I believe in vigor!

The “R” Word

Not unlike the elementary aged students that I serve, everybody is saying it yet no one knows exactly what it means. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about THAT “R-word” the one we’ve long since done away with. No, I’m addressing the new R-word which comes up daily in the world of education… rigor. Everyone involved in education from as high as the federal government to the proverbial conversation around the water cooler wants to know how we are incorporating rigor into our classrooms. So just what is rigor?

Merriam-Webster first defines it as, “harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment.” Wow, wait… that sounds a lot like the one room school house of yesteryear. That can’t be what they mean, let’s check for alternate meanings. Hmm, “unyielding, strictness, severity, cruelty, strict precision”… these are not words I want to use to describe my classroom. OK, perhaps I can get behind this one a little bit, “a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable” at least the challenging word fits well with my vision.

Surely the description of challenging is what “they” mean when looking for or adding rigor, so let’s examine that further. I recently attended a wonderful training for our Advanced Academic educators and we looked at the difference between difficult tasks and complex tasks. What we found was that difficulty was rated based on the amount of effort required to complete a task whereas complexity is rated based on whether or not the task requires higher order thinking (think: Bloom’s Taxonomy/Webb’s Depth of Knowledge). It is difficult for me to lift 50 pounds, but it is not complex. It may be difficult for a student to be required to write more sentences or calculate more problems, but it is not complex. What appropriate term would define the challenging complexity with which we want our students to grapple?

Shakespeare had Juliette ask us all, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” While that may be true to an extent, as educators we know the power of precision in linguistics. So if rigor doesn’t accurately describe what we want to see in our classrooms what word should we choose instead? May I propose to you today that we consider using the word vigor, defined as “effort, energy, and enthusiasm,” as the litmus test for complexity in our education system. What a joy it would be to see every student enthusiastically expending effort and energy into our classrooms. Join me, fellow educators, as I endeavor to ensure that my assignments are chock-full of tasks worthy of the name vigor!

I believe in Finishing Strong…

Last year, American runner Molly Huddle took fourth place in the world championships in the 10,000 meters race. You may have heard about her story. She celebrated a bit too soon near the end, letting up just enough to allow her teammate, Emily Infeld, to pass her and instead be the one to secure the bronze medal.


She was none too pleased with herself. Every runner is trained to run through the tape, to finish strong. However, there can be unfortunate distractions that prevent one from accomplishing this in the moment that matters the most.

I recently finished my doctoral coursework and passed my comprehensive exam giving me the status of All But Dissertation (ABD). While some may feel this is cause for celebration, it really isn’t. It means that I discovered the light at the end of the tunnel was really just the beginning of another longer tunnel. As it turns out, I discovered that half of the candidates who begin that tunnel never finish! The distractions of life prevent them from running through the tape.

It is my belief that if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it! 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 in The Message Bible says, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

What is your race? Have you decided to finish strong?

My newest goal in life it to be more like the girl in red in the video below:





I believe in Waiting in the Hallway…


Often people speak of doors opening and closing, but rarely do we hear of the time spent in the hallway. We like to reflect on life as one happy snapshot to the next, and neglect to remember the trail we took to get there. There are a fortunate group, who peer safely from inside the last door they entered to see if another door across the hallway is open or not. The remainder feel a door close behind them and then…they wait…

A friend recently found herself in this waiting group. She felt God leading her away from her current position and resigned. Next, she applied for two openings, one a dream job and another a great option as well. Days turned into weeks of waiting in the hallway, then she finally got a call from the great option. Before interviewing, her family was sitting down to dinner, and her son led the family grace asking God to give his mom the dream job! I’m tearing up now as I remember his childlike faith. The one that had not given up hope yet when all hope seemed to be lost.

She was offered the great position (because she’s awesome!) and was elated that the door had opened! Wouldn’t you know it though, the dream job came calling as well! After interviewing there, her son led the family prayer time once more and pleaded with God to let his mom hear that she was hired for the dream job that very night! Can we just pause for a moment at this request? This child knows that NOTHING is impossible for God and to share with Him the desires of our hearts. My friend explained to her son that HR would not be available to let her know about the position that night, but guess what, THEY DID ANYWAY! If you’re not joining me in getting misty by now, I must not have done justice to telling their story.

