Tuesday, July 23, 2013

30before30 ends....and 30 begins!

The ending days of my 30before30 (since my last post) have been eventful, momentous, life-changing, and blessed! Starting out on this journey to 30 was initially a task full of "new things" and a brush up on the old. Now, in its end it has been a great time of reflection, evaluation, and fun. I grew more spiritually, emotionally, and became much more productive than usual. I also learned/reflected/incorporated the following into my life in the process:

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes

*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff

*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's

*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"

*Staying sane while the world goes crazy

*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!

*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!
*Being thankful on purpose!
*Taking the time to LOOK!
*Going to keep swimming to see the bigger picture!

All of my revelations and epiphanies from post to post. Each embodied a different area of growth for me. One of the most important things I noticed is that my 30before30 doesn't end here. I've tapped into many areas that are keepers!
*I exercised more and it was fierce. I am embracing my inner Crossfit! (I will SO continue this, does a body good).
*I increased my water intake.
*I became a weekly volunteer.
*I met new people.
*I studied and read more.

*Deepened my conversations and prayer with God.
*I started this blog.
*I did more of what I loved to do. 
*I gave of my time.
* I completed more acts of kindness.
*I loved more.
*I tried more.
*I did more.
*I received more for myself.
*I was and am blessed!
With all of those great tasks accomplished, I felt that this period of time was a success and that I couldn't have asked for anything more....then, this weekend I realized that tremendous blessings were still coming my way. My family and friends threw me a wonderful 30th surprise bday party.
Thanks to my sister and best friend for planning such a great party, thanks to my best friend for her award winning lies to get me there, and thanks to my beau who helped plan and bring even more surprises! It was "I Love Lucy" themed, as I am one of the biggest Lucille Ball fans there is. So....here are a few pics of my day (more to come later):

My invitation (of course I didn't know about it at the time).


My AWESOME "I Love Lucy" cake!
The tiers were red velvet (my favorite) and vanilla. YUM!!! 
Made by Sinsational Cakes by YaYa (so good it's a sin)
Best bakery I know!

These were part of the favors for the guests. Heart candies inside, my sister came up with this one!
Cutest little vintage TVs, along with some personalized bubbly.
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It was great seeing everyone, being surprised, and getting a great push into my 30s! However, I was completely unaware that my 30th birthday would also spark an even bigger life change; other than my 30before30 journey...

My wonderful beau, best friend, awesome guy decided to.....PROPOSE!
My utter shock, surprise and ring!

More utter shock, surprise, ring, and love!

I love this man! and he made my birthday even more special!


So, my ULTIMATE take away 30 days later....
There is always, Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, something to be thankful for and when blessings arise; embrace them. Take them in, remember Who allows them to enter your life, and cherish them to the utmost.


Here I was, so thankful for my day to day blessings, not knowing there was a greater blessing waiting for me. What a great way to end 29 and begin 30! Here's to the next chapter in my life.....
MRS. CraftyMorrison!


Another day in the books. "30before30" ends...and 30 begins!

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!
*Being thankful on purpose!
*Taking the time to LOOK!
*Going to keep swimming to see the bigger picture!
*Cherishing my blessings!
*Beginning 30!
*Experiencing NEW chapters!
*Continuing to be thankful!









Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 24-26: Just Keep Swimming....Just Keep Swimming...to the Bigger Picture

Today is day 26 of my 30before30! Seems like an eternity from day 1, but I am still going. The past few days have been filled with relaxation and giving of my time. Yesterday, I volunteered and continue to enjoy working and helping others each week. I'm getting better with the numerous tasks of an intake volunteer, and getting to interact with the community has been fun. One of the highlights of my day yesterday was talking to a client (who was in need of food assistance) about Lucille Ball. While discussing her file, I noticed she had an "I Love Lucy" purse. Such a small thing that made me realize something even bigger. As much as we are all different and have different struggles.....WE'RE SO THE SAME!

We had totally different backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences...but we both LOVE LUCY. After a while, I forgot about her struggles to feed her family, needing services, etc. We were just able to gab about Lucille Ball and how this 1950s comedy was the best thing since sliced bread. As my shift of helping out ended, I realized how thankful I was that I stepped into this venture. It's great to feel productive and at the same time, be in an environment where nothing matters but genuine help and kindness. That conversation with her was a fun one, and seeing what others are going through each week...just reminds me to keep swimming. Meaning, keep doing what matters most. There are days that we (myself included) go through the motions, and while intentions are good; we can sometimes lose sight of WHY we're really doing what we're doing.

