Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ten Running Tidbits

Happy Sunday! I have spent my first weekend of summer with volleyball coaches from all over Houston (and Texas) learning from who I would consider to be celebrity coaches - Penn State's Russ Rose, and Stanford's John Dunning, among others - at an Art of Coaching Clinic. And though it's always hard for me to sit still for hours upon hours, I truly enjoyed this clinic. I learned a ton, which was to be expected with those two headliners, and it made me really excited for the school volleyball season to start back up again. I also got to see so many of my former coaches, and I think I made them all feel a little bit old when they realized that I just finished my first year of teaching. 

But, since I already missed a regular Friday post (whoops!), let's at least keep things regular with Sunday's.

1.  FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?
To be honest, I rarely use any type of fuel during runs. Even during half marathons. I realize that is going to have to change during my marathon training, so in that case, I plan on going with my pre-half marathon go-to – Jelly Belly SportBeans. My personal favorite flavors are Fruit Punch, the Assorted Mix, and Extreme Cherry. I feel like Extreme Cherry is going to be my best friend. I can’t stand GU, but I did use Shot Bloks when I was training for and riding in the BPMS150, however, the Sport Beans remain my favorite.

2.  Race Length: 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?
I think 10K is my favorite race length. Though I haven’t run farther than a half marathon yet, so I guess I don’t know if I would like something longer better. Though I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the marathon isn’t going to be my favorite length. I typically don’t sign up for 5Ks because one, that’s a short distance to pay money to run, and two, I feel as though I should sprint the entire race. But with anything greater than a 10K, I feel as though I can slow things down a bit, while still maintaining a challenging pace.

3.  Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants, or Other?
Shorts, for sure. Even on cold days, it doesn’t take me long to warm up, so for anything longer than five miles, you will almost always find me in shorts. If it’s miserably wet and cold outside, and I’ll only be out there for 45 minutes or so, you might find me in capri pants. But like many basic white girls (did I use that right?), I typically save the capri pants for lounging around and running errands.

4.  Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?
When I’m running on my own, I stick to water. When I’m running in a race, I take full advantage of the yellow Gatorade given to me. I’m a salty sweater, and I need all the electrolytes I can get.

5.  Running temperatures: HOT or COLD?
This is a tough question. Because right now, in the hot and humid capital of the world, I would give anything for just a little bit of relief. But then there are other days when I love nothing more than to have sweat dripping down my face. And this year I hated running in the cold a little bit less than I usually do. Go figure. So I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t care what the weather is like; I just want to run.

6.  Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics, or Other?
Asics. For a while I was a tried and true Mizuno user, but Asics currently have my heart. They provide stability and cushion, which is essential for a pronator like myself. Plus, their shoes are some of the cuter running shoes out there. So sue me.

7.  Pre-Race Meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?
Always, always, always wheat toast (or an English muffin) topped with peanut butter, sliced banana, and cinnamon. It has never failed me.

8.  Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?
As hard as it is for me, I typically give myself at least one rest day a week, or at least one day in which my physical activity is on the very light end. A walk or a relaxed bike ride, because everyone’s muscles need a chance to rest and recover.

9.  Music: Have to have it or go without it?
Have to have it. There is nothing I love more than plugging in my headphones, turning up my music, and running until I can’t run anymore. Plus, it keeps my focus off of what I’m actually doing.  

10.  #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or other?
Can it be a combination of all of these things? Of course, I run to stay in shape. But it’s so much more than that. Because there are lots of things one can do to stay in shape. I absolutely love shaking off the stress of a long day by lacing up my Asics and going for a familiar run through my neighborhood. Though I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when it’s 5:00am on a Sunday morning and my alarm is going off, I love the race atmosphere. Which is why I keep going back for more. And I run because I can, and I will run until I can’t anymore. I love the causes behind so many of the races that I run, and it is a lot more than just a way to keep my figure.

And that's all I've got. I'm off to enjoy what's left of this beautiful (and sunny!!!) Sunday in Houston.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bellaire Diaries

WARNING: Prepare yourselves for a novel, but this was a fun one to write, so bear with me as I relive my first year of teaching - full of (many) aha! moments, successes, failures, facepalms, and laughs galore.