When I think of this woman’s example of patience in the hallway, and this child’s example of faith I see some areas I can improve in for sure! You see, I’m in the hallway myself right now. To tell you the truth, I’ve been here for almost a year. I can choose to let it continue to torment me as I pace up and down the hallway, or I can choose to grow in my weaknesses so that when the door opens, I’m stronger for having waited.

I believe in trust…

In romantic relationships trust is built block by block. From the very first pick up line one can determine to welcome or reject further communication with another individual. Progress in the relationship status is determined by a myriad of factors but trust is one of them, chief of them being, “can I trust this person with the real me?”

However, the child to parent trust relationship is unique as it appears to be instantaneous. Perhaps this is genetic from their complete lack of ability to survive without us.

Recently my 4 year old daughter and I had a conversation about an event that happened a few months ago. She said to me, “Hey Mama, remember when we were at Kyle’s football game and I fell in the hole? Then you came in the hole and I wasn’t scared anymore!” The “hole” in this story refers to the openings between the bleachers. She was no longer afraid once the person she trusted was with her.

I love the parallel that this type of relationship draws for us to visualize our relationship with Christ. Our trust in Him is automatic once we recognize our complete reliance on Him to sustain us. Then we no longer have to live in fear because the one in whom we trust is always with us.

The truly incredible difference between these two types of relationships is not in the way the trust is established but in the way it is torn down. In the case of both earthly relationships, the romantic and the familial, trust is demolished at the moment that the one being trusted in fails in some way. Or when the one who is doing the trusting no longer believes in the reliability of their trust in that individual. In our relationship with Christ however, He never fails us. Our trust in Him is infinitely reliable and cannot be destroyed.

I Believe in Sacrifice…

Today marks the end of an over two year adventure where I grew my hair out to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. (It took that long only because I had to grow all of the bleach out of my hair first.) To be totally honest, I prefer my hair longer, but guess what, this isn’t about me. This is about taking action. All of the awareness campaigns in the world are worthless if no one DOES anything after they become aware. So for everyone who’s ever gone braless, wore pink, or even participated in the no-make up selfie… I’m issuing a new challenge. Take it to the next step! You don’t have to donate your hair, you can donate your time, your money, your talents.

I’m reminded of a story from the Bible…Image

Mark 12: 41-4441 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Wow… kinda puts my 8 inches of hair donation to shame. Every person isn’t called to sell their home, quit their job, and move to Africa. But I do believe that every person is called to make a difference, and not just the easy ones. I make a lot of selfish choices each and every day. I’m striving to change that, one step at a time.

So when I look at myself in the mirror in the morning, I won’t see a woman with long luscious locks. However, I will be reminded of all the women who are fighting for their life and loose all of their hair in the process, and I will see a woman who took action that required a sacrifice, and that’s something to be proud of.


I dedicate this post to my Grandma, she fought a good fight. I miss you Grandma, don’t worry the weather here is just fine!


If you’d like more information on the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program visit: http://www.pantene.com/en-US/PanteneBeautifulLengths/Pages/default.aspx

If you’d like to support a wonderful woman currently fighting visit: https://www.facebook.com/loveforshawna

If you’d like to volunteer with the American Cancer Society visit: http://www.cancer.org/involved/volunteer/index

If you’d like to donate to the American Cancer Society visit: https://donate.cancer.org/index?campaign=search&gclid=CN_qrZ_Ax70CFe1QOgodwG0AkQ


I Believe in Thanksgiving

I believe in Thanksgiving.

The technical definition is “an expression of gratitude.” I think all too often we aren’t grateful, and even when we are we certainly don’t express it. I’m not going to get on one of those “all these young kids” soapboxes; I’ll put the blame right on myself. I rarely verbalize or otherwise express my appreciation. In the fall of each year the social networks are blowing up with “   days of Thanks.” When I saw this trend emerge the first time I thought it was nice, but didn’t join in. Then my ladies Bible study group challenged us all to write out  ,    things we’re thankful for….now that sounds like a bandwagon I’d like to jump on. ONE THOUSAND! It sounded hard at first, but once I started it flowed like a river. The first ones that come to mind are the most obvious, but then you REALLY get to the heart of gratefulness…appreciation….thanksgiving!