I initially found this opportunity for myself. I wanted to incorporate more volunteerism, more giving of my time, more stepping outside of myself into my life. Great intentions, but once the work starts it's easy to get wrapped up into "what needs to get done." Pull a file, review info, ask what services are needed, etc. However, taking the time to talk, listen, and even find moments of similarity while helping....that's why I'll continue.

Along with giving time, I also continued to workout! Oh, it's SO hard. And I have decided that's it's hard because:

-It's a process that take TIME
-It hurts
-It's continuous
-Requires discipline
-Makes you kill your flesh and sacrifice
-Slacking takes you back 10 steps

Then, I was reminded that anything worth doing is all of the above. If it was easy, then everyone would do it, right? So, I will keep swimming in my 4 days to go of my 30before30 and thereafter. I literally kept yelling Philippians 4:13 today as I trudged through my crossfit workout. I had nothing left after only 3 rounds, and I was seconds away from collapsing into exhaustion. Today's workout called for pull-ups. I had my pull-up bar in place and went for the 10 pull-ups x5 with all the gusto I had in me. Needless to say, I stopped at #2 and thought "I really have to pull MYSELF up? Seriously?!" Of course the answer was yes, as my "Momma Crossfit" schedule reminded me of my WOD (workout of the day). So, I tried my best again, seeming to only get maybe an inch or two off the ground. With each round, I got a teensy bit better. Throughout though, I contemplated....well if I weighed less, maybe this would be easier...I won't be able to finish...what was I thinking. But, I kept yelling Philippians which after round 4 just became a "4:13" mumble due to the exhaustion.

However, I made it!! I made it through, sweaty, tired, laid flat out on the floor...but I made it. I began this journey agreeing to do the hard stuff (previous posts) and through the hard stuff you HAVE TO KEEP SWIMMING. Today, I didn't want to, but I pushed through. I appreciated it afterward and the soreness I'm feeling as I currently type is the best pain ever! You feel good anytime you:

-Go through the process and take the TIME
-Feel the hurt when necessary
-Continue the continuous process
-Require discipline of and in yourself
-Kill your flesh and make the sacrifice
-Not slack and refuse to go back 10 steps

Now, this isn't easy to stick to, but it is NECESSARY. So, today was my "Keep Swimming" day. When you keep swimming, you're able to continue, go to the depths necessary to see the bigger picture. I was reminded thus far this week, that I share similarities with a diverse group of others; and that finishing/continuing something is sometimes all that is needed to succeed. Reminders are always needed and great to have from time to time. My ultimate reminder today:

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!


Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!
*Being thankful on purpose!
*Taking the time to LOOK!
*Going to keep swimming to see the bigger picture!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 21-23: Gifts and Psalms

This weekend was a great one, filled with projects/DIY/crafting. All the things I love most. It was nice to tap into some of the things that bring me joy, ultimately creating! I've come to learn that many of my best times, happiest times are when I am making something. Creating a vision. Executing a project. Just something about putting things together that brings about the happy in life. At least for me anyway. I remember a time when I wasn't aware at all of my own gifts. Honestly, I didn't think I had any. I knew there were things I could excel in, but couldn't ever quite pinpoint what they were. I used to experience periods of boredom, feeling as if I had nothing to do, nothing to give. Funny, how the boredom became less and less, the older I became.

Now, there's plenty to do! Like work. And work. And more work. So, I went from times of boredom to feeling like everything was work. How exhausting! This 30 day journey I decided to take has brought about some interesting revelations...

1) Perspective is everything!- If I think I'm having a bad day, I am. If I feel I'm bored, I am. If I think I'm happy, I am. If I feel unproductive, I'm not productive. Forcing myself to tap into what's truly significant. Taking time to TAKE TIME. Noticing the good in every day, even though every day is not a good day. Choosing to have a different perspective has been one of the biggest gifts to come from this challenge so far.

