The Case for Community

For many years I have prayed for a best friend. I have had many close friends over the years, but because I have issues of trust and struggle with relationships, I have always felt that I didn’t fully connect with many of my friends over the years.

In the last 6-10 months, God answered my prayers. But not in the way I would have imagined or planned for myself. I had the honor of becoming best friends with the wife of my husband’s best friend – but not in person, through text messaging about our husbands (LOL).

In addition, I met a few of my other besties online – through The Influence Network. Like me, they are women who seek to deepen a relationship with God and to make Him known in every area of their lives.

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{My crazy friends. Love them!}

Most of my close/best friends do not live near me. Several I have never met in person. Awkward? Maybe. But am I blessed? You have no idea.

These friends are women I trust with my life. My deepest secrets. They are people I can vent to, who build me up and correct me when I am wrong. Like I stated earlier, one of my best friends is married to my husband’s best friend. We share life together and are bound together by a calling so big it scares us and excited us both tremendously!

Why are intimate friendships & community necessary? I believe Hebrews 10 states it perfectly – that we are blessed when others come to us with a need. It blesses us. And it propels us towards good work, towards helping others for His glory.

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{Another gem from the She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah}

Getting into relationships like this is not apart of a magic formula. You cannot sit around and wait for people to come to you. You must be vulnerable, reach out and connect with others, whether online or in your local community.

Reach out online. Set up coffee dates with people from your church or from your workplace. It is awkward at first, but is so worth it in the end. It took me many years to get here – and it has taken work on my part. (And I am still a work in progress!)

And don’t be surprised if friendships change over the years. People grow and seasons change, and people may come into and out of your life. Be blessed in the now and thankful for friends past, present and those to come.

Do you struggle with building friendships? What are some ways you can reach out to build new/deeper relationships??

Be blessed,

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!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful day!

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is teacher appreciation week. As a teacher myself, I quite enjoy this week! It is a nice time where people from all over let teachers know how special they really are.

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So, if you think of it, thank a special teacher (or two, or three) who have made an impact in your life or in the lives of your children,. Nothing means more or boosts our spirits better than hearing how we have helped others.

The teachers that impacted my life were the ones who were supportive of me, and yet challenging to me. They were kind, funny, sarcastic and authentic. I knew they cared.

And that is what I hope to bring to the live of my students every day…that they know at least one person cares about them.

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Sidenote – You may also consider buying them a Starbucks gift-card. Just sayin’. 🙂

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #10

Hey all!

It has been another busy week in virtual teaching world. I am sure hoping it slows down some in the coming weeks so I can return to blogging on a more consistent basis! I am hoping to implement some of my organizational strategies to help me get on track with blogging!

For this worship wednesday, I wanted to share some Gungor music with you. I have been re-listening to some older Gungor music and I am just LOVING their lyrics and musical stylings. (It doesn’t hurt that they are a husband & wife team, which just tugs at my heart!) 🙂

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I hope you enjoy worshiping today with these songs – check out my post later this week on some of my favorite Bible reading plans/apps, too!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace….today and every day ahead.

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Gungor – Jesus and John

Gungor – Please Be My Strength

Gungor – Dry Bones

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,

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

Headshot edited 5

Shot #4

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

Blessings,

Recent Events

This week is going to be pretty busy for me at work. I was just given about 90 new students that I have to call, discuss things with and then activate into the course. Each call takes about 7-10 minutes, so….you do the math. 🙂

I am really enjoying it, however. The people I work with are amazing, supportive and uplifting. My students and parents have been gracious and friendly (so far). Every question I didn’t know the answer to, I was able to find out and get back to them within the day, keeping them happy.

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{Photo Credit: Caryn Recker}

As someone who hates being on the phone, I am not on the phone ALL THE TIME. And I know God is using this as a way to build up my communication skills. I feel this is necessary as I move into a role of church planting in the future. I have a difficult time communicating, especially with people I don’t know well or trust. I have felt an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment as I have moved forward into this new job. I know only God can do that, because I am massively uncomfortable talking on the phone, especially with people I do not know.

This week is going to be a big week – lots of phone calls, but also I have some great things upcoming:

  • Tuesday, I am getting some head-shots/photos taken by my good friend Adam. He lives in New Orleans and came home with his lovely wife to visit family, and agreed to do some shots for me. He recently opened his own design & production company. If you’re in the New Orleans area, check him out!
  • Wednesday, I get to go out to lunch with some co-workers who live in the Jacksonville area. Since we are virtual teachers, we most often work alone in our homes. FLVS teachers host get-togethers monthly so we can get out of the house and work together or just fellowship. I am looking forward to a great lunch and a nice time of meeting new co-workers!
  • Friday & Saturday my church is hosting a “Wounds that Heal” conference, led by Dr. Steve Seamands. He is going to be teaching about bringing our wounds, hurts and issues to the cross. If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area, please come out. It is free! 🙂
  • My husband has been after me to begin writing music with him. I have felt God speaking to me about faith and trust for some time. Please pray for me, that I might be open to God’s voice and write down what He has to say (and not force something to happen).

If you think of it, please lift me (and my family) up in prayer this week. It is a busy week, and I want to make sure I balance my work and family time appropriately.

Thank you all for your continued support and love. How might I pray for you?? Please feel free to e-mail me with prayer requests, even if they are unspoken.

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

richstevenson.org

investing in young leaders in missions and church planting

KevinBreeding

A Blog Site for Biblical Insight

k r i s t a o n p u r p o s e

living life intentionally

Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

girlofa1000dreams.wordpress.com/

One Girl. One Thousand Dreams. (And growing!)

Green Plate Rule

Making healthy meals simple and fun for the whole family.

be forever lovely

be forever lovely, upon on all whom you heed, for we together yearn, the peace within that's freed. :: b.l.f. lund

A Royal Daughter

A LITTLE HOPE + GRACE FOR KINGDOM MINDED LIVING

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

Modern Mrs. Darcy

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

erin lauray

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

Wholehearted Radiance

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

5OH Wifey

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.

Cassidy Robinson

a lifestyle blog

Message in a Mason Jar

Finding the Loveliest Things in the Most Ordinary Containers

takeitlikeamommy

Offering encouragement & authenticity to women through God's word & worship music.