Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I publicly declare that...

This post is strictly dedicated to the goals I am setting for myself this month! I need to publicly post this so I can have you all hold me accountable! 

Whats the point of publicly posting your goals?

1) It holds yourself more accountable! How embarrassing is it to post a goal and then not even try to achieve it? It is so much easier to set goals in our minds or even write them down and keep them to ourselves because when we don't reach them, or even try to reach them, the only person who knows is ourself. I don't know about you, but I am way more apt to let myself down than to let my 22 blogging buddies. It is easy to come up with excuses in our minds that we were super busy, or the weather wasn't right, or that it was not your fault because ______. Publicly declaring your goals holds your more accountable to reach them!

2) Other people can hold you accountable! Now, I would refrain from blowing up my email on a daily basis in order to ensure I am reaching my goals, but a little kick in the butt is all I need sometimes! When I publicly declare my goals I have other people keeping track of my success or failure. This makes me want to reach my goals because I am not only doing it for myself, but for others as well! 

3) Feedback! It is so awesome receiving feedback about goals you are trying to reach. Words of encouragement are the best  way to stay motivated to reach your goal. I love receiving comments via Facebook or blog world that encourage me to keep going or that compliment my success. Words are motivating and inspiring and if someone out there is noticing your accomplishments, it makes it that much easier to go out and reach them.

4) Be specific! Don't just tell me you want to loose weight or stop spending money. How much do you want to loose, or what are you trying to save? The mores specific the more tangible since you have an exact goal you are reaching. It leaves little room for excuses!  

So what are my goals this month?
1) STOP SPENDING! I have been reading some great blogs lately about saving money and budgeting. Particularly Erin's post about her and her husbands goal to become debt free. So what is my specific goal? This month I am not working so I have no income coming in. My goal is to only spend $100 on school supplies and gas. To be honest, I barely have $100 but this means No Clothes, no Starbucks (ahhh!), and no going out to eat or the bar! 

2) Loose 3 lbs. I know thats a weird number but I have really slacked on my marathon training in July. So I will publicly declare I will be doing 1 month of the insanity work out to get my booty back in shape for training! 

3) Lesson Plan: I need to get my lessons together for the upcoming school year! Although I made great progress yesterday, I need to make sure I am fully prepared to enter the building August 27th for Professional Development days. 

Although I do not have many goals this month, I will accomplish all of them! (At least I will try) Join me on the goal setting adventure! 

What are your goals for August? Grab a button and Link up! 

Erica Ashley

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Power of Prayer

I had a different post ready to go for the day, something I have been struggling a little bit with in my life. I will post about that later because today my family received the best news ever! 

Background to this story: For those of you who don't know I have been in college for over 5 years now. I know, crazy. And for those of you who don't know I was 3 months from graduating in Pre-law when I felt God calling me to be a teacher. So I made the switch, stayed in school, and have never been more happy in my life. God is so amazing! However, part of my continuing my education was to move back in with my parents after living on my own for 4 years. 

My parents were so great about allowing me to live in their home again so I could save money while I finish my degree (only 4 months away now!). However, moving home has also let me in on the financial stress my family has endured. Now I won't go into to much detail but my dad has been a business owner for the past 10 years and along with this type of job is a lot of instability. As me and my two younger sisters have grown older my parents have tried to help us with school and living as much as they could, but with the economy decline his business has been going through a lot of ups and downs. 

Today: So my parents have recently been applying to jobs like crazy and we have all been praying daily for God to bless my parents with stable jobs. After months and months and MONTHS of prayer God has worked wonders in our lives and has blessed both my parents with a job in the same week! How crazy is that! God is so AMAZING! His timing is perfect! 

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the power of prayer is indescribable! The ability to trust God and put your faith in his will and his timing takes not only trust but it also is the most incredible feeling to see God work in your life. Recently, I have had struggled with this component of my faith. I confess that sometimes I like to try to take things in my own hands. This miracle in my life has only reassured me that I need to stay strong in my prayers and to trust God and his timing. Why wouldn't I? The all knowing God will provide, so why do I try to cut him short at times?  

Since the power of prayer is so amazing, I urge you to pray for something or many things in your life if you don't already. Or contact me with a prayer request that I can pray for you and see God work in your life! Prayer is powerful and why not have a team of people pray for something :) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Recap

When I say I did nothing this weekend, I mean I really did nothing. It was a weekend full of pure relaxation and the occasional workout.

