Growing, Changing, Improving

Lifestyle

Something that has been a huge relief to me in my professional life is the realization that humans always have the ability to improve and grow. It’s like we never truly have a limit to improvement. At first, I didn’t realize this, and I quickly grew overwhelmed with my job.

I am a high school English teacher. When I first started in the field I thought that meant I would be teaching students to love reading and writing. It turns out that would be way too easy. My first year of teaching I quickly found more and more responsibilities being thrown on me. You have a kid who sucks at organization? Well, guess what, now you’re in charge of keeping his materials for him! That’s right, now you don’t only need to keep your things organized but also multiple students who can’t stay organized for themselves.

That’s just one example. And maybe that doesn’t sound too difficult, but I have around 150 students per day. I already have a lot to organize and keep track of. At one point in my career, it seemed almost impossible to think I’d also be able to manage personally keeping track of a bunch of kids’ work and materials for them. Now, somehow, I do it easily without even thinking about it. Currently, I’m in my fourth year of teaching, and it seems every year there are new things that I think, “There’s no way I can do this. It’s just too much.” But by the start of the next school year, I’m always seamlessly doing those very things that the year before I thought were impossible to master.

Part of me finds this reality comforting. To know I can always get better, that somehow there is always more capacity in my brain and body to take on more. It helps me from getting completely overwhelmed and shutting down. But I do think there is a dark side to this great human ability as well.

See, I am not the only person who realizes this cool ability that humans have. My boss realizes it, and so does my boss’s boss. And a lot of other people in positions of power too. My boss is a nice guy, but he also has a boss (and his boss is probably a nice guy too, but I don’t know for sure because I don’t know him), and bosses have a lot of pressure on them, just as much as us people lower on the totem pole do. That pressure all comes because the thing about most jobs and careers and our society in general is the push to be efficient as possible. To get the most out of what we have. And sometimes, wrongly, the people in charge start viewing the people below them as things. We become reduced down to an object; we are resources to be used and drained. At least this is how it feels in education.

Most days I feel tired. I feel like my bones are tired, like my soul is tired. I go home most nights with nothing left to give, but that doesn’t work because my job doesn’t stop when I walk out the doors of the school building. I still have parents to contact, emails to respond to, papers to grade, classes to prepare for, and more. The 90 minutes I get to do these things in a school day are never enough.

Plus, I have a family; I have a husband and two dogs, and I think it’s wrong to go home everyday with nothing left to give to them. They are my whole heart. They deserve the most, and yet so often they get the least.

I’ve been trying to find ways to energize myself, so I don’t keep going home with nothing left. I know that there are no quick fixes, and I know that eventually something big will have to change, but for now it’s about maintaining and sustaining myself.

One small way I’ve been doing this is through taking pictures of all the small things that bring me joy throughout my week. I did not come up with this. I started doing it after someone I follow on Instagram shared the idea (I don’t remember who. If I did I would share the handle).

So today I leave you with these: Some of the things that have brought me happiness in these last few weeks.

img_1811.png

Breakfast food is definitely a love language of mine. I’ve been making this cinnamon roll coffee cake recipe for the last couple weeks and it’s the best part of every morning. It’s been an easy enough way to show myself some love.

img_1683.jpg

This blurry, sunny picture of Eric and Tallulah. These two have been there for me so much in these last two and a half years I can’t even begin to tell you it all in this small caption. They will forever be my heart.

IMG_1858

We got Clementine in part just because we wanted another dog, but we also got her because we wanted a friend for Tallulah. I also secretly (or not so secretly) wanted a dog who would cuddle endlessly with me. Tallulah likes her personal space and I can appreciate that. To my pleasant surprise Clementine loves to cuddle, and I’m actually her preferred cuddle buddy. Every day she curls up on my lap like this, I am just filled with radiating beams of contentment.

275CF5EF-9A15-4BD1-82F7-2E7709726AEC

This one worked in a couple of different ways. 1. Self-care in the form of giving myself time to do something as simple as use a skin mask, and 2. Try a new beauty product, which I love to do. This was so fun, and I enjoyed it so much. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I don’t make time for me to do it more often.