. Salvation  . Freedom  . My husband  . My children  . My parents  . My friends  . MOPS  . The Port St. Joe Sacred Heart Hospital ER staff  . Stents   . Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators   . Modern medicine   . Dr. Mubarak   . Dr. Baddigam   . Dr. Singh   . John Barger   . Conception   . Pregnancy   . Birth   . Dr. Desautel   . The US Air Force   . The US Military   . The Veterans Administration   . Elizabeth Fehrman   . Melissa Wolowicz   . Walking   . Talking   . Huntingdon College   . Chi Omega   . Laura Partridge   . Lauren Merritt   . Adrienne Asire   . Writing   . Prayer   . Technology   . Kissing   . Hugging   . Snuggling   . Reading   . Telephones   . Facetime   . Computers   . Cameras   . Toothbrushes   . Soap   . Books   . Fall Leaves   . Shoes   . Bathtime   . Bedtime   . Babywise   . Carseats   . Big Smiles   . Sleepy Smiles   . Daddys home smiles   . Going outside smiles   . Belly Buttons   . Cherry St. Baptist church   . Shane Roberson   . The Church at Canoe Creek   . Raindrops   . Sunbeams   . Mountains   . Oceans   . Central heat   . Air Conditioning   . Electricity   . Dishwasher   . Washing Machine   . Dryer   . Those who wrote down Gods word   . Sharing   . Swings   . Slides   . Sidewalks   . Walking Group   . Play Group   . Bible Study Group   . Mrs. Nell   . Mrs. Nancy   . The other nursery workers   . Good shopping days   . Meals Out   . Life lesson: Some things cant be fixed   . Life lesson: Some people pay for their education, some people get theirs for free   . Life lesson: half’ing   . Memory   . Dr. Hogan   . Ice Maker   . S’mores   . Camping trips   . The Miracle Fire   . Nature   . Trails   . Rappelling   . White Water Rafting   . Rain on our camping trips   .  Shelter   . Coleman products   . Grilling    . Swimming    . Caves    . State Parks    . Wildlife    . Boats    . Fishing    . Board Games    . The US Secret Service    . Debora Selix    . Study Abroad    . Girl Scouts    . Girl Scout Camp    . Girl Scout Cookies    . Girl Scout Mall day    . Music    . Strings    . Saxophones    . Music Teachers    . Jazz    . Art    . Art Teachers    . Sculpture    . Photography    . Film    . Developers    . Scrapbooking    . Cricut    . Stickers    . Fancy Paper    . Our Playhouse    . “Bear”    . “Patch”    . Grandma    . Granny    . Examples of hard workers    . Examples of selflessness    . Examples of true love    . Examples of Family    . Examples of faithfulness    . Examples of sacrifice    . Examples of integrity    . “Ring” cookies    . Trees to climb    . Hummingbirds to catch    . Fireflies to chase    . Christmas Lights    . Christmas Trees    . Christmas Ornaments    . Christmas Songs    . Christmas Cookies    . Live Nativities    . Christmas Eve    . Trip to Canada    . Trip to Disney World    . Trip to London    . Mission trip to Jamaica    . Cruise to Bahamas    . Our Wedding    . Our Photographers    . Our cakes    . Our Flowers    . Our guests    . The Buena Vista    . IOS ESL class    . Foreign Missionaries    . Operation Christmas Child    . The Angel Tree    . Giving    . Great Bosses    . The Downings    . Invovled Parents    . Huntingdon College    . Auburn Montgomery    . Maxwell Elementary    . Etowah High    . People who Believe in me    . My brother    . My sisters in law    . My Nieces    . Chocolate Chip Cookies    . Chocolate Chip Cookie dough    . Ovens    . Pam spray    . Nestle Tollhouse    . Refrigerators    . Diapers    .Wipes    . Diaper Genies    . Baby Powder    . Clothes    . Shoes    . Bows    . Purses    . Earrings    . Grass    . Flowers    . Windows    . Terrain    . Catching fish in cement pond    . Playing hide and seek in the yard    . Planning operation “ho ho ho”    . Learning how to wash a car    . Learning how to ride a bike    . Learning to cook in my easy bake oven    . Neighborhoods safe to walk in    . Home-made ice cream    . Running through sprinklers    . Riding Leslie’s motor cycle    . Four Wheeling with Dad    . Climbing the mountain behind the church    . “helping” with the soup    . Making potpourri to sell    . Lemonade stands    . Freeze Tag    . Dodge Ball    . Coats    . Footie PJs    . Blankets    . Electric Blankets    . House shoes    . Socks    . Gloves    . Hats    . Scarves    . Ear Muffs    . Cuddle Duds    . Hand warmers    . Fire Pits    . Fire wood    . Lighters    . Spankings    . Time Outs    . Groundings    . Learning from mistakes    . Repeating mistakes    . Learning from repeated mistakes    . Peanut butter    . Chocolate    . Sweet Tea    . Birthday Cake    . Birthday Parties    . Birthday Balloons    . Barbies    . Matchbox cars    . Care bears    . Trolls    . Roller Skating    . Ice Skating    . Hoola Hooping    . Bike Racing    . Allowance    . Chores     . Fall weather    . Fall Leaves    . Pumpkin Patches    . Hay mazes    . Petting zoos    . Apple Cider    . Hot Cocoa    . Harvest Apples    . Strawberry Patches    . Summer Sun    . Swimming Pools    . Oceans    . Rivers    . Canoes    . Creek Rafting    . Acorns    . Snow    . Snowmen    . Snow-cream    . Snow angels    . Scavenger Hunts    . Bugs    . Raptor Center    . Christmas Stockings    . Christmas Communion    . New Years resolutions    . Second Chances    . Finding the one    . Agreeing on financial decisions    . Agreeing on parenting decisions    . Compromise    . Heart shaped chocolates    . Breakfast in bed    . Grilled cheese in bed    . Star gazing    . Deer grazing    . Face Painting    . High School Bands    . Opportunities    . The Sound of Rain on a metal roof    . The smell of Grandma’s perfume    . The sound of birds chirping    . Heart-ache    . Compassion    . Grace    . Mercy    . Mercy me concerts    . Third day concerts with the birthday song    . Waiting in line    . Anxiety    . Adrenaline    . Ressurection    . Finding Eggs    . The wonderful cross    . Blessed Assurance    . Victory in Jesus    . He lives    . Love Lifted Me    . Amazing Grace    . It is well    . Chocolate bunnies (solid!)    . Thin Mints    . Samoas    . Independence Day    . Fireworks    . Sparklers    . Back to school clothes    . Back to school shoes    . Teachers    . Education    . Reading    . Blue Like Jazz    . The Giver    . The Scarlett Letter    . Pride and Prejudice    . The Wizard of Oz    . Wicked    . Theater    . Romeo and Juliet    . The Count of Monte Cristo    . Elvis    . Franki Valli    . Patsy Cline    . The Beatles    . Johnny Cash    . Ebay    . Pinterest    . Amazon    . Mapquest    . Family Reunions    . Airplanes    . Baby shoes    . Hair Bows    . Baby Feet    . Baby ears    . Baby sneezes    . Baby Hiccups    . Recordable Books    . Skype    . Coming to get you    . Peek a boo    . Mail    . Bubbles    . Slides    . Swings    . Water Fountains    . Parks    . Grills    . Tickling    . Forgiveness    . Coloring    . Reward points    . Bargain Hunt    . Generosity    . Reading your list and realizing that you put Fall leaves twice, just like your mom would have    . Realizing that realizing that is something your dad would do    . Organization    . Friendly neighbors    . Imagination    . Homemade costumes    . Thank you, the words to express your gratitude when there aren’t any other words    . Flowers for no reason    . Flowers to say I’m sorry    . Flowers from a friend    . Flowers for a lost loved one, symbolic of their fleeting but beautiful life    . Remembering    . Forgetting    . Puppy breath    . Obedience training    . Adoption    . Little Red Wagons    . Cat ladies    . Screen doors    . Mini quads    . Upcycling    . Refurbishing    . Daddy’s train whistle    . Flying round and round    . Swinging all the way over the top    . Pillows    . Carpet    . Bug spray    . Sunscreen    . Walks in camp sibert    . Walks around HC    . Walks down the beach    . Walks down to the horsie    . Trying to walk the baby out    . Learning to walk    . Teaching how to walk    . Capturing it all in a video montage J    . Grandfather clocks    . Sams    . Gaarrrrfield    . Six Flags over Dallas    . Being “tall enough” to ride    . Pennies    . Stories told over and over    . Dining room wall paper projects    . Salsbury steak and rice    . Cornbread    . The Pyramids     The Peabody ducks    . Phones in bathrooms 😉    . Frozen Niagra Falls    . Frozen Great Lakes    . Branson    . Riding the ducks    . Caving    . Panning for gold    . Digging for diamonds    . Mazes    . St. Louis arch    . Heart shaped cookie cakes    . Tears    . Sleeping on the couch    . Sleeping on the waterbed    . Handmade quilts    . Handmade dolls    . Quilting circles    . Beanie babies    . Mcdonalds    . Sharing a Dr. Pepper    . Wheel of Fortune    . Larry Bird    . Leaving