2) I practiced my gifts and discovered new things = Yes, CraftyGriffin loves to create. Not a shock. I love everything from creating lessons for class, to classroom decor, to home decor, party planning, DIY, anything. Taking this time has given me the time to truly delve into my gift of creativity. Also, I have stepped outside of my comfort zone and involved myself in areas I never thought I would. I've met people I never thought I'd meet, and have made a conscious effort to extend my giving. That's something new. Discovering others outside of your bubble, your circle. Seeing how much your thought and time is needed. Taking the focus off of you and placing it on others!

3) My hunger has grown= In a previous post, I talked about searching for more! Then, I was referring to finding more ways to get out and volunteer my time/give of myself. Now, my hunger has grown in so many ways. Hungering for more with God, more for myself, a hunger for simplicity, peace, and a joy that is unwavering. It's a refreshing hunger. A constant wanting for what's better and best for you.

Today, I came across Psalm 25:4-5-

Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long

....what a GREAT verse. This is part of my journey through this. At 30, I want to be guided more so in His truth, shown His ways, taught His paths. Ultimately, that's what it all boils down to for me. I think our (myself included) true hunger is to live and walk the spirit of these verses. If my hope is in Him all day long...how can the boredom, fatigue, wandering, frustrations of day to day be let in? Life happens, and for 29 years, I have been operating like a light switch. On when I have to be, putting my all into what I do, sometimes only finding my worth in "what I do," and then....when things get overwhelming, or it's time to shut down, I turn off. On. Off. On. Off. That's not a life that has hope in Him all day long. My hope for 30+ is to have that hope in Him ALL DAY LONG. To stay on. To live outside of my bubble. Continue to CREATE. Embrace my craftiness in all areas, not just with paint, hot glue, and ribbon. Now, that's a gift. To everyday find the good in the day. To everyday, hope when it's easy to lose it. Today, I'm thankful for gifts and this Psalm
. I'm appreciative for this time I have and for the spurts of meaning in the smallest experiences.

Tomorrow will be a new day, another opportunity to create. I'll begin with...jumping back on my crossfit (today was a rest day). Even exercise (that I don't necessarily like doing) is creating a better body and a more disciplined spirit. See, there's good if you look. Apparently, I had gotten so enveloped in daily tasks, that I stopped looking. My take away- Don't stop looking. Gifts, joy, peace...it's there. It can be easily overlooked when our lives become busy. However, our lives were never intended to become too busy to LOOK.


Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!
*Being thankful on purpose!
*Taking the time to LOOK!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 20: Thankful Thursday!

Day 20 of my 30before30 and I am truly thankful!! It's been great these past 20 days reflecting, trying new things, being more conscious of areas where I need to grow, and celebrating the growth I've seen in myself. So, in lieu of day 20, I decided to make a list of 20 things for which I'm thankful.

 Toya's Thankful Thursday List ( The English teacher in me loves alliteration):

I'm thankful for...

1. God and my growing relationship with Him
2. Time off (Summer!)
3. Rainy days like today (brings a refreshing cool breeze)
4. All the basics necessary to live (thank God)
5. Family, friends, and love
6. Creativity
7. Quiet time
8. The Word
9. Trials that have helped me grow
10. Projects
11. New Perspectives
12. Volunteering
13. Meeting new people
14. The ability to help others
15. My Career
16. Grace and Mercy
17. Time to rest
18. Goals and the discipline to accomplish them
19. Inspiration
20. Favor that I don't deserve

These were just some of the things that stood out to me today. All in all, I'm just thankful to be thankful. No matter how great or small, I am appreciative of every moment and experience. I wasn't always able to say that. I'm also sure there will be days when it's difficult to fully appreciate ALL (even the bad). However, there is always, Always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. ALWAYS. Being thankful changes your thinking, places your focus on what's really important, and can even eradicate burdens you didn't know were there. Just be thankful. It's a choice with lasting effects.

Another day in the books. "30before30"
*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!
*Being thankful on purpose!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 19:Productive Pit Stops, Terrific Troubles, and Growth!

 (after the hiatus), 30before30

 Today marks day 19 of my 30before30 after a 9 day hiatus. In the midst of this journey I moved! My goodness how moving can put a huge halt on your life! This is my 3rd time moving ever and it doesn't get any easier. No matter how organized I tried to be, you just never know what you'll encounter. Nonetheless, I am very blessed and thankful for the move and new space.