Thursday night I did head to the beach with some friends where I got to experience the most beautiful engagement take place! Congrats to the lovely couple and thanks for the invite to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with cake :) 

Friday- My cousin is visiting from Oregon and I was able to meet her 1 year old princess for the first time! She is the most amazing little girl ever. Look at her, does she not look like a little baby doll!? I am in love and now I will have to save money to make a trip to Oregon to see this little peanut! 

Saturday- I went to the public library to only realize that I have read every Nicholas Sparks book written (or very close to) and I am winding down the number of Jodie Picoult books. So bloggers, what are some good reads? I have one month to do nothing but read and work out so any suggestions will be appreciated! After the library I went on a run through the state public trail that runs through my hometown. It is one of my favorite runs and I have found a hidden gem right off the trail that is my go to quiet place to just think :) 

Sunday- After church I plopped on the couch for a marathon of the one and time movies! I know, they are super cheesy but I love them! Besides the sub-par acting and the over dramatic story lines, I can't help but get hooked! I ended my weekend with a nice bike ride on the state trail with my sister. 

What did you do this weekend? 
Also, still looking for a good August link up, any suggestions!? 

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 26, 2013

Goodbyes are the hardest

Well Folks, yesterday was my last day with the little nuggets that I have called students for the past 11 months :( 

Yes there were tears shed. 

I know I recently posted about my students and the inspiration they have been in my life, but  I think its only fitting to go a little deeper about my journey the past 11 months. Deciding to be a teacher is a story within itself, but deciding to work in the school I did was the hand of God working in my life. He opened the door to work in this school and I was hired 2 days after applying. A couple of months later I was asked to be a student teacher in the building so I could continue to work after school followed by an offer to work the summer school program. This past year has prepared me for my calling in life, which is to teach at lower income school districts or inner city schools. 

I absolutely LOVE these kids. More than I ever thought possible. I never truly realized the impact I could have with them. The moments where they hug and cry as you leave, or tell you they are moving in with you, or the notes the write discussing how important you are to them, or the pictures they draw of you both holding hands, and the stories they write about how they wouldn't have made it through the sixth grade with out you. Those are the moments where I think this is why everything up to this point in my life has been the way it has. This is the calling God has given me. 

Putting faith in God is super scary. And turning down a secure 50k job to go back to school for teaching was one of the harder things I have done. But these 11 months only proved that everything happened for a reason and that I am meant to be a teacher. These kids will never realize how important they were to me, or how much they impacted my life, or the things I learned from them. But this relationship works two ways and although I like to think I touched the lives of at least one student, multiple students have impacted mine, and forever I will be grateful and appreciative of them. 

On a lighter note, I now have a month to do nothing. So, I am deciding to dedicate my time to working out, reading, preparing for the upcoming school year, and blogging. Any cool link ups in August I would love to participate in let me know! 

Have a great weekend and enjoy this little jam, after all its summertime! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I found this link up and thought what a great post!

When I first hear the words inspiration I want to break out in song and start singing "your my inspiration, you bring feeling to my life, your my inspiration." Am I alone in this?

But this post is a link up to the things that inspire you.

My relationship with Christ:
This is the top thing in my life that inspires me. It inspires me to become a better person, to grow deeper in my relationship with Christ, and to follow patiently and faithfully the path he has set before me. This inspiration is unlike no other. When I am obediently following Christ and following his path for me, not my own, my life becomes better. It's kinda hard to describe what I mean by better, but everything just seems to make sense. I loose the anxiety that often fills all of our lives, the pressure of succeeding, making money, and pleasing others. When I focus on GOD I become inspired to live like him. That inspiration can only come from a relationship with him.

My Students:
My students inspire me daily. Working in a low income school district where not knowing a parent (or both parents), divorce, and parent girlfriends/boyfriends are the norm, I find my self inspired by the way these kids handle themselves. At 10 and 11 years old, my students have often seen and experience more than I ever will in my lifetime. Yet they wake up every morning, get dressed, put a smile on their face, and for the most part work hard to succeed. When I am having a bad day, or I complain because something is going wrong in my life, I go to work the next day and often realize that my issues are unlike theirs and if they could trade lives with me I know they would. They are the biggest inspirations on this earth for me. The innocence of a child with experiences that have transformed their lives with out them even knowing inspire me daily to appreciate the life  I have been blessed with and to not take anything for granted.

