on campus and although I chose not to become involved in any of the ministries, I attended church regularly. After completing college, I returned back to my home church and immediately joined the choir again.

As I became older and wiser, I decided I wanted to share with the youth in our church so I joined the youth ministry as a volunteer. After several years of serving as a volunteer, I stepped into the position of Assistant Youth Director. I was the assistant for approximately three months before the director quit in the middle of a meeting. As I stood there floored, not knowing what to say, the pastor looked at me and said, “I guess you’re in charge now.”

I started in my role immediately and the first year I mimicked the ideas and activities of the previous director. The second year I asked my brother to join me in leadership and we grew the program, as much in numbers as we did in Christ. And then we started to have fun! Fun included Youth Sundays, Wednesday night Bible Study, Fall Festivals and fundraising activities that included the kids learning how to take ownership and operate a store. We were all learning and growing!

And then one day the former director, the one that quit, decided she wanted to organize a project with the Youth Department. But she didn’t speak to me or my brother, or even our faithful and diligent assistants; she went to the pastor with her ideas. He willingly agreed to allow her to complete some activities with the kids without speaking to the directors. While that was heartbreaking, what made it worse was she asked him to use money we had worked tirelessly earning to reward our kids. It was at that moment we found out the money the kids had spent countless Saturdays and Sundays earning was gone. Apparently the church had found themselves in a bind and used the money, that only two people were supposed to have access to, to get themselves out of the financial ruin during that moment. Now I’m a pretty understanding person but when I asked the pastor why was I not made aware of the money situation, he responded, “Because it wasn’t your business.” Aht Aht, wrong answer!

My brother and I, along with our spouses, worked countless hours making the youth department functional. We were all proud to be a part of the organization. I watched football players come to activities before practices and after games. The commitment was a glorious site. I could not allow someone to believe this was acceptable behavior and I would never allow the kids to believe it was okay to be mistreated in this manner. So I called a meeting, expressed my concerns and resigned, effective immediately. That was 18 years ago and our church has yet to produce a quality, long standing youth department. As a result, we are seeing members walk away because they don’t feel there is any growth for their children, in our church.

The way this story ended still hurts to this day. Not because I didn’t heal from the actions of the pastor, but because there were kids that wanted to experience what our Youth Department was offering and they felt cheated because they never had a first class encounter as a member of the youth department. I offer this advice to all people when dealing with church affairs, “Your actions can heal or kill a church. Choose your actions wisely.” While I have not allowed this experience to influence my relationship with God, it has definitely influenced the ministries I choose to work with. I attempted to work with the Youth Department once again but I found no pleasure in it. I still support our youth but I have found another ministry that allows me to serve God’s people without anyone being blindsided.

Have you ever experienced this level of hurt in your church? How did you respond? Better yet, do you think the pastor should have this level of control?

 

HEY WAIT!!! DONE READING??? DON’T GO JUST YET!

So today I am publishing my first ever newsletter. Newsletters will be published monthly and will feature more of my fashion and fun. To subscribe please click on the link and follow me to get more ideas that include fashion, traveling, product reviews and a little bit more of my personal preferences regarding everyday life products and hacks. Hope to see you soon!

SUBSCRIBE HERE: https://www.smore.com/wfaq8

 

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