And with that, I have officially completed my first year of teaching. W H A T. Yeah, I can't believe it either. This year absolutely flew by, but over the course of this one school year, I've aged ten actual years, I've laughed more than I ever have, I've found a few gray hairs, I've questioned the future of our country, I've heard some heartbreaking stories, I've shaken things off, I've learned to pick my battles, I've met some wonderful human beings in my fellow teachers (but to be honest, I still have a hard time calling many of them by their first names), I've had my days brightened by 14- and 15-year-olds, and finally, I've grown far more than I ever could have imagined. Wow, have I learned a lot this year, and though it's so much of a relief to no longer be "the rookie teacher," I'm a little bit sad that my first year of teaching is really and truly over. I've heard that it's by far the hardest year, and while I have no other years to go off of, I only hope the first year is the hardest. This year was tough in so many aspects of the word, but it was also better than I ever could have dreamed.

Let me explain. I've mentioned on the blog before that, much like Shakespeare's Sonnets in the third quatrain, my attitude toward my teaching career underwent a big shift halfway through the year. At first, I was unhappy and overwhelmed and lost and alone and all things miserable, if I'm being completely honest. I was anxious and stressed all the time and I marveled at the teachers who have been teaching for 25+ years, because was I even going to make it one? Teaching is no joke. And adding in coaching to the mix? Yeah, I was exhausted. And I was only four months in.

Let me start from the beginning. Remember when I started crying in my assistant principal's office when he took away my classroom and told me I was floating? Apparently, that's a common thing at Bellaire. But how was I to know that? I certainly didn't start off on the best foot with my reaction. But it was that moment when I was shedding tears in the middle of the main hallway that I met one of the kindest, most genuine men. He told me he had a son at Bellaire, and that he'd been doing this teaching and coaching thing for a long time. And while I can't remember much else of what he told me, he made me feel a whole lot better about the situation, and the next day he made it a point to come up to me and ask how I was doing. And then I found out that his classroom was located right next to one of mine, meaning I had the pleasure to talking with him almost every day, if even for only a brief second. He always had a kind and encouraging word, and I loved being able to talk sports with him, too. To add to the story, my principal sought me out one day and apologized to me about the way everything was handled. Something he certainly didn't have to do, but something that made me feel appreciated, nonetheless. And while I'm on the subject, one of my fellow English teachers, who has been at Bellaire 10+ years, emailed me and offered up a tackle box that she used when she was a floating teacher.

And while floating isn't an ideal scenario - you carry your classroom around with you on a cart, it's a cringe-worthy setup for someone who strives for organization, and it was a bit of a letdown to not get to decorate a classroom - it wasn't all bad. In fact, I'm going to consider myself lucky. And here's why. My original classroom was located on the first floor. Most of the other English teachers, give or take a few, have classrooms located on the third floor. At the beginning of the year, I would have loved that, because I'm someone who likes to do things all on her own. But somewhere around November I realized that trying to do it all on my own was hugely contributing to my negative experience at Bellaire. I absolutely loved being a hop, skip, and a jump away from the other English teachers - from those who taught English I alongside me, to those who taught AP English IV. I was able to pop in and ask a quick question, no matter how dumb it may have been. And I probably asked some dumb ones. I was able to bond with my fellow rookie teacher, and she's someone I'm so grateful to have had around and to have spent so much time with. We were able to share resources and success stories and frustrations and most of all, laughs. Because freshmen students are downright funny.

Getting to know some of the other English teachers as a result of being a floater was huge for me. Honestly, these people are some of the greatest I have ever met. They are very clearly good at what they do, as many of them have been teaching at Bellaire for more years than I've been alive. They were always quick to ask how I was doing, and they were always willing to share a funny story. Pickles was taught some truly valuable life lessons - and the tea - and she can't say enough about all that these teachers did for her throughout the course of the school year. And now, after surviving my first year as a floater, I feel as though I've truly been initiated into the Bellaire teaching community. It was a rite of passage, after all! And it taught me the importance of being flexible.