So, this past week has been interesting due to some random pit stops and troubles:

*My cable/internet had an (all of a sudden for the entire week) connection issue (hence my lapse in blogging each day).

*Pulled a muscle during working out (hurt like crazy for days)

*Realized while moving, that as much as I purged, I still had SO MUCH STUFF!
I will be adding simplicity to this challenge, after this revelation.

*The day of my move, my car battery died....of course it did.

However, in the midst of some of these things I noticed that I've grown quite a bit. While these are not massive issues, I have been in the habit of letting everything get to me. I realized I was controlled by my circumstances. If something bad happened, I had a bad day. If something good happened, I had a good day. But, I am thankful for the growth in this area, because you can have a great day no matter what is happening. Now, realistically yes, there are certain situations that can totally derail your day or days. But, these situations don't have to permanently steal your joy. I think that's the biggest goal I'm striving to achieve--the ability to remain stable, keep my joy, and hold my peace in the midst of any storm (great or small). So, when these pit stops, troubles, Murphy's Law all came at once--I was steady. I thought, well "this too shall pass." And guess what- it did! Trouble definitely doesn't last always. Sometimes our own time clock seems like an eternity. Like those moments where you could have sworn it has been an hour and only 10 or 15 minutes have passed. I think many times that is how we (myself included) operate. Instant gratification, not wanting to go through a process/journey, not willing to take the time that's needed to see something through.....

How we react to certain situations can make these matters (that may just be a "15 minute" period in your life) seem like forever. I noticed that when I remained stable and kept truckin' with my joy---it wasn't such a big deal. I didn't "what-if" myself to death (as I would usually do), I didn't worry, I wasn't anxious. I remembered Philippians 4:6-7. I actually laughed, especially when my car battery died, and thought of course. Of course, today this would happen. It will pass, it will be taken care of, and if I can't fix it, God will make a way. Done deal, pressed on, stayed productive....and now it's a faint memory versus a burden.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Perspective!


So, yes it was hard to go through a week without my common luxuries, things breaking down (including my body:)), moving my life and unpacking it all. However, I gained LOADS of reflection time. I was able to have more of a thorough study/scripture time, I HAD to change my perspective on some things, I CHOSE to not worry when things went awry. I was more conscious of my thoughts. So my pit stops became "Productive Pit Stops." When there were moments that circumstances hindered me from moving forward, I was able to focus in on something else. Some things you can't change, but you can definitely change how you react to them. So, I made a decision to be productive elsewhere. My troubles became "Terrific Troubles." I am just now, at 29 years old, truly learning how to count it all joy.

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4, AMP

Things are going to happen. Go wrong. People will be unfair/unreasonable/annoying, etc. Your plans will be derailed, you won't be considered, you'll encounter unexpected trials, things you didn't ask to even be a part of....I could go on and on and on.....

I'm realizing that since I know these things will happen eventually, why lose my joy? Why not view it differently? We've all heard great quotes on what pressure and trials can do. How beautiful stones are formed because of pressure...being that diamond in the rough. But, I must admit, when a trial arises I have forgotten about the bigger picture. Count it all joy. It's not always what we want to do, but ultimately in the end...that pressure, the uncomfortable things, will all make us better. I can truly say I'm grateful for those Productive Pit Stops and the Terrific Troubles that arise from time to time. I may have to consistently remind myself to have a different perspective, but when I look back I'm definitely better afterwards than I was before. It all just makes me a tougher cookie!


Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!
*Counting it all joy and staying on track!




Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 10: I got inspired!

Woo Hoo! Day 9 of my 30before30...

All in all today was a great day, and although I'm still at the beginning of this journey-it's been great thus far. Today was filled with a pretty scheduled day of To Do tasks. I'm moving this week. I planned to move months ago in my realization that I should be more aggressive about my finances.

I've never been totally irresponsible with money, BUT I do have a few financial burdens I could go without. So, I made the decision to pack all my stuff and move to a slightly larger but less expensive place. Not at all a hard decision, the hard part is packing up my life in....oh about 5 days! Nonetheless, I began my day by doing the following:

*Praying and spending time with God- God and I had a great conversation this morning. I read a bit of Word, read a bit of Elizabeth George's book, reflected, etc.