the tv on to save power    . The old house    . The Little Naked Boy    . The street lamp    . Grass knee high to a giraffe    . Neighbors workshops    . Coke on a windshield    . Being from Alabama the country    . Supporting Grandma no matter what crazy thing she says    . Seeing someone we know EVERY where we go even out of state    . Cracker Barrel    . Cracker Barrel across state lines    . Bedtime routines    . Diaries    . License Plate games    . Punch Bug    . Green Apple Jolly “rogers”    . Aldermans    . Good Lucky    . Chocolate dipped oreos    . Turtles    . Potato candy    . The candy maker    . The chifferobe    . The sewing machine    . Bright Red    . Sparkles    . Never having enough socks and underwear    . Toe nail polish    . Taco Bell    . Pizza Hut    . Washing dishes by hand    . Bench seats    . Ceramics    . The singer in the red dress on the boat    . The Foggy River Boys    . So much junk food you get sick    . Quartets    . Being ‘along for the ride’    . Having such good company you don’t need the radio    . Talking so long to the good company you run out of things to say and still don’t need the radio because your love is big enough to fill the silence    . The journey    . The destination    . Putting on your seat belt    . Getting an arm across your chest anyway    . Getting pulled over    . Talking your way out of a ticket    . Surgery    . Catheters    . Churches you feel at home in    . Churches that remind you that Christians can come in different forms    . Small Churches    .  Old Churches    . Church suppers    . Children’s church    . Children’s minute    . Praise bands    . Neighbors to ride to church with    . Neighbors who’ll fix your crappy deck build job    . Neighbors to camp with    . Neighbors with a work vehicle    . Neighbors who support your team even when they’re rivals    . Getting the gossip    . Sharing in ups    . Sharing in downs    . Strawberry cake    . Surprises on your doorstep    . Quiet students    . Challenging students    . Mature students    . The “aha” moment    . Seeing life applications to my lessons    . Seeing cross curriculum applications to my lessons    . Student art    . Thank you notes    . Lesson plans in advance    . Lesson plans on the fly    . Classroom technology    . Teachers who are an example to me    . Teachers who are an example of what not to be    . Teachers who help me get my feet wet    . Teachers who use my ideas    . Dr. Hogan    . Coach Harmon    . Coach Edge    . Mrs. Walden    . Mrs. Jones     Mrs Bowen    . Mr. Payne    . Andy    . Mr. Harrell    . Dr Harrell     Julie     Mrs. D     Mrs. Yancey     People who try new things     People who inspire    . People who are passionate    . People who are kind    . People who are full of Christ    . People who don’t settle     People who work hard    . People who don’t give up    . People who are sarcastic    . People who laugh at my humor    . People who create    . People who learn    . People who learn from their mistakes    . People who apologize    . People who are sincere    . People who are grateful    . People who are intense    . People who are driven    . People who are ambitious    . People who share    . People who wonder    . People who day dream    . People who are morning people     People who are night owls     People who serve     People who sacrifice     People who workout     People who don’t smoke     People who dress up     inventions     Ideas     Dreaming     Planning     Faith from friends and family    . Surprise flower gardens     Gifts in hidden places     The romantic camera lens     Unconditional support     Real chopsticks     Embarrassing birthday moments     The Shakespeare curfew     Family Photo sessions     Themed Christmas trees     Opening one present at a time     Wrapping EVERYTHING individually    . Carving pumpkins     Hunting eggs    . Tennis matches with special rules     The air traffic control tower     Lunch on the base lake    . Welcoming home a troop    . Maj. Fehrman    . Maj. Main    . Maj. Reiter    . Maj. Roach    . Maj. Carlson    . Private Main    . Capt. Holt    . Gen. Lorenz    . Gen. Crowell    . All the many other men and women who sacrifice to serve our country    . First pregnancy test    . Second pregnancy test just to be sure    . Celebrating at home alone     Being “promoted” to