And the students. I was an AP student growing up. Always enrolled in the accelerated classes, forever attending morning tutorials (thanks, JRid and Dave Ave!), and never one to skip out on a homework assignment. So I found myself getting frustrated with so many of my students when they just didn't seem to careThey are so lucky to get to attend a school like Bellaire, and so many of them seemed to be throwing it all away. I often felt as though I should clap them on the back simply for showing up to class on time. It was so different from my high school experience that it required an adjustment period. But I came to love teaching the academic kids. They needed a little bit more motivation, and I finally got to be the cheerleader I always wanted to be. So many of my students have only been told that they can't, and I got to use my energy and enthusiasm to hopefully show them that they are loved and cared for and that they matter. That they can. That college isn't the only definition of success, but that I'll help get you there if that's what you want. Some of the stories my students told me made me want to give each and every one of them a big hug. Because some of them dealt with things that never would have crossed my teenage mind. My 7th period drove the ever-living heck out of me, I sent more than a few kids outside because I just couldn't deal with them anymore, I fought (and lost) the cell phone battle daily, but my students made getting up in the 5 o'clock hour each day more than worth it. Using novels as my vehicle, I got to talk to them about life, and that meant more to me than anything a standardized test could ever measure. And I stayed up on all the teen lingo. What more could you want?

Now let's talk volleyball. I've talked about it before, but though I felt as though I didn't have one spare moment to breathe, I am so unbelievably grateful for the opportunity I was given to give back to the sport that gave me so much as a player. The coaches are some of the greatest, and offered endless support throughout the entire year, putting up with me and my zero years of experience. I realized there was a lot I didn't know (and still don't know) about the game I gave so much of my time to. At the end of the day, I loved being able to shed my teacher persona and put on my coaches hat. Figuratively, of course. I had the spunkiest group of girls around, and it has been a blessing getting to know them in a different way than I knew my students. Looking at my job description, I was the one who was supposed to teach them something. But they taught me more than I ever could have imagined. Coaching was (and is!) hard for me, and I often wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into, but in a way, it made my transition into this new phase of life so much easier. I had a group of people outside my English team, and while it was a time-consuming commitment - as stated above - it was also the only bright spot within those early dark days.

Every day was something different, which is what I've grown to love about teaching. This whole entire year I was never bored, I was never idle, and I learned something new each and every day. I've got a job that has me at work moving and crossing things off before many people even wake up. But it evens out when I'm in my car at 3:17pm, driving out of our anxiety-inducing parking lot. If Bellaire ever gets rebuilt, that's my first request. My second is expanding the width of the hallways. But if the rebuild never actually happens, that's okay too, because the charming 60-year-old school has grown on me, despite my initial negative reaction.

And maybe I don't want it to be rebuilt because I finally know my way around it. Just a few weeks ago I went to turn in a cell phone and I had to stop and ask someone where that particular principals office was located. I just learned where the 330's are located, and you get yourself a workout when you walk from one end of the school to the other. It makes me have a little bit more sympathy for the students who are late to class each day. But only a little bit. Because they really do walk at a snail's pace.

I've learned to accept the fact that I look like one of the students. In fact, the reason I wore this lanyard is so that I could establish my identity as a teacher. 

I've got stories out the wazoo about the classic student/teacher mix-up, but for the sake of length, I'll just share one. Students aren't allowed on the second and third floors until the first bell rings at 7:25am, and one morning one of our APs was sending kids right back in the direction from which they came. I, being a teacher, kept right on going on my journey to the copy room. At first, I wasn't sure who he was talking to when he said, "Sweetie, where do you think you're going?" I gave a soft-spoken, "Um, I work here," while simultaneously holding up my ID. He was a little embarrassed. But I'll cut him some slack - it was the beginning of the school year, after all. And it probably doesn't help that Bellaire has the most casual teacher dress code I've ever experienced. Jeans are the everyday norm, and if I ever dress up even a little bit, I always receive at least three separate comments on my attire. There hasn't been one day that I've worn slacks, and I'm perfectly okay with that. I had to laugh when I heard two horrified teachers talking about how they heard they could only wear jeans on Fridays at [insert the name of any other HISD school].

Casual, but to be fair, I started out in heels
And as exhausting as it is having a job that requires me to be "on" all day, I wouldn't trade it for any other job in the world. I'm forced to make hundreds of decisions in any given day - from how to handle a student's behavior, how to make a lesson more engaging the second time around, to which battles I'm going to fight - and I gained a lot of confidence this school year. I grew more vocal within my English I team, I became less timid in dealing with my students, and honestly, I feel as though there's nothing I can't do. I've got a job where I don't dread Mondays, and for that, I'm especially grateful. This year has been an absolute whirlwind, but I truly couldn't have asked for a better one. I learned a lot, laughed a lot, graded a lot, failed a lot, gave "the look" a lot, and most of all, I've been really thankful. 