*After a short morning nap (oh the things you can do when you're off for the summer!)...I made a list of things I needed to tackle for the day which included:

*Paying my deposit for the new place.
*Checking on insurance and utilities for move in day.
*Transferring internet and cable services.
*Reserving a U-Haul truck for the move.

You know, the boring stuff that you have to do before you can get into your new space. Between those errands and To Dos, I decided to stop by Target. If you know me, this is a problem waiting to unfold. I LOVE TARGET!! I feel that the store must have been created especially for me:) I stopped by to snag a giftcard for a friend (part of my 5x5 in a previous post). However, I can never walk into Target and not stop at their dollar spot section. The endless display of random, cutesy, sometimes useless things that you think you really need. I walk in and it's like "Ahhhhhh" cutesy, cheapy things!

 This section in the store is a TEACHER'S DREAM! The possibilities of what you can use the items for is limitless. So, as I usually do....I strolled through the section and found...

French Fry Snack Containers!
Now, for the regular shopper, these might be used for a cute BBQ party or kid's event. But, to an English teacher these cutey pie containers are just the supplies needed to spice up my "Figurative Language Fry" activity. Yes, I said "Figurative Language Fry" activity. If you don't know by now, my 6th and 7th grade ELA classroom is cafe themed (check out the "Toya the Teacher" tab for a peek). I came up with the theme this past year and have been ready to "up the ante" for next year ever since. Along with cafe/food inspired decor, I also made sure to make EVERY lesson and activity based on the cafe theme. So, when my students study figurative language, they practiced their skills by making figurative language fries.


Now, my lesson can go further and have the manipulatives I've been looking to have! Stay tuned to this activity, I have many a fry to cook!


As I tried to leave this section in Target, more items began to call my name. Again, things that prevent a teacher like me, who loves to create, from walking away...
Steak Coasters in cute little meat packages! Ahh!!!

As mentioned before, to a normal shopper, a cute BBQ coaster. To an English teacher who's classroom thrives on a foodie theme- Lesson in a package!!
So, I stood there. Staring at the packages thinking, "I could use this some how, I just know it!" While standing, in just a few moments, I had created a writing lesson about sentences that would be awesome for my 6th and especially my 7th grade classes. It just hit me, "Is your sentence at "stake?"
Killing two birds with one stone, I decided I could use this to teach the idiom..."something being at stake" as well as a lesson to model well written sentences. Once I finish writing this along with the handouts and notes for their Cookbook (what I call their English interactive notebooks), it will definitely be utilized this year!


I also ended up leaving with $1 packs of recipe cards and plastic corn molds. All  items I will turn into fun lessons. I love teaching. Love inventing new ways for kids to take in the information. Today, I was inspired. In Target. In the dollar section. Over the smallest of things. Tada! Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. Nonetheless, inspiration is what keeps one going. I remember just about a month ago, I was counting down until summer. Looking forward to a break from the day to day teacher schedule. One month into summer, I find myself shrieking over french fry containers and pretend steaks. I find myself making lesson plans in my head and getting excited about the possibilities of the lessons. Now, I will return back to my regularly scheduled summer- but I'm grateful for the moments today that inspiration hit. It lets you review your passions, it takes you out of your box, it brings excitement into a day that began with boring "adult" tasks. Yay inspiration! Get inspired to do something! Always!



Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!
*Getting Inspired!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 9: Got my butt kicked! (In more ways than one)

Day 9 of my 30before30...

I will officially name this my "I got my butt kicked day." How so? Well, since revving up my exercise routine, I am still part of the sore club. I'm somewhere between an all out limp and an elderly woman stance. It's good pain, but I definitely missed today's workout due to my burning glutes and legs. Never fear, because I will attack my Crossfit workouts again tomorrow. I used to get discouraged when I would miss an item off my "Checklist" or "To Do" and just completely give in to failure. However, one thing I am realizing is that the journey (through anything); doesn't have to be perfect.

I'm a sufferer of perfectionism, yes I said a sufferer. Knowing that no one is perfect, other than God; that makes me a sufferer. Perfection is a strain, a burden, something we all know we'll never achieve. Sounds like a downer, but it's just a truth. Things can be in order, things can be great, standards can be made and maintained-but it doesn't have to be perfect. So, while I wished I would have not missed (two now) days of workout since I started...reality is- I missed it. I'll keep going. Wasn't the goal to insert more of the necessary, more of the productive, more of the hard stuff that's the good stuff into my everyday life? Doing it. It wasn't to have a perfectly marked, cutesy checklist to show. So, while my butt is kicked today, it's a good one. The good pain.