mommy    . Auburn games at Jordan Hare    . Toomers Corner    . Lemonade    . SOS class parties    . Cricuts    . The home shopping network    . Late arriving gifts    . Sushi    . Gifts mom lost    . Great roomies    . Graffiti Boards    . Late night/early morning meteor showers     Twister     Backwards Trick or Treating     Smoke Detectors     Illegal s’mores roasting     Ex-boyfriend cleansing    . Stables studio    . Dark rooms    . Art studios    . The summer cleaning staff    . Melted Ice Cream    . Fellow Miss Huntingdon contestants    . SGA    . LAS    . Rhetoric    . Mega slip n slide    . Intramural Basketball    . Intramural flag football    . Flags in a knot when we played the boys    . Walk of Honor    . Lazy days on the green    . Bid Day    . Initiation    . Big Sisters    . New Member Educators    . Personnel Chairs    . The whole Chi O leadership team    . The Chi O Advisers    . Eleusinian Tea    . Recruitment    . Delchamps points    . Tailgating    . Dunking booth    . IMing someone in the same room    . The NON pedestrian friendly campus    . Security    . Love sucks parties    . Roller skating parties    . Sisterhood retreats    . Camo Parties    .   s prom parties    . Formals    . Friends who force you to the pri med when your migraines are totally out of control    . Friends who wake you up after    hours of demoral induced sleep so you don’t miss your Senior semi formal    . Taco night    .  Roomies who tell you when you stink even when it makes you cry    .    Love!    . The ORIGINAL facebook    . Power outages    . Ridiculous loudness    . Communications CRUISE!    . Dr. Dilley’s cat    . Friends closets to borrow from    . Barbie dress up by Lauren    . Friends who are the only mirror you need    . Carolyn’s big b’day bashes    . Enya at the top of our lungs    . Karaoke    . Bumper Bowling    . Crazy AUM stalkers    . Crazy HS Stalkers    . Those who love you enough to let you go    . Those who don’t and hold on too tight    . Feeling empowered and taking action    . My Mr. Huntingdon contestants    . My Mr. Huntingdon volunteers    . HC Underground    . Laura’s ping pong skills    . Laura’s snake skills    . New Years at Laura’s    . Weekends with the Blaisings    . Mama Lee fetching my passport    . London     !    . Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad day    . Lunch and learn    . Roman bath    . Mr. and Mrs. Williams    . Work study    . Doing more work than study    . Admissions    . Huntingdon Hosts    . Shelby and Jackson    . FOSL    . The marina, shady as it is    . Nerd Party    . Color coordinated everything    . Fixing Adrienne’s closet    . Bridesmaids    . Plaid shorts    . The Big Green Waterslide    . Seeing my daughter experience everything for the first time    . Minnie Mouse    . Step stools    . Car washes    . Birds chirping    . Deer crossing    . Deer Corn    . Horses    . Cows    . Recommendations    . Carseat Backpacks    . People who believe you no matter how crazy it sounds    . People who know you so well they don’t believe the negative things others say about you    . Optimism    . Cactus plants that survive without aid    . Impatients that survive without sun to bring a little color to the woods    . Friends who stay friends even across the big pond    . The monkey that took our bag     Hop flights     Getting lost together     Peas in Gibraltar    . Plaza D’Espana    . Smallness of the world    . Largeness of the world    .Early rising of the moon    . Pink in the sky of a sunrise    . Melting orange sunsets    . The magic of Santa     The true meaning of Christmas    . Joy of the sparkling trees at home depot    . Dance class    . New tights    . First time hearing tap shoes    . Seeds     Buds     Blooms     Shells that “mommy will like”    . Keeping them all, even the broken ones    . Being a flight married to a fight    . Morning snuggles    . Elizabeths face upon seeing me after I’ve been gone a while    . Squirrels    . Feeding the chickens    . Gathering eggs from the coop    . Mentors    . Warm syrup    . Butterflies flitting by    . Wishing on stars    . Waking to hear the sound of rain, rising to discover is just the ocean crashing peacefully by    . Doctors who listen    . Doctors who dont give up    . Being accepted    . Finding a home church    .Good travel companions     .Veggie tales