Sometimes I wondered what I was doing at Bellaire, when there was something more comfortable and familiar just up the road. But then I remember how much peace I felt in saying yes to Bellaire, and I realize how Jesus has orchestrated every single step. And I can't believe I've officially got one year under my belt. Word on the street is that year two is like having a whole new job, because everything suddenly becomes loads easier. I don't know about that one, but I'm certainly looking forward to the new adventure. After summer vacation, of course!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Houston Flood

NOTE: None of the following pictures are my own. They are borrowed from friends, the ABC 13 Houston Facebook page, or the hashtag #houstonflood.

I'm just popping in to give y'all a quick update from Houston. H-Town, or H-Drown, if you prefer. Though I'm not making light of the situation. As the first story on the World News tonight, you guys have probably heard about the absolute devastation that hit Houston late yesterday evening and early this morning. I've lived in Houston my entire life - aside from the four years I spent in Austin - and I have never seen anything like this. And I remember Hurricane Allison, and more recently, Hurricane Ike. After what was just a regular thunderstorm, our entire city was essentially under water.

The rain started yesterday evening around 8:00pm, and it just didn't stop. And it wasn't so much the rain, but the lightning and thunder didn't let up, either. And that was a problem for me because I had yet to take a shower, and there was no way I was about to get in the shower in the middle of a light show. It ended up working out, though, because school was canceled all over Houston today. But more on that in a minute.

When I went to sleep, there was a flash flood watch in effect until 11:45pm. The rain was supposed to let up around 2:00am. The flash flood watch was pushed back to 12:45pm, and then 2:45pm, and finally, my mom came into my room around 4:45am saying that Houston ISD was on a two-hour delay. While I wasn't necessarily worried about my getting to school (though there was no way I was getting to school), I worried about my students getting to school, as some of them lived right in the Bellaire/Meyerland area, which got absolutely slammed. And on top of that, the Metro wasn't even running. They finally made the call to cancel school, and I went back to sleep for a couple of hours.

I felt as though I was in an alternate universe when I woke up to sun streaming into my windows. Wasn't I wading through ankle (and higher)-deep water just last night in an attempt to get to the fridge in our garage? I went on a bike ride around my neighborhood, just to survey the damage, and I can gratefully say that we seemed to fare pretty well. Other neighborhoods and areas of town, not so much. Creeks overflowed, bayous ran over their banks, and it was truly like nothing I've ever seen before. It hit us so fast, and many people had no choice but to stay right where they were. For some, that was the Toyota Center, where (thankfully) we managed to get our first win in the series against Golden State. My brother ended up staying at his friend's house, because none of them were able to actually leave the house until sometime this morning.

Mayor Annise Parker advised Houston residents to stay inside, because many of the streets and highways were still experiencing quite a few feet of water. And some of them still are. The water actually seemed to be receding fairly quickly, but that doesn't take away the panic and chaos that many Houston residents went through last night and early this morning. And all day today, really. Trust me, we've been there, and there are not many feelings worse than helplessly watching water invade your home. 

My heart goes out to those who are dealing with feet of water in their houses and cars, those who were stranded on the freeway, and most devastatingly, those who lost their lives as a result of the weather. I think it's safe to say that the city of Houston was in a state of shock today, and my fingers are crossed that the rain lets up enough to let this round of water drain. And here's to finishing out this school year, because I don't think anyone was expecting this one. One year it's ice day after ice day, and the next, school is canceled due to flash floods. It's anybody's call what crazy weather next year will bring us!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lately I've Been

Hello, hello! I hope you guys are enjoying a long weekend - if you get one! - and appreciate the fact that you don't have to go to work or school tomorrow. While I'm simply administering finals this last week (and by that, I mean reading, surfing the web, and making sure my kids remain somewhat under control), I'm always grateful for a long weekend. I'm going to be spending much of my Memorial Day in the kitchen, baking sweet treats for my teacher friends, but that won't stop me from thinking of the men and women who have made, and who continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Anyway, I saw this survey over on Julie's blog, and I decided it would make for the perfect Survey Sunday. I managed to find a few more surveys, so this tradition will continue on for at least a few more weeks! Then I'll have to start getting creative. 

Lately I've Been ...

