When Waiting Sucks

Sometimes waiting just sucks.

We are in the middle of a lot of changes in our home. With my new job, our schedule has turned upside down…and it has been (at times) a rough adjustment for all of us. My husband has had to take on additional responsibilities while I work for a couple of hours in the afternoons when Eden is home from school. It certainly has not been easy.

In addition, we have been feeling/wading our way through another season of frustration in waiting for the next step. It seems to come in waves for us – periods of peace and trust in Gods timing and plan, and periods of frustration and feeling like we will never make it to step 2.

But the Word of God, my sweet brothers & sisters in Christ and worship music have all been a great blessing/comfort to me.

I posted this pic the other day on my instagram….it definitely shows me that our waiting period is for a purpose. “…waiting time is never wasted time.” MAN – God was pointing a finger right at me with that one!!!

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The She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah has had a profound impact on me. I think the book of Nehemiah is a preview of what is to come for my husband and I when we finally move to Arizona. It has blessed and encouraged me so much – and I am so thankful.

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And while I know in my head that everything will be alright – that God has a plan and is working it out as we speak. Sometimes waiting just plain old sucks – and I have to work through these seasons of frustration through Gods word and through prayer. I am reminded of a very important verse that gives me strength:

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I have to believe. God is good. Amen.

Blessings,

May Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I am sharing an awesome giveaway I am blessed to be apart of. My friend Kendall is hosting it on her blog, Songbirds & Buttons!

may group giveaway image

You can visit her blog or click the link below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful day!

Living in Acceptance

Many of us have experienced some sort of relationship breaking apart. For many, that may be a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence. But for me…well, you could say this is a “thorn in my flesh” kind-of a thing.

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What I mean is….abandonment & loss of relationship has been a running theme in my life. From losing relationships with precious & loved family members, to loss of friendships, to church friends and other friends de-friending me on facebook.…I have learned well what it means experience a loss of relationship. Some of these have been because I was in the wrong, some had nothing to do with me at all and others were from issues done to me.

Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud…” 2 Corinthians 12:7

But as I have aged, I have come into a place of acceptance of such things.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in therapy for some issues stemming from my parents divorce. One of the most profound things my therapist said to me at the beginning of my journey was, “You’re extremely angry now. But you must come to a place of acceptance in order to survive.” At the time I thought what she was saying was plain old ludicrous.

I mean….I was so mad that coming into acceptance of what was happening seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE task. But as I moved through the stages of loss and grief, I found my way into acceptance. Getting there was certainly a long journey, but living there? Another story altogether.

Living in acceptance means that you must daily forgive those who have wronged you, as well as yourself for those you have wronged.

Living in acceptance means you must fight the apathy and avoidance that seek to cut you off from authentic, vulnerable relationships.

Living in acceptance means you have to be willing to risk heartbreak and open yourself up to new relationships with others.

Living in acceptance means you must reject fear and embrace love.

I am not going to pretend that I get it right all the time. I honestly struggle with creating new friendships and relationships. I have been told by many people that I come off as cold, stand-offish and even bitchy when they first meet me (because of how nervous I get around people I don’t know and trust). I struggle with maintaining intimate relationships with those I love. I have a difficult time communicating how I really feel.

But God is faithful. He is using this time of acceptance as a means to grow me and use me for His glory. He is using my weaknesses as a means to bring others to Himself. And He is showing me it is okay to trust and rely on Him, and others.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am getting there.

Blessings,

Staying On Task

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I chaperoned prom (at the high school I used to teach at) this weekend and had  a blast! Here are some photos….

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{After I had my makeup all done.}

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{All dolled up!}

The Struggle….

One of the things I have been struggling with is time management & staying on task. My productivity for the first few weeks of my new job was terrible. I felt overwhelmed and, at the end of a long day, often felt like I wasn’t getting much done, though I felt like I had run a marathon! (It doesn’t help that since having a child four years ago, my brain cells er, memory has slowly diminished!)

One of the things my new employer encourages us to do is to develop a strict daily schedule. While that sounded really great in theory, I found myself “flying by the seat of my pants” most days and was paying for it. This past Friday, I put my plan into action. And to my surprise, I felt more productive and accomplished, and was quite successful in my daily tasks!

What are some things that you can do to make your life more productive, whether you’re a working from home momma, working outside the home momma or just someone looking to make their days more productive?

I want to share some of my favorite apps, items, etc. that have assisted me in becoming more task-oriented and less-stressed in my daily life.

Creating a Daily Schedule (and sticking to it!)

I find that creating a simple daily schedule on excel has really helped to keep me on task. I break it down by the hour and record EVERYTHING I plan to do that day. While we all know life happens sometimes (and that may mean I don’t hit EVERYTHING on my list every day), at least I have a plan and that helps me stay focused on the goals for each day.

Work Schedule

{A photo of my work schedule I created with Excel, since I work from home.}

Utilizing Apps/Websites

I utilize a TON of apps and websites to help me in my daily life. Many of them help with my diminished memory, but some do assist me in organization as well.

  • Outlook Calendar – I use this to track appointments, meetings and events. You can simply add an event on the date & time you need it, and set multiple reminders that will beep at you. If you use an iPhone, it can sync and beep at you on the go, too!
  • MailBox – This is the latest and greatest for email organization. It allows you to load multiple email addresses, organize emails into lists to save, and also lets you determine varying times for you to answer emails! Basically, it allows you to keep a de-cluttered email inbox which can lead to lower stress (in my opinion!). 🙂
  • Reminders App – I use this pre-loaded app on the iPhone for grocery shopping. It lets me add/create multiple lists, and when I have added each grocery item to my cart, I can check it off of my list. Then it disappears, which lets me know I have the item in my cart. You can use this app for MANY tasks, but it is definitely a favorite of mine when shopping.
  • Online Timer – when working from home, I use a timer to let me know when it is time to move to the next task. 🙂 There are plenty of free online timers online or on your smartphones!

One app/website I want to try – RescueTime:I just found out about this website on twitter. Its goal is to help diminish online digital distractions. I am interested to see how it works!

What are some things that make your day more productive? Feel free to share in the comments below! 🙂

Blessings,

A day in the life

Virtual Teaching intro

When I transitioned to teaching virtually a month ago, many began to come up to me and ask me what it is that I “do.”

Presumptively, many might think I sit around at my house all day in my PJs (OK – I admit, I do often spend my days in my yoga pants) and do nothing.

But truth be told – I am working harder than I have in a long time. But surprisingly, I feel LESS stressed than when I was teaching in the public school environment. Perhaps it is all of the support I get from the top (my principal) down (my peers). Maybe it is that I get to speak into the lives of individuals every day and (finally) have the time to focus on the one-on-one relationship building teaching brings.

Work Schedule

This is my weekly schedule. Every hour is planned to keep me focused and productive!

Virtual teaching involves more phone calling and interaction, grading papers, facilitating and less of a focus on lesson planning and classroom management. I spend most of my day helping students and parents and calling to check on new students. I do teach “live” a few times a month, for students’ required live collaboration lessons they must attend.

What is the best part of working from home?

The flexibility. I love that I can work on a schedule that isn’t bound by needing a substitute. I am able to be there more for my daughter during the day and can support her better. If she is sick, I can be there and still work effectively. If I want to attend an event at her school, I don’t have to rush out to my classroom. If I desire, I can travel to my mom’s house and still work, while spending time with family.

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Where I do most of my work – at my new desk! Thanks honey for getting it for me!

Do I miss the live, face-to-face interaction? Do I get bored? Am I lonely?

Truthfully – I do miss it some. I mostly miss the students I had to leave behind. But I am getting much more interaction and support working virtually.I am able to work and interact more with my colleagues in the virtual world than I ever did while I taught in the public school system. We communicate/chat on a daily basis and we are required to team and support each other. This fosters a sense of community and support, which I often felt was lacking in my previous job(s).

In order to be successful while working from home, you must be willing to stay to a strict schedule for yourself, and be flexible in meeting the needs of your students. One way I help stay out of a “rut” is by attending group get-togethers. Many virtual teachers live in my area and we meet weekly at Panera to work together. In addition, there is another group that meets monthly to go out to lunch. It is a nice way to fellowship and meet new co-workers (and see old friends!).

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What is a day in your life like?? Do you love what you do? What do you wish you could change?

Praying for you all today – thankful for you, too. 🙂

Blessings,

Influence Network Giveaway!!

I’m so thrilled to be co-hosting this amazing giveaway (worth $400!), for not just ONE, but TWO Influence Network LIFETIME Memberships! 

Influence-Network-Giveaway-Main

Finding and joining The Influence Network has changed my life.

In the Fall of 2012, I was teaching in the public school system and I was seriously down. I felt like my life wasn’t going anywhere. I felt lonely, like I had no friend who “got” me. And after the election, I felt as if Christians were using social media to deter the cause of Christ rather than further it.

When I found The Influence Network through using She Reads Truth devotionals, I felt like this was a God-thing. As a new(er) blogger, the network has offered me support, fellowship with other bloggers, and prayer. I have forged some amazing friendships with ladies who I would’ve never met had this network not been formed. As a lifetime member myself, the investment into a community of women who are working to use social media and the internet to further the kingdom of Christ is FAR and AWAY worth the money spent.

Giveaway Info:

What does a Lifetime Membership include? Well I’m glad you asked.

Please check HERE for all the details!

This giveaway is open to ANYONE, but ONE Membership will be specifically reserved for someone who is not an Influence Network Member. Our hope is that this giveaway will enable someone who wouldn’t otherwise have money in their budget, to be apart of The Influence Network.

To enter the giveaway, please visit the website here!

Blog Photos

I was so blessed to have some headshots/portraits taken of my by my good friend Adam at Indien Media on Monday. He is a young media guru, and just recently opened his own business. He did a great job. I asked him to take these shots so I could use them for my blog, business cards and other blogging “stuff.”

He even did a lovely writeup about me and my blog, which he featured when he shared the photos on his site. How kind! I have had the great pleasure of seeing him grow up over the years. He has cared for my baby. He is a wonderful friend and I am so blessed to know him. If you live in the New Orleans area, give him a shout-out sometime!

I would love to share some of my favorite shots with you. Which one(s) do you like the best? Which one(s) should I use on my business cards?

Shot #1

Headshot Edited 1

Shot #2

Headshot Edited 2

Shot #3

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Shot #4

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Let me know what y’all think – you can list your thoughts/opinions in the comments section. 🙂

Blessings,

Non-Blogging Passion

Today, I am participating in another Girl Behind the Blog!

Today’s Topic:

What is your non-blogging passion(s)? Why are some things you do not always share on the blog, but you are passionate about?

I hope you enjoy! Check out the other blogs participating by clicking the icon below! 🙂

Blessings,

5ohwifey

Rushing God’s Plan

My husband and I often get similar comments from folks when they find out that we have been called to church planting, especially since we were called way back in 2009 to Phoenix AZ. This is often what they say, “When are you leaving?” “Why are you still here?” “Do you think you jumped the gun a little bit?” and “I thought you guys were moving, what happened?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not angry at these folks. They are well-meaning. But I think our culture has bought into something that concerns me. Many people in our area who get into church planting immediately begin fundraising, get involved with an organization to sponsor them, and within a year or two they have launched a church. We have seen SEVERAL churches who have sprung up this way in our area. And perhaps this is why people keep questioning my husband and me.

Psalm 73 23 24

It becomes very difficult to explain to people that WE WOULD LOVE to be there in AZ. My husband and I both feel our hearts pulled to the area and we would absolutely love nothing more than to drop everything and get on out there and begin ministering to those lovely folks in Phoenix/Scottsdale.

However, we both sense God asking us to wait. One of the major issues holding us back is our financial situation, particularly the fact that our home is currently upside down in the mortgage. (That means that we owe more than what it currently appraises at, so we’d have to essentially file for foreclosure or a short-sale in order to get out of our house payment.)

It would be easy to walk away. I could quit paying my mortgage tomorrow and find myself able to move to AZ in a heartbeat. It would be so easy. But my husband has had many conversations/prayers with the Lord and he believes God wants us to be honorable in our finances. That means we have to keep working hard at being financially responsible and wait on the Lord to bring us to a place where we are ready to move. Maybe that is in a year. Maybe it’s in five years. I don’t honestly know WHEN it will be.

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{Photo Credit: @spolleys on Instagram}

I can predict. Give you an estimation. But ultimately I just don’t know. And the further along this path I go, I am more and more comfortable with that. It means I have to trust God. It means I cannot control this situation. It means that God has to lead me. It means I must have faith.

And I am okay with that.

I pray you are learning to trust God in your life. If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure when God is going to move or where God is going to lead you, it is okay. He has you in the palm of His hand.

Blessings,

God Is Up To Something…

Psalm 23

For those of you who read my blog, you may have noticed that I have been in and out lately. My new position as a virtual school teacher has kept me quite busy as I learn all new sorts of things and prepare to begin teaching new students at the end of this week. As I have been posting my day-to-day thoughts on facebook and twitter, I have been encouraged by some of my blogger friends to keep sharing what the Lord is teaching/showing me as I move through this process of transition.

The funny thing is, I feel like I have been in the process of change/transition for many years now. Ever since the call, my husband and I have been on a wonderful and scary journey with the Lord.

He has taught me so much about trust. About faith. About waiting on Him. And as I begin a new journey in my professional life, I once again find myself in a place of reliance on Him. Because honestly, I cannot do this new thing without His help and guidance.

The times where change is the toughest for me is when there is a large unknown factor….and that is when my phobia of the “fear of the unknown” often kicks into overdrive. As a teacher, this often occurs on the first day of school. Since I am beginning with a new group of students in an entirely new (to me) environment that is virtual school, if feels like the first day of school jitters times a million.

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Since I have had many experiences like this in the past, I know that I can trust God to carry me through. I will survive the first week or so of new students with difficult questions I may not be prepared to answer. I know He will guide me as a I learn new systems and will bring me into a place of holding onto His hand as I learn to form new relationships with colleagues, leadership, my students and their families.

The biggest goal I have for this new position is that I want a chance to be a light for Christ for my students and their families. I hope I can be someone they come to for help, not just for school issues but for other issues as well. I pray I am someone they can come to trust.

And most of all, I am believing that God will use this exciting (albeit complete scary right now) situation to further His kingdom and to bring me into a closer, deeper relationship with Him.

Thank you to those folks who have been thinking of me, lifting me up in prayer and for those who have encouraged me over these last few weeks. You are such a tremendous blessing to me. I can only pray my journey with Christ is an encouragement to you all. Keep pressing on into a deeper relationship with Him. He will use you. You are not alone. You are loved.

Blessings,

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