I Believe in the Mission of Motherhood

Sometimes I see those great mothers on Pinterest who do EVERYTHING and I think….

“Hmm, maybe I should have them do some stuff for me!”


You know what I’m talking about, the Stepford-esque ones with the great hair and the trendy clothes in the pristine homes with the infant on the boob wearing the dress she just smocked and the toddler with the organic bento box lunch wearing the just right outfit for her preschool program for which 200 whole grain acai berry muffins are baking away to be hot and ready just in time to be early to get a good seat so she can capture the blissful scene on video to share with the world on Facebook. Phew, I’m not sure about you but I’m tired just reading that. There is good news though; I’m convinced theses women do not exist. Sure, SOME days are great and we’ve got it all together, but other days just crumble to pieces. Praise the Lord; most days are in the middle.

Let’s give ourselves a break this New Year, let’s resolve to get down to the real mission of motherhood. Once we’ve found it, let’s focus on that and not on comparing, competing, and judging each other.

At this point, our children are much too young for us to estimate their destiny. Any one of us could have a child who may hold a seat in Congress determining the direction our country will take. What would help them better in that career a crocheted Halloween costume and made from scratch brownies for class or time spent with a parent who demonstrated concepts like respect, honesty, and love? What would better prepare a future astronaut; lavish birthday parties or someone who fosters a passion for reading and exploring?  Perhaps the undivided attention and superfluous applause following your child’s performance of a nonsensical song will be the trigger for the next great composer. Who knows, maybe one more band aid on a fictitious boo boo will mold a child’s heart towards practicing medicine. There is no greater or more fulfilling calling than that of motherhood, every single day we shape eternity for better or for worse. What lasting imprint are we leaving?

Let us be sure not to miss out on the overarching mission; the one where we are a mirror. We are the first reflection of God that our children see. If our only legacy in rearing them is that they stand before Him in awe then we have been a success. He is not just the provider of the meals we ask Him to bless but the creator Himself! Let us endeavor to show our children just what He means to us.



Eternal Hope.

I’m resolved, are you?

I Believe in the Sanctity of Human Life

Reflecting on this last month is difficult. My daughter’s friend lost his life in a car accident before experiencing adulthood. A fellow mother had a 20 week old heartbeat that stopped inside her womb. My husband’s JROTC cadet passed away from a sinus infection spreading to his brain. Life is so precious and fragile.

If it were the “odds” that decided everything my husband wouldn’t have survived his heart attack and my daughter would never have been conceived. Yet they are both here.

I am here.

You are here.

What will we do with our today, for we are not promised our tomorrow.

I Believe in Education

I can almost picture myself now….three years old, fingers clenched to a desk, red faced, and shouting, “ME SCHOOL TOO!” All of this in reaction to my mother’s prompting that it was time to leave my older brother’s pre-school class as the parent/teacher conference had come to a close. It was just a puzzle I was putting together but it was important business I was sure. Every afternoon my parents oo’d and ah’d over my brother’s most recent coloring page or worksheet, the best of which were displayed proudly on the refrigerator. Enough of the limelight had been taken; it was MY turn to learn!

This was the attitude of competition that carried me through my elementary and middle school years. Each report card was another opportunity to impress and defeat that older brother of mine. I loved opening up those yellow envelopes every six weeks and hearing from him that the teachers “must be getting easier in their aging years.” Looking back I’m happy that the intrinsic motivation to surpass my brother was there pushing me to do better and learn more each day. However, it had its ups and downs.

I can still remember the first test question I ever missed. It was fourth grade, Mrs. Taylor’s science class. The question asked was “What is the safest method for cleaning out your ears?” It was even multiple choice! I only remember two of the options, the one I chose, “q-tips” and the correct one, “wash cloth.” How could my mom have been wrong all those years?!?!