Along with my physical butt kicking, I also got my spiritual butt kicked today in regards to fears. I didn't necessarily think I had any fears. I mean, I'm not scared of anything (other than all reptiles, insects, and rodents). As far as life, people, and day to day; I'm a tough cookie. Yeah, a tough cookie.....that crumbles sometimes....oh wait. Is that crumbling, fear? I learned today that fear doesn't always present itself as the big bad wolf. For me, it's the subtle things. So, I'm calling myself out, to face those things that I truly fear (and didn't think I did).

My "Face It, Don't Fear It" List (thanks to Joyce Meyer!)

*Not being perfect- I have to laugh at this one, because logically I know I will never reach perfection. However, I notice that how I do things and what I think is a direct indication that I believe this is attainable. Also, the shear disappointment I feel, but don't always show...that's the longing for things to be perfect. The real freedom, joy, and peace is not when things are all lined up straight and perfect. It's when things are as imperfect as they can be and you still have your joy and peace. So, I am ready to eradicate this fear. Excellence can be sought after, but I'll eliminate the self defeat when imperfections arise. They'll always be there, and since I know this, why over-analyze, why exert the pressure, why give in to the disappointment. 

*Others taking advantage- Not a fear I have always been conscious of, but it's there. There's that quiet voice of "I'm not going to allow anyone to...." I think the fill in the blank is different for everyone. For me, it varies on the circumstance, person, etc. Nonetheless, I do put up a tougher exterior to prevent others from taking advantage of me or taking something away from me. Crazy, because that's going to happen in life anyway. Someone at some point will attempt to take advantage. It may come in a myriad of forms, but it will happen. Some can mistake my helpfulness for being willing to "always say yes", my silence for acceptance of what's going on, etc. Whatever the case, these things will occur, so why be fearful. Whatever is taken can be, WILL BE restored. I feel that God acts on our behalf (just like the Nationwide woman in the commercial). Things will be taken, and He'll replace those things with "Brand New Belongings." So, no worries. Life will happen, and those who take advantage will not have reign, or rain on your parade. And, yes in these recently reflective 30before30 days; I have found meaning in the most random things- hence the new Nationwide Commercial.
God is on your side!

*Giving up control- Big one for me! I would even say teachers in general would most likely have this fear as well. I mean we live to control our environment, for the betterment of children, yes. Even so, I have never liked feeling out of control--but again that's life. I mean, are any of us really ever in control? I'm sure while we think we are; God has an LOL moment. The thoughts of "I have to do it because I'll do it right" "I must turn every stone myself." "I have to have a hand in everything." How exhausting, and I've been functioning this way for years. I can do what I can do, and what I cannot control is OK. God, grant me the serenity...I need to say that prayer for often.

All in all, I'm glad I got my butt kicked today! I was reminded that true growth involves pain. Good pain, and good pain is not always physical. My spirit took a punch in the gut. A necessary one, needed to face some things that I fear. Things that can be crippling. Making a list of them, great. Working these things out of my system, THAT'S THE JOURNEY. Not a perfect one, not one that is completed overnight either. But, it will be one worth the effort and one that can only restore the joy and peace that has suffered--actually buried in my fears. A butt kicking isn't so bad, bring it on!


Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 7 and 8: Just Post-It!

30before30: Day 7 & 8

Yesterday was definitely a reflective one. You know the type of day that doesn't necessarily begin as planned, yet you still have to keep on keeping on. I decided to take some moments, pause, and read. I'm currently reading a book, Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. It's a pretty dated book, one I realized I had in my collection that I had never quite taken the time to dive into. Similar to an outfit that you notice you've never worn, then you try it on and it looks great! I must scan through my books more often and pick out those forgotten treasures I didn't know were there.

Anyhoo, as I poured into the first chapter I was reminded of many things. Things that were perfect for my day 7 and for each day thereafter.

My Book Lessons

Spending time with God- I know this and part of my journey lately has been to do even more than I thought I was doing. It's not just important so that we can face the days troubles...it's important because we need to show that devotion to God not for what He can do but just because of Who He Is. Always a good reminder!

