Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bring Back the Good Old Days!

I don't consider myself old, by any means.  In fact, I've actually started to embrace my thirty-sixness! When I was a teenager, I vividly remember giving my parents the side eye when they would talk about missing the "good ol' days", but as I get older, I think I know exactly what they were talking about.  Over the three decades that my life has spanned, so many things have changed.  Here are 10 things that I miss the most:

10. Handwritten letters.  I have an old jewelry box that I had when I was a senior in high school.  Inside that box are several handwritten notes from my boyfriend.  Just this week my boyfriend (who is now my husband of 15 years) and I sat and read most of those letters.  It was nice to see someone spend more than 11.5 seconds to send a message to someone.  Bring back those days!

handwritten letter - reductress

9.  Long telephone conversations. I can remember spending hours on the phone talking to my friends.  No one talks on the phone anymore.  I'm guilty, too!  If I'm not commuting to/from work, I usually can't find the time to engage in telephone conversations that exceed the time needed for a simple question or request.

8. Watching TV with my family.  I used to love sitting with my family watching television.  There was a time, believe it or not, when a child could sit with his parents and watch TV without feeling awkward or tensing up in anticipation of inappropriate content appearing on the screen of what is supposed to be "family" TV.  Bring back those days, please!!

7. Sunday dinners with my family. There was a time when I knew, without question, where I'd be eating after church on Sundays.  My family would get together each Sunday for a delicious meal and some good ole' quality time.  Nowadays, life just has us all pulled in different directions, so it's hard to make a standing appointment to enjoy those days of old.

6.  All-day shopping trips with my mom. I can remember when shopping with mom meant being ready to leave home at 9:00 am and not returning home until about 7:00 pm.  Those were the best times.

5.  Long walks in the summertime.  I grew up in Winterboro, Alabama, a small community in Talladega County.  (Don't bother trying to find it on the map.)  In the summertime, you could easily find my childhood friend and I taking long walks on the country roads, always outside of boundaries  set for us by our parents.

4. Living life without an hour-by-hour schedule. I had a great childhood.  I can remember very vividly having lots of fun with my friends playing games, talking on the phone, traveling, shopping, etc.  But I don't remember having to "schedule" appointments to play. Now, everyone's life is so schedule-driven that having fun must appear on the schedule in order for it to take place.  Bring back the good old days!!

3.  Coffee pot coffee. I begged and pleaded for a Keurig coffee machine, even though my Mr. Coffee coffee maker was working just fine.  I can't lie, most mornings, I have to squeeze in the 90-second wait for the cup of Joe that my Keurig produces.  However, I must also admit that I miss the smell of freshly-brewed coffee creeping through the house from the old-school coffee maker.

2.  Hanging out with my friends. This kind of goes along with #5 and #4.  I miss the days when the biggest decision I had to make was which friend's house I was going to hang out at or which friend I was going to invite over!

1.  Christmas Cards! The number 1 thing that I miss from the good old days is......CHRISTMAS CARDS!  As hard as it is, I make it my business to squeeze in the time to send Christmas cards.  And, I force myself to personally address each envelope.  One of the highlights of the holidays for me is going to my mailbox and receiving holiday greetings from my friends and family. Sadly, each year brings fewer and fewer Christmas cards.  People are simply too busy or have opted for online versions of this holiday tradition.

Take a minute to reflect on some things that you miss post.  Comment below to share the thing that you miss most about the good old days!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Still Thankful...

We are nearing the end of November, which means that we are also nearing the end of the "What I'm Thankful For" social media posts.  I have to admit, I have really enjoyed the positive atmosphere of my news feed over the past few weeks and I'm kind of sad to see it go.  I started out on November 1 posting what I was thankful for, but because life happened, I got off track around day 20.  So, I have decided to dedicate this post to getting back on track and getting ahead with my complete list of what I'm thankful for this month and always:

Day 20:  My relationship with God.  There are some days when holding on to His promises is all that gets me through my day.

Day 21:  My husband.  I've been married for 15 years and I truly believe that my husband and I were meant to be.  We're not perfect, but we are perfect for each other. 

Day 22:  My children.  I have two amazing children and I feel so blessed to be their mother.  

Day 23:  My parents.  I'm pretty blessed in the parents department, too.  