Worse yet was my reaction to my first ever “B.” I walked to the front of the school bawling my eyes out, several people checked on me probably assuming I was near death. My mother came in to pick me up and wasted several minutes just trying to figure out what the fuss was all about. I was certain she’d never forgive me, but she took me in her arms, drove me home, and assured me I could “bring it up before report cards come out.”

By the time high school rolled around it wasn’t enough to have all A’s, at this point anything below a 95 was considered “almost a B” and begged the question “what’s happening in that class?” I set myself up on the proverbial pedestal and HAD to ensure I was not dethroned. After all, college was just around the corner and no barely A-average student is going to survive out there! I never quite grew accustomed to the look on my parents’ faces when the inevitable B would sneak in on a math test. Math had always been my worst subject, the thorn in the side of my educational bliss.

Then came the day, THE day I tell you. After 18 years of living in the exact same room, after studying each night on the exact same dining room table, it was time. Time for me to fly away from the nest and see if my college experience would be anything like what they prepared me for. I had decided on Huntingdon College as the place for me and planned to double major in Psychology and Education. After all, I had to keep up my “ambitious one” act. I moved in, waved goodbye to my family and started the business of making friends. Life was good. Then came the day the music died, the education program was cancelled and I was stuck with a Psychology only major or the dreary thought of trying to transfer away from my new home.

I stuck it out…so there I was….a graduate. Now what? I floundered around in a few jobs that were ok, but not a permanent fit for me. Then came my wonderful husband who encouraged me to pursue my passion, go back to school and get that education degree I wanted so I could come alive in a job I loved instead of working to pay the bills. When we went about the business of applying to Auburn Montgomery we were told there was no way I would complete the program before we were set to move (that’s military life for ya), I needed too many pre-requisites since my undergraduate degree wasn’t in Education and I’d only taken 1 (not 4) math courses (there’s that darn thorn again!). We simply told them they didn’t know who they were dealing with, and pressed on. I took courses from three different colleges that summer to make up the slack (no one university would allow me to take more than one math course at a time) and was ready to start that Fall with only one undergraduate pre-req to go.

I was in my glory; graduate school was everything I’d hoped for and more. I soaked up so much knowledge and really felt like it was applicable in life. I’ll have to explain the reasoning for the timing some other occasion as this post is getting lengthy, but, suffice it to say, it was time for Will and I to grow our family plus one! I was partially through my last semester of coursework and can’t begin to count the number of lectures I walked out of to relieve my pregnant nausea and return back, I had that looming move in the back of my mind the whole time. It was tough, but nothing would stop me now. There was only one thing between me and graduation, internship, a semester long proving of one’s abilities. I can’t even begin to describe how much I learned during this time, so I won’t try I’ll just say as my giant belly was expanding daily, so was my brain! It wasn’t always roses here either, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Graduation was scheduled on my due date, I figured I didn’t need the ceremony, it was the experience and that silly piece of paper I was after… our little one stuck it out with me (and two more weeks after that!)

So that’s it, that’s my journey through becoming educated. I wouldn’t change it one bit. When the time is right for me to be back in the classroom, I hope to inspire others to pursue their passions through some form of education too. The path may be different but it’s the journey that matters!

I Believe in Great Expectations

The radio disc jockey declares, Donald Trump is announcing a great grandson… can you imagine if that was YOUR grandfather? Man he should be expecting some amazing gifts!

Since when has our society sunk to this level of expectation? Generosity is an incredible thing and I would hope that I would be considered a generous person. Yet, I can’t wrap my mind around the idea that I should expect to get something from someone simply because they have more than me.

Perhaps what Donald Trump’s grandson SHOULD expect is to get a lesson from a man who is successful in business; to be taught what it is to put in hard work and reap its rewards. What will truly benefit the grandson more, a bundle of Christmas gifts under the tree and birthday parties that resemble rock concerts… or a lifetime of knowledge stemming from years of experience passed on?

So the big question is; if I won’t accept the expectations of the world around me, what do I expect?

 I expect people to do their part.

I expect to be treated with consideration and respect.

I expect integrity.

I expect forgiveness.

I expect mistakes, and I expect lessons to be learned from them.

I expect you to expect the same things from me.

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