First of all, thank you to all of you who continued to come back and check to see if I had written anything. I took some time away from the blog to focus on student teaching and graduating. Well guess what?!
Yep, that's right! I GRADUATED! I walked across that stage without tripping, shook the hand of the president, and was handed my "diploma" (it was mailed to me). It was such a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and success! Ever since, I have been getting all my documents ready for applying for subbing jobs, actually applying, and filling out the tedious documents to complete the process and be added to the list. I have one last thing I have to do before I can turn these in and that would be going to get my physical. I have not been to the doctor for this kind of appointment in several years, and let's be honest, I'm not a fan! I think because I never went to the doctor when I was younger, it added to my anxiety when I did have to go. But oh well, I have to go to pursue my dream and tomorrow is the day to get it done (I went today in this blistery cold but we were told the wrong day go figure).

I hope I'm doing okay with this post... it has clearly been a while since I've written, so I hope I still know how to do this. :)

I thought about what I was going to write in this post for a few days now, putting it off until I had an idea, but at this moment I still don't have a clear idea. I thought about giving a recap about my time away, but I really didn't capture much of it with pictures, so that would be boring. Then I thought about doing a resolutions post like I did last year (and like a lot of other bloggers out there). I liked this idea but I just had a twist on this idea occur in my brain. (LIKE JUST NOW!)
Over the course of the next several posts, I will write on a theme: CHANGE. I will share about how my life has changed these past few months and how I see change occurring now and in the near future. The second two-thirds of that statement will include my resolutions. This year I focused on two main areas of my life: being proactive and enjoying/embracing life. Here is the tentative outline of topics I will cover in this series of posts.

  • My faith - changing churches
  • Joining community group
  • Enjoying and embracing life
  •         Cross things off my bucket list
  •         Spending more time with the ones I love
  •         Building my relationship with God
  •         Being active and healthy
  •         Living within my means
  •         Minimalizing life (this may be broken down into several posts as well)
  •         Stepping away from society and technology
  •         Appreciating the little things
  •         Not getting worked up so easily and not worrying
  • Looking for full-time jobs and doing substitute work
  • Deciding where to go after May

Today, I will talk about being proactive. This is a concept I picked up from the Leader in Me and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People books written by Stephen Covey. I have been to several workshops surrounding these books as many lower-level schools in the area are based on these concepts; I also plan to read these books this year. The first habit of the seven is to be proactive. This means not sitting back and just wishing for things to happen. This means putting effort forth and making things work for you. I can see this already taking place with applying for substitute teaching positions and calling school districts, making appointments, etc. This will need to be in full force these next few months as my life holds several changes all at once. Anyone have any tips on STAYING proactive?
Hey everyone! I just realized how long it has been since I had written a post. I promise I'm still alive and well! I've been taking my focus and putting it all into my student teaching experience, balancing it with my life, and enjoying every moment! I have had so many things going on in my life this semester and will share an overview with all of you soon, so be patient with me and my crazy life. But, thank you to all your readers who are still sticking around and checking for new posts :)
I'm so happy that tomorrow is Friday! Not that I had a bad week, just that it seems to be going a little slow.
This is my first time doing a Thursday Thoughts post, which I got the inspiration from Ashley's blog, one I've been reading for some time now.

1. I am definitely looking forward to the weekend. Not only for the events that are going to happen but because this heat wave will finally be taking a break!
2. Where did the summer go?! I have less than a month until I start student teaching. I'm really excited, but I feel like I have so much on my to-do lists to still cross off (yes, I said LISTS)
3. Speaking of lists, as much as I love them, I believe I have gone a little overboard. I think I have at least 10 different lists, but a few of them are overlapping in the content area.
4. I just started using Bloglovin' to read all of my blogs and it is great! I can see all in one spot which blogs have unread posts and which don't. Plus, it is easy to use!
5. I've been wanting to make some kind of homemade treat, but with the heat (mentioned in #1) the oven is not a friend. Found this out when I made homemade fries the other day (for the first time I might add... and they turned out really good!)