Making: Granola. I’ve pinned a handful of granola recipes, and I just can’t get enough of it lately. Now that I’ve been making my own, store-bought granola just isn’t doing it for me.

Cooking: I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, I’ll admit. I’ve actually been eating out quite a bit more than I usually do, but I’ve been looking into some different recipes using quinoa, and I’m itching for summer to be here so that I can give them a try. Heck, I might even try one of them this upcoming week. What else am I supposed to do when I get home from work at 11:00am?

Drinking: Water. Always water. I have to laugh because in between every class period I run over to the English lounge to refill my water bottle (and go to the bathroom, as a direct result of drinking so much water). I don’t know what I’m going to do without that cold, endless supply of water this summer!

Reading: I plan on covering this more on my next Things I’m Loving Friday post, but All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I absolutely devoured this book, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads.
Wanting: I’m going to steal Julie’s answer on this one – another good book to read. None of the books on my Summer Reading List are speaking to me right now, and I think I might tackle The Book Thief, a book I’ve been meaning to read for a couple of years now, but just haven’t managed to open.

Looking: Forward to my trip to Cozumel with Cheyney! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been to Mexico, and I’ve certainly never been scuba diving. And with all of this rainy and gloomy weather we’ve been experiencing, I’m more than ready to see a little sunshine.
We'll shed our skates for flippers
Playing: Music off of my Spotify “Fun Music” playlist. Which is basically just a collection of all the songs I have on Spotify. Summer goal – organize my music into more specific playlists.

Wasting: Space at school. Seriously. These last two weeks of school have honestly been a whole lot of nothing. Don’t get me wrong – I finished up Romeo and Juliet with my students, and they got to tell me about how dumb they found the two cheeseballs, and I reviewed for the final exam, but as I mentioned on Friday, I’ve also been putting in a movie here and there. You know it’s the end of the year when you walk up and down the hall and almost every classroom is dark with students watching a movie.

Wishing: The Rockets would get their act together and actually win a game (or two or three or FOUR).

Enjoying: Fountain of Health Hummus. With the recent Sabra recall, I was forced to abandon my usual brand of hummus in favor of a new-to-me brand. Luckily, this one fits the bill, and I might even like it better. It's perfect when paired with my go-to after-school snack of carrots and celery.

Waiting: For SUMMER! It’s been a long time coming. But I’m so thankful for a job that still gives me one!
Nothing better than summer sunsets
Liking: Hill training. Call me crazy, but there’s something special about seeing things from a little bit higher up than usual.

Wondering: How in the world I’m going to train for a marathon. Please – send tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement my way!

Loving: The quinoa and salmon combination. I’ve had it three times in the past week and I’m not even close to tired of it.

Hoping: To plan an Austin trip soon. Just the other day I got a random craving for about four different Austin restaurants. And I realized it’s been far too long since I’ve visited one of my favorite cities.

Needing: A massage. After my first year in the real world, I don’t even want to know how tense my shoulders must be.

Wearing: Nike shorts, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. Classic Kelli outfit.

Following: Though Monday was the finale, I must admit that I was following the most recent season of Dancing With the Stars. I was bummed when Nastia was eliminated prior to the finale (I have an Olympic gymnastics obsession), but the final three were all extremely talented. I was talking television shows with a co-worker, and when I brought that one up he asked me, “What, are you 80?” Okay, okay.
Noticing: Just how bad the potholes are in Houston. If you are not a Houston resident, this does not pertain to you, but shoot, some of our major streets are a huge issue.

Knowing: That I work with some of the best people. As this school year comes to a close, I realize that I really couldn’t have survived my first year without them.

Thinking: That as much as my seventh period disappoints me, and as horrible as they act toward me sometimes, I act about ten times worse toward Jesus, and still I’m given grace upon grace. Though I said goodbye to my seventh period on Friday (praises!), I hope to carry that reminder with me into the start of the next school year. So many of these kids just need a little bit of love. Tough love, but still love.

Feeling: Relieved. We received an email with our students’ STAAR results on Friday, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. It is comforting to know that maybe, just maybe, I’m getting through to some of them! It makes all the hard work and stress worth it.

Bookmarking: I don’t really bookmark many sites, but I’ll let you guys in on what I’ve been pinning lately. A whole lot of cookie recipes, and quite a few waffle recipes. And actually, a few teacher ideas are sprinkled in here and there.