Choose His ways at every opportunity- Again, this I know as well but I didn't realize how many times I miss opportunities to consult Him on tasks that seem so small. For instance, it's always been a struggle for me to always have the right response to certain situations. My facial expressions are always changing, one of the things my students love about my teaching. I can be very animated depending on the content. This strength in my teaching is not necessarily the best attribute outside of the classroom. I tend to wear my thoughts on my face. My face can speak volumes without me ever uttering a word. Something I am trying to be more conscious of, and it never dawned on me that I should consult God when I'm faced with situations where I need to be mindful of my face. My face. Body language is a powerful tool, and can cause one to be comfortable or uncomfortable by a simple expression. So, when someone is saying something I would rather not hear; I can choose His way in that moment. I can ask how I should present myself, I can replace an anguished face with a Godly one. 

"Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better is best."- When I came across this phrase in the book, I thought I hit the goldmine! One, what a great phrase to use in my classroom. Two, what a great phrase to use for myself. The quote prompted the discussion of choosing to go from good, to better, to best. Sometimes we just decide to do something. It could be what we want, it could be impromptu, it could be a gut reaction. Whatever the reason, how much better off would we be if we took the time to use good, better, or best. Always being mindful of what is the best possible thing we could do, and not settling for just the good. Yesterday, I had a huge craving for sweets. Probably because I have eradicated them and sentenced myself to water during my exercise regime. I wanted cupcakes, I wanted cheesecake, I wanted anything sweet and yummy. I gave in. I had 3 mini Kit Kat bars. They were great, but I didn't feel that great afterwards. Now, same situation, but what if I had used good, better, best? I could have made a low cal sweet snack, that's good. I could have had fruit, that would have been better. I could have thrown out sweet altogether (as this is just a temptation) and just made a healthy snack- that would have been best. This phrase is why p. 17 in this book will be folded forever. I need the constant reminder of good, better, best. It could make the difference in my health, relationships, interactions, ultimately LIFE! There's much talk about not settling for mediocrity. I agree, but don't settle for just "good" when you can always do your best!

Having been mentally jolted and charged from my read yesterday, I felt that I needed to consciously remind myself of other necessary things. So, I compiled some of my favorite quotes/scripture. From now on (as I do with just scripture from time to time) I will "Just Post-It!" Post those things that need to stay in the forefront of my mind. Post those things that are a struggle. Post those things which are good. Post those things that can bring peace and defeat a storm. Just Post-It! As simple as print, cut, post. Words have power. As a teacher, I find myself restating this common cliche. But, they do! They can transform, they can provoke thought, they can change things. Just like the Bible is a mirror for us through words of how we should be, just like a book can create a chain of thoughts that lead to discussion, just like our own words can help or hinder. Words matter, why not surround yourself with words that will edify you, challenge you, remind you, bring out the best in you?

To "Just Post-It" with me, click the link below for my download:



My 7th and 8th day Take Away:

Aspire to go from good, to better, to best!


Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 6: S.O.S Awareness

Today is day 6 of my 30before30....today I:

Did a bit of crocheting (Yes, it's summer and I'm crocheting a blanket). I've been working on it the last 3 years or so. I am a novice to crocheting, I only know about 3 stitches, but it's a calming thing to do. I started this particular blanket when my uncle (who has since passed) was ill in the hospital. I initially started it for him, as I used to take turns sitting with him in the hospital. It kept me busy and he always had blankets, seemed like a cathartic and productive thing to do. Somewhere between then and now I fell off of it. Today, of all things I decided to start my morning with adding a bit more to it. The simplest things can sometimes be the very ones we should pick back up. So, I am not sure if I'll finish it in these 30 days, but I am definitely going to try.

I also went to meet the director and check out the new place I'll be volunteering in the coming weeks. I mentioned previously that as I was "searching for more" I came across another volunteer opportunity in addition to serving at the Food Bank. This particular organization helps those in need acquire food, clothing, job services, or anything that would help someone get back on their feet. After touring the facility and speaking with the director, I snagged a position as the Intake Receptionist. The Intake Receptionist greets the clients that come in, helps refer them to services they need, and even assists with getting food for their families. I'm just a teacher, off for summer break, looking to help. I was told that 60% of those that have helped in their reception area have been teachers.

I didn't find this surprising because teachers, in fact, are people-oriented by nature.
We care about others and always want to help our students. So, I can see how those same attributes can be channeled into other things. While I was there, I saw various people enter, looking for assistance. The interesting thing is they varied in needs and nature. As much as we don't admit it, I think many of us assume we can recognize someone in need (I have thought this many a time myself). We have some sort of criteria in our heads that we think are characteristics of someone who would give an SOS signal of distress. I would even say this could be borderline to judgement. Judging a book by its cover, per say.

As I noticed those entering, I was told one of the organization's main goals was to treat their clients with dignity and respect regardless of race, culture, affiliations, etc. The director told me that she has noticed in their food delivery services many people who reject help because of the embarrassment. I was told about a young man who needed food for months, drove to the facility several times, but each time he couldn't make himself get out and walk in. He couldn't brace the fact that he needed this help. He couldn't send out his own SOS signal. Finally, he decided to come get the help he needed and was able to get back on his feet.

Hearing this story made me realize how much it's necessary to have an awareness of the simple fact that everyone needs help. Everyone from time to time will flare their SOS signal and need someone to step in and assist. You can't know based on how someone looks or what you think you know about their life. It's not always a discernible sign. For this reason, I decided a few things...

I can ALWAYS be helpful!

You never know. You never know what someone is dealing with, what they need, how even the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. So, I CAN ALWAYS HELP. Wherever, whenever, in whichever capacity. I can't imagine how humbling and hard it is to have to go where you once thought you never would. Many people find themselves in this very predicament daily. No one ever expects these things, they just happen. Thank God there are those who see the needs and meet the needs. I was told today, "we deal with issues that not many people think about." There are many simple things most of us take for granted that others are fighting to have. Now, this doesn't mean that our own problems aren't problems too. But, while the grass is not always greener, for some, it's non-existent. Help, as with air is always readily available. Question is how much can be given away? If we thought of being helpful as necessary as needing to breathe...my what a concept!

The insignificant is significant!

Yes, I'm an English teacher. I know my prefixes. I know that -in placed in front of a word means "not." However, today I realized that the things we think are "not" significant, actually are. As the Intake Receptionist, I'll greet the clients, take their IDs, help them make a grocery list from the choice pantry, connect them to other services they need. Seems like secretarial tasks I'll complete each week. Nonetheless, these tasks are important and will help someone get from point A to point B. No matter what we find that can be "insignificant," it's important. Picking up a piece of trash, returning a grocery cart, smiling at someone, etc. It's not small. It's one thing that can have a huge impact. Sounds cliche, sounds like stuff we already can conclude. But, today it was apparent how much we "know" that we don't tap into. I intend to tap into what I know and to make all that is insignificant, SIGNIFICANT!

Keep my happy!

Gosh, this is hard. From day-to-day, this can be a struggle even if you consider yourself a generally happy person. Why, because as I said previously, the world 10 times out of 10 will go loopdy loo and take you down with it. One of my weaker areas to be honest. I'm a worry wort by day, and a stressed out gal by night in most cases. I've grown a bit over the years, but it's still something I am determined to master. Daily awareness of this has been a good help to me. This 30before30 challenge has also been a good jolt for it, and of course God. I cannot even pretend that I have the capability to keep my happy on my own. It's a daily, "God, you're going to have to help me with this..." prayer. But, one day it won't be a challenge. One day this is will a consistent natural part of me. Whoo! How positive, but back to reality. Until then, the meantime is the real part of it all. I think we all struggle with "the meantime." That's that seemingly long period of time between your current cloud to your happy sunshine. The sunshine will come, but it's the meantime that needs the true maintenance. So, in the meantime I'll continue my daily, "God, help me with..." "Thank You for helping me with..." "I know that You are working with me on..." and after those prayers when you still feel a bit not so peppy-you show it anyway. Today was an ok day. I felt pretty productive, but I wasn't bouncing off the ceiling happy. But, when I came into contact with others today I kept my happy. That is a chain reaction. Others need that, and their need increases your willingness to keep and show your happy. Don't worry, be happy! (I had to sing it, just had to).


Number 1 thought today:
We all have S.O.S distress moments, they're easy to recognize...the hard part is recognizing how to respond and what you should do in those moments. You can ask for help, you can be the helper, or you can keep your happy in the meantime.




Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!