Blog posts:
Funny that this is the link up for today because last night I read one of the best blog posts out there! Click the link to read, I promise you won't be disappointed. This is a post from Amber at My life in High Heels and man did this speak truth to me!

What inspires you? I can think of many more things including my family and friends, and blogging even! Share with me some of your inspirations below :)

Helene in Between

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Girl Trina

I am dedicating this post to my girl Trina. Of the many pics we took together this weekend, and the extremely hilarious ones I wish I could post on this bad boy but I know she would drive back here to kill me if I did, I have to dedicate this weekend to my best friend, roommate, bedmate, and all time favorite lover. Here is to you! 

This weekend marked my goodbye to a very outgoing and furry headed friend (see pictures below to understand this comment) as she embarks on her journey to Boston for grad school. Trina and I met in my sorority a few years ago. I knew we would be best friend from the moment she invited me to go to the Eminem concert in Detroit with two other girls. Trina didn't know me very well at the time, but she understand my love for rap and inner ghetto self enough to choose me to be the fourth member on this adventure to the D. Fast forward a year or so later where I found Trina moving into my four bedroom apartment (already fully occupied) and weeks later straight into my bed (seeing as there was no room for her to have a bed and sleeping on the couch for weeks was creating back issues). Trina and I soon became inseparable. We had the same class schedule, eating schedule, studying schedule, and since we slept in the same room and bed the exact same sleeping schedule. We also shared a LOVE of Friday Night lights. 

Which brings me to this weekend. Trina came into town Friday night to start off the weekend shenanigans. Our good friend and other sorority sister Kate (who just moved into one of the most fabulous condo right downtown Grand Rapids) allowed for me and Trina to stay with her for the weekend. Friday night rolled around and after hugs and catching up we met up with more sorority sisters and headed to the local comedy club!  

If you know anything about sororities, know that we love to get our pictures taken. Who is the random guy in the picture you might ask? We are not sure, but it did not stop us from taking the photo. Who took the picture? Well thats the funny thing. We walked to the very back of the room (most space and best lighting) and found a random man in a black T-shirt sitting against the wall. He looked like he had nothing better to be doing so we approached him and asked if he would take the picture. He politely did and asked us some questions. Come to find out that he was the main comedian act of the night, Michael Che (check him out on youtube, hilarious!). Unfortunately for us, we became one of the main jokes of the evening, specifically my girl Trina. After many jokes about sororities, large groups of girls, and many other hilarious things he talked about, we were able to thank him again for the group pic and get a pic with Trina and him. 
Saturday morning was filled with lounging and pool action. Kate's condo has a very luxurious pool area. Trina and I felt like we were at a resort! 

We titled this photo "Egyptian Princess" hence the pose and obvious photo op we could not pass up! As much as I would love to bore you with every detail of our pool adventure and hilarious encounters we had through out the day, I will spare you the five minutes of reading and just inform you we once again went out (Trina's last night in GR before Boston). 
not our best work

Since its Trina's weekend, we headed to our favorite hot spot in the city that we went to many of times in college. As we walked in we were reminded of the good ol days and reminisced on the many of nights spent in the local spot. Come to find out this spot was a lot trashier then we remembered. As much as we tried to fit in, tried to dance to the strangest music our ears had ever heard, and watched multiple people grope and grind on each other on the dance floor the realization of growing up sunk in...we had to go...we were to old for a place like this. 

How did our favorite spot end up to be like this? Was is always this trashy? Was the music really this bad and we just never knew? I am going to say no and that it has gotten trashier over the past year and half since our last attendance. Do people really grope and grind like this in public? Yes, and after trying to tear out my eyes by the awful things I was seeing, Trina, Kate, and I decided we needed to head out quick before we caught any type of disease! Luckily for us Kate is  GR socialite and knew exactly the perfect spot to end the night!  

As the night came to a close and we were scared mentally from the sight of the dancers, we headed back to Kate's for a late night snack and bed time. 