Opening: Email after email after email. Lately, both my school and my personal inboxes have been flooded. Granted, many of the emails I’ve received on my personal account are trash, and many of the emails I’ve received on my school account are fun banter with other teachers, but I’m struggling to keep up!

Fitnessandfroyo out. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Things I'm Loving XXXV

Happy FRIDAY! This Friday is a little bit happier than usual, as it is my LAST Friday of my very first year of teaching. And what's better is that we are giving final exams today, and my only final exam of the day is over at 10:00am. While I still have to scan and enter grades, I'll be home well before I normally would. So I really have no room to complain. And I really have no room to complain, as today is my last day with my seventh period class. While I really do love those students, that class has most definitely tested my patience throughout the course of this semester. Miss Tomlinson learned how to get tough quick. But before I dance my way out of school in happiness, let's get going on our 35th edition of Things I'm Loving Friday.

Brownie Cookies
Also known as the Brookie. Mrs. Watson, if you're reading this, this one goes out to you. I told my students that I would bake them something on the day of their final, and as I mentioned above, today is seventh period's time to shine. I wanted to keep things simple, because these kids really don't want anything exotic, and I decided on the best of both worlds - the brownie cookie. Now, I have dabbled with the Brookie on many occasions, but I have always made them in brownie form. This time I made them in cookie form, and I'm going to go ahead and say that these are going to be a hit. You just can't go wrong with this combo.

An ode to seventh period
Monsters University
Okay, I'll admit it. If you would have walked into my classroom this week, you would believe the stereotype that "teachers don't really do anything." Is that a stereotype anymore? Anyway, while I have made sure to go over every single part of the final exam review, in both reading and in English, I will also say that I have put in Monsters University for my students' viewing pleasure. With an altered schedule this week, I've had some of my classes for two hours some days, and some days I don't see some classes, and to be honest, how else am I supposed to keep high school freshmen entertained for two hours without showing a movie? And this was the most attentive I've seen some of them in a while. But their expressions and giggles throughout the length of the movie were absolutely priceless, and it reminded me that they're still just little kids. My heart was full. And I myself enjoyed the movie along with them.

The Egg and I
Continuing on with my Teacher of the Year acts, yesterday was sixth period's turn to be in session for two hours. And throughout this semester I've set up shop in the English department lounge with another teacher who has a floater in his room that period. Yesterday we decided to take advantage of our two-and-a-half hour lunch break by getting away from school for a little bit and taking a trip to The Egg and I. Though I have one just minutes away from where I live, I hadn't been there in months, and I more than enjoyed my Chicken Apple Sausage Scramble. Great food, and some great company. So, Mr. Olsen, if you're reading this, thanks for being a mentor-type to this rookie teacher. You really made me feel a part of the Bellaire family, and I am so very appreciative.

Mother always told you to eat a good breakfast
What to Do When Your Life Doesn't Go as Planned
I really loved this article. As I think back to a year ago when I graduated college, I was wide-eyed and full of excitement and ready to dive into the whole real world thing. I graduated with high honors, I had a rockin' job, a great boyfriend, and about 100 other things going my way. And then I moved home and started working and it was hard. I was about as miserable as one could be, but I pasted a smile on my face and said, "It's great; I love it" when asked about my job. It wasn't great, and I didn't love it. And Dylan and I were navigating the long-distance waters, and things started getting choppy. And that was hard. What was supposed to be an exciting time in my life had me longing for everything I had left in the past. Nothing was going as planned. But somewhere around the first of the year, I let go of all expectations and simply enjoyed the moment that I was in. I let my current season shape me, and I practiced being and living in the moment. I chose to be grateful for each day, and ultimately, I chose to trust the One who holds my future.

Now when asked, I really do love my job
Healthy Breakfasts
It's no secret around here that I'm a big time breakfast lover. It's my absolute favorite meal of the day. And while I still love my scrambled egg whites and spinach, it's nice to mix things up every now and again. And contrary to popular belief, healthy breakfast doesn't have to be boring. I know many people love it, but I just can't do oatmeal. It's something about the texture. But there's more to a healthy breakfast than oatmeal. In fact, this article highlights 28 healthy and delicious breakfast recipes. And a lot of these recipes are really pretty easy. And they're just begging you to add your own personal twist.

And that's all I've got, because I've got a final to administer. Catch y'all later!