6. As I was cooking earlier, I was thinking how great it would be to have a Trader Joe's closer to town OR if they started an online market!!!
7. As I'm thinking about the future, I'm realizing that if we moved to apartment living I will probably need to downsize some of the things I have accumulated. Hmm...
8. I'm so excited to see Keith Urban on Saturday! I just love his music, and he's Australian! :) I'm just not sure what to wear!?
9. As a Disney lover, this article really blew my mind and actually made a lot of sense. If you like Disney/Pixar, you should check it out!
10. I can't really think of a #10 ;)

Do you have any exciting weekend plans?
Any suggestions for a homemade treat that won't make my house unbearable?
Do you love Trader Joe's, or where is your favorite little store?
Well yesterday marked the end of the Lenten season, which means Facebook, Pinterest, and the blogs I read were available to me again! Because the school I was at all week did not have class Friday since it was Good Friday, I was able to come home a day early (I will go into more detail about my week on tomorrow's post). And since I only have one class on Fridays and don't work, I decided to make it a relaxing day. So I spent quite a bit of time catching up on Facebook, answering messages and cruising through the news feed. I also got back on Pinterest and kind of went pin crazy (this craze continued into today lol). I'll share some of my new finds at the end of the post.
These past couple days I realized how much time I spent and could spend on these sites. I also caught up on the blogs I read. On one of the posts I read, they mentioned the blogs that they read and were inspired to start their own blog. I think I might do one of those posts in the future! What do you think?
It was a great experience to step away from all the hustle and bustle of social media and think about how much time I spend with it. I think I will start limiting how much I get on and take that extra time for free reading or God time.
So as I said before, here are a few new things I've found on Pinterest!
At certain price points, it compares what you can buy from fast food/snacky stuff with what you can buy that is healthy. Really eye opening because it always feels that healthy is too expensive!
I've been wanting to get a new TV console... maybe this is the way to go!
I had a cute pair of white ones that got kind of ruined when I was in Greece, so hopefully this will revive them.
I'm trying to decide whether I want to do a Pinterest Friday post every week or if I want to switch it out for a Fashion Friday post and do an occasional Pinterest post. What do you think? Any suggestions?
So what is next on my challenge list? I've decided that I am going to give up fast food for the month of April and limit pizza to only once a week, if that. I even got Cody to do the no fast food with me. The only exception for us in this challenge is getting subs from either Subway or Jimmy Johns.
How are everyone's resolutions going so far? Already a quarter of the way through the year... how crazy is that?

Always looking for new ideas to talk about! Do you have any suggestions or requests for things to discuss in my posts?
Have a great Easter!!

Hey everyone! Sorry it's been a while since I last posted. It's been a crazy week and a half! I created my first lesson plan of the semester, which I will share about later this week.
I wanted to update you on the challenges I have been partaking in during this past month.
Well, tomorrow marks the last day of my February sugar challenge. Let me tell you... it has not been easy. Having such a big sweet tooth made this challenge harder. Plus, I received chocolates for Valentine's Day and when we went grocery shopping Cody wanted some sweet snacky foods like cookies and cream pies. I won't lie, I did give in to my sweet tooth sometimes. However, I have realized that I have been more conscientious about the sweets I'm eating and have not been eating large amounts. When I finished up grocery shopping last week, I made sure to get more fruit, yogurt, and some snacks like flavored mini rice cakes. I plan to continue to tackle my sweet tooth and limit how much I intake.
As for my Lent challenge, I am doing really well! I have not logged in to Facebook or Pinterest since this challenge started two weeks ago. I have not read any blogs either. For Facebook, I couldn't figure out how to take the notifications off my phone, so whenever I get one sent to my phone I just clear it away and don't think about it. Now, don't get me wrong. There are times when I want to get on and check things, especially when I find out a friend of mine just got engaged and I want to tell her congratulations. Yesterday was kind of hard because I was at work with no tasks and little homework and wanted something to do, but I did not give in. I know that this challenge is helping in the long-run. It has helped me realize how much time I spend on these sites and how much I truly don't need to rely on it.
For March, I will continue my Lent challenge as the Lenten season does not end until March 29th. I also hope to read another free reading book to share with you all and give a book review. If you would like, I can share the title with you before I begin reading and you can read with me and comment on the book review.

How are your resolutions going?

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. I mentioned in my Challenges post that I would be completing a Lent challenge. Social media is at the center of many people's lives. I feel it has become too prominent and time could be spent in other aspects of life, such as free reading, following the news, spending quality time with family and friends, and just not using it to procrastinate any longer. It's time to take a step back from all these social media and e
This challenge involves no Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter (if I used my account), and blog reading. The exceptions are my email and updating my blog to share with all of you the journey through these 40 days.
In the mornings when I would normally get on Facebook and Pinterest, I plan to take that time and open up my Bible. This was a challenge I haven't been good at so far this year, but hopefully this Lent challenge will help me with that.
What social media sites do you use?
Do you feel you spend a lot of time on sites like Facebook? Not much at all?
Are you giving anything up for Lent, or even adding something to your day?
It's me again!! Yesterday, I told you I would be sharing my plan for this blog for the 2013 year. This year's theme is to challenge myself and see how I learn from each situation. My hope is that I will continue to grow as a person through these challenges.

Now, normally when the new year begins people create a list of resolutions to complete by the end of that year. However, it seems that it works for a while but the momentum wears off. I read something a few weeks ago that talked about making that list, but instead of making them year-long, create monthly goals that, if successful, can be continued.

So this is my plan: each month I will share my journey through a new challenge, my thoughts and feelings, my success and failure, and what I had learned from the challenge (since that is what this blog is all about!). Here are the challenges I have chosen (more may be added) to share with you all! :)

  • Build a stronger relationship with Christ. One way I plan to do this is by reading the Bible every morning! Just taking 15-20 every morning and starting my day out with Christ I feel will jump start my mood and make the day that much greater! This is one of my resolutions that is not a month trial - this is a year-long challenge that I will share about. Hopefully, this will help me reach my long-term goal on my bucket list of reading the entire Bible :)
  • I have such a huge sweet tooth, so this next challenge might be a tough one for me. For one month, I will be cutting out excess sugar/sweet treats! AHHH!!! Because I know from research that if you cut out such a big temptation completely for a long time, the urge to eat it increases and can lead to binging. So after the first month, I probably won't keep it completely cut out but will limit the intake to less. This challenge will have specific instructions that I will share once that month comes.
  • Due to our crazy busy life, Cody and I sometimes resort to eating out at fast food restaurants or more pizza than is recommended. So, another month will consist of me cutting out all fast food and pizza!! (When it comes down to it, I might do these two separately but I haven't decided that yet.) I'm not sure how I will get Cody to completely go along with this but I will propose it to him ;) I have already helped myself prepare for this month but making a list of easy-to-prepare meals, something I can turn to after a crazy day and I need something quick and simple.
  • Every year for Lent, I try to give something up and commit my struggles with God. This year is no different. This year's challenge for Lent that might be the most difficult yet because I've chosen to give up all social media!! Because of my generation's attachment to social media (myself included) this may take lots of prayer! The only exception to this challenge is my blog because I wanted to continue to share its impact with you all. This challenge may also overlap another because Lent is 40 days long.
  • Last semester I wanted to read a book every month that wasn't for a class, but I didn't even pick one up until Christmas break started. So, I've decided that this year I wanted to make it part of my plan. Not to strain myself with time, I decided that I would read at least one book every other month and do a review of the book (without giving anything away) for everyone to hear! I love to free read, but it just seems like I can never find a time. Cody and I have decided to pick up again reading before we go to sleep every night :)
  • This next challenge was something I worked on last semester but I sort of fell out of habit midway through. For a month (and hopefully beyond), I will dress in a nice, sophisticated manner. This means no t-shirts or sweats (except at home). As a college student, this can be a task because it is convenient to just grab a t-shirt and throw it on with a pair of jeans. I want to get into the groove of dressing nicely for when I start my teaching career and have to look professional all the time. Plus, I read on a blog that even professors may make an opinion about a student by how they dress in certain situations.
  • My last resolution challenge I am including is a typical one that people make. Once a month, I will give you an update of Cody's and my plan of exercise and healthy eating. We were doing really well with this last year until spring break come along and our routine got off track. We have already starting picking back up and we can tell we've been off track for too long because soreness has consumed our bodies... but we know soreness means our muscles are working! (At least this means we still have some haha!) My goals for this part of the plan is to gain strength and endurance, burn body fat, and build confidence in the gym setting.

In addition to these challenge updates, I will continue to do my Pinterest Friday posts, share any DIY projects I complete or recipes I try, and share any special events that go on in my life. This semester I will also be more involved with teaching and education courses, so I will be including my experiences with that as well :)

What do you think of my plan? Do you have any resolutions this year? Have any advice?
I would love to hear from you all! :)