Recap this post:
- If you are reading this and you find yourself one of those people who grope and grind on the dance floor. Stop. Its not attractive, classy, and does not make any type of guy worth dating interested in you. I promise. 
- I miss college days
- Kate, I LOVE your home and you are probably the most hospitable person I know. Thanks for a great weekend! 
- Trina, I had the GREATEST weekend I have had in a long time. I am so excited for this great adventure in your life and I can not wait to come visit you in Boston! I could make this sappier but I won't :) 

If you read through all of this, thanks for caring about my girl Trina! She is the best :) 
Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lets Reunite

Yayyy Friday!! I have been waiting for this one all week! 

Dear Friday, I have nothing planned for you today except a nice pool day with Erin (the newlywed)! 

Dear Sistaasss, ETA 3pm! I can not wait to see you! Two of my sorority sisters are visiting from out of town this weekend before one of them moves to Boston! I have lived with these ladies through out my college years and have been through the days of final exam study session, saturday morning breakfasts, and the dramatic ends of our relationships.  I can't wait to hit the town with these ladies! 


Dear personal goals, I am slacking a little. My goal to save my money this summer did not happen :( I am so bummed, but I did have a lot of expenses with weddings and what not (and since I am in college pinching dimes is a reality). However, I have set new goals! I graduate in December (finallllyyy!) and my goals are the following:
- substitute teach daily
- save money
- nanny over the summer
- teaching job by the 2014-2015 school year
- move out by December 2014 (major goal)

Dear running, you are becoming a chore in this heat. Although I have been on a steady incline and my furthest run has been 7 miles (woooo!), these past two weeks have been deadly. I decided I like running in the cold of winter than the hot of summer. This is not fun. Only 3 months away from race day though!! 

Dear August link up, I need to find you! I really have been slacking in the blogging world and I know this is just what I need to step up my game! Any good ideas? 
a little R. Kelly to start of the weekend! "It's the freaking weekend baby about to have me some fun!" 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend Fun

How is it already Monday!? This weekend flew by! 

My best friend is finally back from her honeymoon! Thank god! 10 days was to long to be apart, but I am glad she had a ton of fun and got to spend 10 days away with her new hubby! 

Speaking of husbands, I had yet another bachelorette party to attend. When I told you all of my friends were getting married I was not kidding. Seriously, someone forgot to inform my prince charming that this was the summer of romance/weddings. He is a little late to the game. Just kidding! I am a few years younger than a lot of my friends so I have PLENTY of time :) 

The party was so much fun! I didn't really get any pics, but I did win this really cute shower set! They also had a really cool $10 gift exchange where I got lotion and an eye brow razor....which I accidentally shaved a little bit to much of my eyebrow off. Oooops! (inform prince charming this is not to the time to meet me!) Luckily I can fix it and make it not as noticeable! 

I am really hoping my eyebrow recovers quickly because two of my best friends/sorority sisters are coming into town this weekend and I can not wait!!! I have not seen them in a few months and I am sure I will have many pics to share with you next Monday! 

A quick running update. I am about 3 months away from race day and am really struggling to run 7 miles. I can get 5-6 no problem, but there is something about that 7th one that is killing me! I need a little bump to get me over the hump! I am feeling slightly discouraged but will try for it again this week. Wish me luck! 

So besides spending lots of time with my best friend catching up, attending party after party, and shaving my eyebrow off it was a very hysterical and fun weekend! 
its not this bad! but I still refuse to post a pic :) 

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Letters

Dear Friday, It has been awhile since I have written to you. Let me start off by saying, I am SO happy that I do not have to work today and I get to spend it with my newly married and just back from her honeymoon friend Erin :) 

Dear students, I am not going to lie, you have given me a run for my money this summer. Taking pictures with out me knowing, commenting on my physical features (in ways in which 10 year olds should not be speaking), and cursing myself and other students out; its getting a little tiring. But I do want to say I would not change any of it for the world (okay maybe the inappropriate comments) but I am going to be so sad at the end of summer when you leave :( 

Dear Gerald R. Ford museum, you were so sweet! I am pretty sure if I liked this field trip more than the students did. I loved pretending to sit at the cabinet table or touring the oval office! History nerd! 

Dear summertime, shout out to the terrific weather you have been providing the past two weeks! My tan self appreciates your rays and warmth! 

Dear readers, keep on the look out for me! I am looking to link up to a August blogging challenge, kind of like I did in May. If you see anything let me know! 

Have a great weekend all! We know this dog is


Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Weekend

Nothing says America more than the hot dog eating contest. Which is exactly how I spent the beginning of my 4th of July weekend after I myself ate pounds of eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. 