Day 24:  My job.  I work with an amazing team and absolutely love every day of my job.  That is so rare these days.  I am so glad that I was obedient and took a leap of faith to pursue this position. 

Day 25:  My friends.  I have an amazingly supportive friend group.  I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.  

Day 26:  My church family.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a loving church family. 

Day 27:  My neighbors.  I've lived in my neighborhood for nearly 12 years and I can't say that I have a single "neighbor nightmare" story.  

Day 28:  The Hallmark Channel.  Need I say more?  They have the best movies on Hallmark and I am so thankful when I get to sit back, relax, and watch a great movie.  (I'm especially partial to the Christmas movies on Hallmark!)

Day 29:  My house.  I am so thankful that I know exactly where I am going to lay my head every night.  

Day 30:  Samford University.  I am currently working on my administrative certification and my doctorate in educational leadership.  I have the best professors and an amazing cohort who help me keep my sanity while I pursue these degrees.

I love that this month helps people take a moment to stop and focus on the many blessings that are in their lives.  I'm glad to have this documented on the blog so that I can refer back to it as a reminder and as encouragement.

We have two days left in the month and I am going to be checking my news feed to catch a glimpse of the final few "What I'm Thankful For" posts.   See you soon!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stepping Out of the Boat

The comfort zone is a great place to hang out, isn't it?  Doing what you've always done, going where you've always gone, eating what you've always eaten, and wearing what you've always worn is wonderful, right?  It's easy.  Hey, you can't mess up if you stick to what you know!

I'm a stickler for schedules and routines.  As I've told you before, the beloved Cozi app on my phone (and my old fashioned paper calendar) are how I maintain my "I've got it all together" persona.  I'm not much for changing things up.  However, I've recently decided that I'm about to loosen the grip on my calendar and make room from some spontaneity and newness in my life.

Stepping out of the boat is such a bold statement of faith.  When you confine yourself to the norm, you may very well be blocking yourself from the blessings that God has for you.  My challenge to you today is to try something new.  Something different.  Something outside of your normal routine, if you are a routine follower, like me.

Today, I am thankful for the decision to step of out the boat.  I am so excited about what God is going to do in my life because my decision to exercise my faith in Him.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kicking off the Season of Thanks

I blinked...and now it's November.  Time flies when you're living.  I can't believe it's been nearly five months since the last time I logged into my blog!  I've missed being here and am really hoping that I can work Diva on the Run back into my schedule.  Since the last time I blogged, I've started a new job, my first born started high school (I'm still trying to figure out how that happened), my baby started junior high, and several other things have happened in between.  But, as always, this busy mom wears whichever hat she needs to wear to make it all work!

Since we are approaching Thanksgiving, I decided to follow the status quo and theme this month's posts on being thankful.  Often times, we get so wrapped up in what we don't have that we fail to realize what we do have.  It only took me a few minutes to take a quick assessment and realize that I really do have a lot to be thankful for! (I don't know why it's so easy to forget that sometimes.)

I love social media during the holidays.  People tend to post what they are thankful for and the drama is often muted.  Well, most of the time, anyway.  It is so refreshing to see people focus on the things and people that they are truly thankful for.  

In my last blog post (I know it's been a while), I mentioned the devotional book that my friend gifted me.  Well, I'm still reading that book on a daily basis.  The book is Joyce Meyer's The Power of Being Thankful:  365 Devotions for Discovering the Strength of Gratitude.  What I love most about this book is that just when I think I've covered every area of my life that I'm thankful for, my daily reading brings to remembrance something that I have overlooked.

Today's reading was titled, "Doing Something Great With Your Life".  When I think of all of the things that I aspire to do in life, I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been given.  I am thankful in advance for the opportunities that are in my future.  

Take a moment and think about the things (outside of the norm) that you are thankful for.  The things that you are truly thankful for.  We all love and are thankful for our spouses, our parents, our children, our houses, our cars, our clothes, etc.  But what are you really thankful for?  

image from

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

A few months ago, a very close friend of mine gifted me Joyce Meyer's "The Power of Being Thankful" and for several weeks, I became habitual in thanking God for the many blessings in my life.  I was proud of myself for reading from the book daily and taking the time to focus on the good things in my life.  However, in the hustle and bustle of life, I somehow drifted from that habit and moved to a place where I find myself complaining about more things than I give thanks for. 

Today is June 6.  I picked up my devotional this afternoon and found my bookmark nestled between the May 16 and May 17 devotions, which means that the last time I read from the book was one of those days.   I have to admit that I'm a little embarrassed by that.  I could easily blame the final weeks of school, my doctoral coursework, my children's activities, or church activities for this oversight, but that would be way too easy.  Instead, I'm going to make a vow to not let this happen again.

You see, I have way too many things to be thankful for and I am guilty of taking those things for granted.  I want to do better.  I have to do better.  I am going to study today's devotional in hopes of learning what it takes to develop a habit of being thankful. 

What are your tips and suggestions for developing an attitude of gratitude? 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hello, February!

A new month is upon us.  Time is certainly on the move.  We've already whisked through the first month of 2015 and so far, 2015 has been pretty good.  Lots of exciting things are on the schedule for this month and I can't wait to see them all come to fruition.

  • Jordan has more Beta Club Conventions to attend.  He is absolutely loving being a state officer.  He's getting the opportunity to travel to some really neat places.  The friendships that he has made and the independence that he's gained from this experience have been absolutely amazing.  He is so blessed to have been chosen for this position. 
  • Jordan is participating in the regional Science Fair.  He worked hard on his experiment and report.  I'm proud of him for being chosen for this honor.  
  • Kaylen will be trying out for school cheer this month! I'm really excited for her.  She's been working hard in tumbling and will be attending some clinics that will hopefully get her ready for tryouts!
  • Kaylen is participating in her first pageant.  I can't wait to see her all dressed up. We're going to have so much fun!  
While the kids are preparing for their busy month, I'll be super busy myself.  Though grad school just started back for me a few days ago, I already have a ton of assignments to do in the coming weeks.  Oh, let's not forget my full-time job teaching and my part-time job teaching online classes.  

Life for me is busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Excuse me while I go in my closet and get my tights and cape!  

Hello, February!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

After the Fast...

So, my husband and I successfully completed 21 days of the Daniel Fast along with our church family.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  This was our third time participating in the fast and each year gets easier and easier.  Who am I kidding?  Doing the Daniel Fast has to be one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life!  I know.  That's very sad, isn't it?  It's really sad how much food controls our lives.  

If you're not familiar with the Daniel Fast, the gist of it is this:  eat only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains and drink only water, all while purposefully praying and meditating daily.  

Truthfully, if I hadn't had the support and encouragement of my husband, I probably would have fallen off the wagon by Day 3 or 4.  But, his pep talks and motivational messages kept me focused. I'm truly thankful that we shared this experience together.  It really taught us a lot about ourselves. 

Here are some things that I discovered about myself:

1) I can read the Bible daily.  During the fast, I read the Bible first thing every morning.  I use the YouVersion app on my phone.  I have a reminder set to alert me each morning that I need to read my Bible.  I don't step foot out of bed until I have read a scripture and meditated on it for a moment.  

2) I can cook at home more often. One of the excuses that I use for eating out so frequently is that I don't have time to cook.  Well, during the fast, I did a lot of meal planning to reduce the chances of "messing up" and eating something that was not a part of the fast.  If I did it then, I can do it now.  

3) I do have self-control.  If you had told me 3 years ago that I could go twenty-one days without eating a piece of candy, cheesecake, or having a Diet Coke, I would have laughed in your face.  This fast has taught me that I have way more self-control than I ever thought.  

4)  I like vegetables more than I thought.  I knew that I liked green beans.  But who knew how much I liked asparagus, cabbage, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini?  These things will continue to be a part of my diet to make less room for the french fries, onion rings, macaroni and cheese, and other unhealthy foods.  I don't plan to give these things up, but I do plan to practice moderation.  

In addition to these four things, I also learned a lot about being consistent, being dedicated, and staying the course.  There were several times when I wanted to give up and times near the end when I simply wanted to quit.  I remember the day when I had ketchup (probably around day 19) and I wanted to use that slip up as an excuse to throw in the towel.  However, I chose to put that intentional slip up behind me and finish what I committed to starting 20 days earlier.  

Looking back, I am thankful for the experience and look forward to challenging myself to move into the deep in 2015!