IMG_1867

And finally, my garden. It took forever to see anything bloom in my garden this year. The weather was not what the plants needed, and I saw so much of my hard work from the spring go to waste. It was discouraging to say the least. But this is the silver lining! See, I still have flowers in October! And even better, this past week, those flowers were covered in butterflies, because (get this!!!) it’s butterfly migration season. My time in my backyard has been extra beautiful lately.

Okay, that’s all I have for now, but let me tell you this simple trick works. Taking these photos and looking back on them really does remind me of all the wonderful things I’m constantly surrounded by and that in itself helps to re-energize me.

sign off

We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

Beauty, Home, Lifestyle

Wow, sorry I ducked out for a few months there. I was really embracing the whole “new year, new me” thing. But it’s not so much about being new – it’s more about being the truest version of myself. And wow, that’s difficult, because guess what? I’m kind of a people pleaser. I really didn’t realize that about myself until recently, because I’m not someone who spends a lot of time worrying about what others think of me.

It wasn’t until I took the Enneagram quiz and found out I was a type 3 with a 2 wing. When I read up about my “type” nothing was shocking (In fact, I felt very grounded in everything I read like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely me,” but what really stuck with me was the part that said in type 3s’ eyes, sometimes achieving (type 3s are often competitive and value being successful and achieving things) means succeeding at whatever their loved ones’ deem valuable, not what we deem valuable. And honestly, I think that’s been me for most of my life.

The great thing though, is that I do know a lot of things that I love, and now I’m just being sure to more actively pursue those things. I’m lucky that I have a lot of love and support in my life so it’s actually pretty exciting going forward. For instance, I love writing, and I’m going to keep doing just that right here. The crazy thing is that for the last few months I’ve been taking tons of pictures of everything around me for all these blog posts I was mentally planning. They just never made it out of my phone and head and onto an an electronic piece of paper (aka this post). I’m finally getting there so hang in there with me while I get myself caught up, and then let’s hope I can commit to some regularity going forward in 2019!

Another thing I’ve been exploring more? My love of flowers. About a year and a half ago, I started an instagram account for my love of flowers @rosemaryandribbon. I attended a few floral workshops and over the summer I used flowers from my own garden to practice even more. In January, I had the opportunity to have my floral designs in a couple of styled shoots.

839A8903

I made that bouquet. Ugh, it’s so pretty, it still gets to me. I’m willing to make flowers for you too! Just reach out to me via dm (on Instagram) or email (via my website). I’m really proud of my progress and I’m extra excited for my garden this summer (also, can’t wait for the spring weather to get here).

Also, I’m still working on my hydration. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me reference how I’m noticeably bad at staying hydrated while at work – to the point where a student commented on it. Well, for Christmas, Eric got me the water bottle of my dreams.

This is my bkr water bottle and I love it (it comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures!). It’s what my dream water bottle looks like. It’s glass, which means no weird plastic or metal taste in the water, and I can attach my lip balm on top, which if you know me, you know I have a penchant for skin care. In fact, I actually fell in love with bkr’s lip balm before I even knew they made water bottles.

See, Eric is perfect and in being perfect knows how to give me perfect gifts. For my birthday last year he got me a subscription to Allure’s beauty box (I’ve tried other similar boxes in the past and so far this has been my favorite). One month, bkr lip balm was included as a sample and it got me hooked. So when I used my sample gone, I went online to look for more, and that’s when I discovered that bkr makes water bottles and they can hold the lip balm bkr makes. When I showed Eric in excitement, he downplayed it and sneakily purchased it as a Christmas gift. And the best part is that it has helped me be better about keeping hydrated (both my body and my skin!).

Now students don’t comment on how little water I drink! Instead they comment on how cool my water bottle is!

sign off

The Time I Caught My Hair On Fire (Making Cards)

Home, Lifestyle

Wow, it’s already September. No, it’s already the end of September. I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone. Back in August, a Windows update crashed my computer. Eric and I took it to a professional to restore, but the guy couldn’t save any of my word files. I’m devastated to say the least. And no, I didn’t have them backed up. And yes, I’ve learned my lesson and will back things up from now on.

Regardless of what I’ve learned, this experience hurts. Years of writing have disappeared and this is a hard experience. What I’ve realized, though, is that life is full of hard experiences, and usually not not only does God allow me to learn through these experiences, but also He allows to find humor in them. I know it’ll be awhile until I can find something to laugh about through this experience, but until then, I’m going to share another experience that I learned to laugh about.

This story takes place in February of this year, just a handful of months ago. I decided that I really wanted to take the time to hand make and mail Galentine’s Day cards to all the ladies closest to me. Maintaining strong friendships in adulthood requires intentionality, and this is one thing I wanted to be thoughtful and intentional about.

February was also a rough month for me in general. I was fighting off a sinus infection that I had acquired in January, which had sent me to an urgent care one night and just wouldn’t seem to go away. I was also trying to find a balance between my personal life and my professional life (there are always more papers to grade). I felt like I never could get the things done that I most wanted to accomplish. This led to me staying up late one night, desperately trying to finish the cards in time to get them in the mail so they would arrive on Galentine’s Day.

My husband had fallen asleep on the couch. All of the cards were finished and dried. The envelopes were addressed and stamped. All I had left to do was to put the cards in the envelopes and seal them with a red wax stamp.

I practiced with the wax stamps before, but I was excited because this was the first time I had a real reason to use it. After finishing stuffing the cards into their rightful envelopes, I lit the wick in the wax. One at a time, I balanced the stick of wax over each envelope until a spattering of wax drops formed a nice circle. Then, I would press the stamp firmly into the hot wax, waiting a few moments for the wax to cool and take its shape as a seal.

The cards looked beautiful. I was proud of my effort and staying up late paid off. After I finished the last seal on the last card, I sat up and looked at my short wax stick. It was in my hand the whole time, but I only noticed now that the flame had overtaken the wick and had now started the actual wax on fire too.

Calmly, I attempted to gently blow out the flaming wax stick. But my gentle blow didn’t work and now a small panic was setting in. So I tried to keep it together and reasoned that I just needed to blow harder (I felt very much like the big bad wolf hunting down the three little pigs). This time, my attempt did in fact put out the fire on the wax stick, but it also sent little piles of flaming wax straight into my hair. I’m lucky that it was just the front band area of my hair. I’m lucky that the wax didn’t fly into our carpet or our curtains.

At this point,with my hair on fire, I needed to make a decision and make it quickly. First, I tried calling for my husband, but my panicked screams didn’t wake him. It’s probably good that he didn’t wake up. Can you imagine waking up to your significant other’s hair on fire?

Next, I thought about making a run for the kitchen or bathroom, where I could use a towel to pat out the fire or stick my head under the sink. However, I decided not to, afraid that moving would give the fire access to more oxygen, allowing it to grow bigger.

Now, as the smell of burnt hair filled the air, I only had one option left. I pulled sleeves of my sweatshirt down over my hands and started patting my head vigorously. Before long, I could no longer feel any heat. I got up and checked the damage in the mirror. I couldn’t tell where it had happened. My hair didn’t look any differently, but it did smell terribly. I washed my hair in the sink, managing to get most of the smell out.

Finally, I woke my husband. I told him what happened. His groggy eyes filled with shock. “Are you ok?” he asked. I was fine and I told him I was, but it was scary for a little while. The whole thing probably took seconds but it felt like half an hour. I apologized for the smell. Eric apologized for not waking up to my yells. No one was mad. We were both just glad that everyone was safe, it was over and we could both go to sleep.

That night it was scary, but even by the next morning I was starting to see the humor in the situation. Now, months later, I see it as pure comedy. I mean, I can literally picture Mindy Kaling doing the same thing in a movie scene. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the ability to find the humor in almost every situation, and now I’m just waiting to find it in the crashing of my computer.

sign off

Summer Is Ending, But The Summer Feeling Doesn’t Have To

Beauty, Home, Lifestyle, Style

It’s officially August, which means that summer is sizzling to its end. For some people, that means heading back to school. For others, it means ending their vacations, or it possibly means sending their kids back to school. For me, it means returning to school as an educator.

Like everyone else with a career, my summers aren’t spent free of work. I’ve spent a lot of time working on licensure and professional development opportunities. Regardless of my work this summer, these next couple months usher me into a period of constant work, as I prepare and begin this coming school year. One thing that I’ve learned from being a teacher is that it can be really hard to balance your time (I have no clue how so many of my coworkers and friends with kids handle it). And I know, that as true as this is for me, it is also true for others, especially as we leave the summer and it’s time of adventuring and relaxation.

Through my time as a teacher, I’ve learned to deeply value intentional “me” time, as well as surrounding myself with things that help me relax or bring about intentional relaxing practices. If I’m honest, often when I’m busy and stressed, I’m not in the mindset to find something that will help me relax. Or sometimes my husband sees that I’m stressed and wants to help me relax. Because of this, I’ve developed an Amazon wishlist. It’s an easy go-to, and I’m not the only one who thinks having a wishlist on hand is a good idea.

Today, I’m going to share a few items off my wishlist that I think you might enjoy, that might help you relax as well.

1. Meaningful Artwork

0320E656-DA00-4348-BD1A-1BE2FEF74ECD

My sister made this cute little pot for me and it’s just the best thing! Sorry, there’s no link for this one! But I truly believe that art (and in this case pottery) can bring people so much joy. I love looking at and it’s lovely aesthetics. Blues are my favorite, and this one means even more because my sister made it.

2. Ban.do Work It Out Water Bottle

2B0F2F19-B849-446A-AD4E-70730B827613.jpeg

I know I struggle to stay hydrated once I start working if I don’t actively carry a water bottle around with me. Real story: I had a few students last year who used to scold me for not drinking enough fluids. So I’m working on it, and the inspirational words will help me move forward in my goals (both about hydration and otherwise).

3. Cravings: Hungry For More, By Chrissy Tiegen

51t0h62bmwzl-_sx400_bo1204203200_

So Chrissy’s latest cookbook isn’t out yet, and it won’t be until September, but I have this on my preorder list because I know it’s going to be great. I already love cooking all of the recipes from her first book, and I’m not the only one who loves them! All my friends and family, who I cook for, love them too. Chrissy is the person who taught me to enjoy cooking, to not let it stress me out, and instead take my time and find pleasure in the process. That reason alone has made me a lifetime supporter of her cookbooks.

4. Farmacy Natural Facemasks

71us-yqvefl-_sl1500_

If you don’t know my love of skincare, then obviously you don’t know me and haven’t read much of my writing. Seriously, I’ve already blogged about how  important skincare is to me multiple times. But, I’m really eager to try this collection Farmacy facemasks. I love Farmacy as a brand. They use natural, clean ingredients, which is important to me. I also love that this selection includes soothing, brightening, and deep moisture (all things my skin will definitely need during the school year).

5. Be You Boxed Calendar

51zr41anm6l-_sx492_bo1204203200_

I’ve always loved quotes, and I have always felt inspired by other people’s words. A calendar like this would is a great addition to a work desk, something to find words of wisdom in every day.

6. IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

419qlljk7jl

I’m really bad about regularly styling my hair on a regular basis once I start my regular 7:30 to 3:30 hours. I got this hair product as a sample, and I instantly loved it. I have naturally wavy to curly hair patterns, and a great product like this can make the biggest difference when it comes to getting the most out of every minute in my morning.

 

So that’s it! If you want to check out my list, you can see the rest of it here. I hope that as your summer comes to an end, you find ways to milk every ounce of adventure and relaxation out of it, and even more, I hope that you can find a way to extend the spirit of summer throughout the rest of 2018!

 

sign off