Traditionally, my family heads up north in the mitten to our cottage for fourth of July weekend. All the siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins are in attendance with significant others and friends to celebrate the independence of America. Now, I am a history buff, so this holiday is one of my favorites. But I also enjoyed the fact I had the week off of work and was able to relax. 

Every year we make a HUGE breakfast over the campfire, and I mean HUGE! My cousins are all boys and can eat my weight in food in one sitting! Just kidding, but it kind of seems like it. This year we went through 72 eggs, 5lbs of a hash browns, 6 packages of sausage, and 12lbs of bacon. This is no joke! It kind of disgusts me after I realize the amount of food consumed at this outing, but at the time it taste great! 

After this massive meal we all put on our bathing suits, which is literally the last thing I want to do, and head out on the lake for the day. We anchor at the lakes sand bar and swim or take the other boat out for tubing. 

The night ends with a grill out, yes my family is still hungry by the end of the night, and campfire with fireworks. This tradition has been going on for years, I don't think I have missed a 4th of July up north ever. 

But besides the vacation weekend, I was able to run a total of 22 miles last week! And I am up to 7 miles in my training routine! 

What family traditions do you have? 

 fireworks from the show
 sand bar party! 
part of the big breakfast! 

camp fire :)

Sami's Shenanigans

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wedding Part Two

So I am in the process of going through my two weeks of being MIA from the blogging world. I have to give a shout out to my wonderful fourth of July weekend and my tan self before I start (that trip will be blogged about at a later date...I am so far behind! ahh!).

Last weekend my best friend got married! Some of you might know her from the blog Erin Elizabeth, so stop by her page and give her a congrats! Erin and I met less than a year ago, but we clicked instantly and have developed a wonderful friendship. Being able to help out with her wedding was so much fun! But I never got a picture with her, and didn't realize this until 2 days after...guess we have to do it again?

Thursday night I hosted her bachelorette party! We waited till the Thursday before the wedding since most of her wedding party and family live out of state. We headed downtown GR for dinner and drinks then back to my house for dessert, games, and presents. It was a blast! Here are some pics from the party. 
 beautiful ladies before dinner :) 
 Yummy chocolate fountain with different things to dip in it and cupcakes decorated by my sister :)

Friday I went and got my nails done. I put on fake nails! Which I haven't done since my senior prom and am unsure why since they are the best things ever! I got the color "feeling hot, hot, hot" aka its a pink, but obviously I was feeling good! Rehearsal dinner on friday which was fun! And then the big day on Saturday! Although I do not have any pics of Erin as a bride, make sure to check out her blog later next week when she is back from her honeymoon! Lucky them, they got 10 days away! 
 Me and Shalie (one of her bridesmaids) at rehearsal dinner

 decorated drink bar at the reception
my gift from anthropology for helping out! I love it!

Congratulations Erin once again! I am so happy for you and Kenny and can not wait to see you both grow your family! Thanks for letting me be a part of and celebrate the special day! Love you both! 

 Now that these two weddings are over, I am ready for a less busy rest of summer! Three more weeks of teaching summer school then a nice break before I start my second semester of student teaching! Ahh! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm back!!

Sorry I have been MIA for the past two weeks! It has been a crazy past couple of weeks with working and wedding planning! Two of my best friends got married back to back and not only were they the most beautiful brides, but I am pretty exhausted from wedding planning! Good thing I don't have to worry about getting married anytime soon ;)

Since it would be near impossible to put everything in one post I am going to break the weddings up into two different ones.

Two weeks ago my best friend married the love of her life and I was lucky enough to be part of the big day! There may have been a little craziness to begin with, such as the parking lot we were suppose to park in no longer exist due to construction. Or the fact that there was an anime/comicon festival going on at the same time as her wedding right outside the chapel (which is funny to look back in laugh at now but we did not find it funny when we wanted to take all of our pictures outside!) Luckily that was all that went wrong and the day ended up being perfect! 

Me and the bride :) Isn't she gorgeous?! 

 On my way to rehearsal dinner! 

At rehearsal dinner! 

The beautiful chapel


the wonderful bride and groom! 

good friends :) 

The best part of this wedding is to see the example of true love. So many people get married these days thinking they are in love, or maybe they have ulterier motives. It is refreshing to see a couple so in love that they would do anything for each other. That is what these two share and I am so blessed to have that example in my life! Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs!