In Between

You may have noticed this space has been a little sparse lately.

To be perfectly honest, friends, I haven’t wanted to write here for some time and that has been so hard. This blog is like a sanctuary to me. In many ways, my heart and my soul have been bared in this space over the past year as God both wrecked me and restored me.

Since I began to blog about things more personal, rather than the superficial pop culture articles I wrote back when I first started blogging all those years ago, I’ve learned something about myself.

It’s really hard for me to write on a whim.

As much as I wish I could pop out post after post that both inspires and encourages, I just can’t. Try as I might, I just can make this space look like the rest of the lifestyle blogs out there who have seemed to master weaving their faith together with topical/promotional posts.

When the Lord moves me, I write. When He teaches me, I write.

It’s not that the Lord hasn’t been teaching me in this absence. On the contrary, He has been working so hard in me these last few weeks.

This school year is hard. The Lord has entrusted 16 children into my care this year and oh, how their needs are overwhelming. I long to have all of the answers and somehow find the magical intervention and visual aid that will solve the developmental and behavioral struggles we face.

I am weary. By Friday afternoon, I am lucky to be able to string coherent thoughts together. Hence why the post is a little on the ramble-y side….

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What the Mountain Teaches

What the Mountain Teaches

For me, going to the mountains has always felt like going home. My heart and my soul just work a little easier when my body is breathing in the fresh, mountain air. My mind eases it’s racing and my lungs exhale a little deeper.

I consider myself wholly blessed to have been able to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for four years of my young adult life. I attended Appalachian State University, just a stone’s throw away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain, in Boone, North Carolina. I’d gaze up to the tops of the surrounding mountain peaks as I walked to my classes and I’d sled down many a hill when the snow kept classes from being held.

Everything just seems to be a little clearer, easier even, when on mountain time.

A few weeks ago over Labor Day weekend, this special sense of relaxation found me just in time; amid a sea of assignment due dates and a million back to school tasks for my classroom. This choice was my own, to be both a teacher and a student, but the hustle and bustle of this season still takes me by surprise two years in. A year of pursuing a master’s degree in social media marketing followed by my choice to pursue a much better suited career as a child life specialist. Two years of wearing two hats at once. For most teachers, back to school season means long hours preparing for your new class but when you’ve got end of semester papers out the wazoo it all gets overwhelming very quickly. I become chained to my laptop and burdened by the hands on the clock that still have not found a way to slow down to let me get more done. I worked on my eight page paper right up to the hour before we hopped in the car to leave, hitting submit with a sigh of relief so that I could go and throw some clothes in a bag. As we inched closer to our destination, I mentally prepared myself to disconnect. The second we turn off of Interstate 77, our cell signal and access to the outside world disappears. And on this particular day, my entire being exhaled.

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I Love You, a Bushel and a Peck

It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since everything changed. In some ways, it feels like yesterday and in others it seems as if it were a lifetime ago. From December 2013 to January 2016, I lost six of my close family members but it’s these losses, these two in September 2015, that grabbed a hold of me and crumbled every wall and every barrier that I hadn’t even realized I had built. One year ago, not long after this post will go live, I stood at the foot of my grandmother’s hospital bed as she left this world for God’s kingdom. Less than 48 hours later, I stood outside of her house at 1:45 in the morning as her youngest daughter, my Aunt Shelia, joined her.

Grandma & a Baby Ashley

My grandmother was one of the strongest women that I know and to know my grandmother was to be loved by her. She raised her ten children to be the best aunts and uncles (and mom) I could ever wish for, something she did primarily on her own. Though her first taste of work was growing up on a tobacco farm, she worked as a waitress, a cook, a hairdresser, and a third-shift textile worker to help support them before eventually settling into her role with an organization that provided residential services to adults in the community with intellectual disabilities. She loved on her clients just as she loved on her own family, something that I hope I carry on in my own current role as a teacher to children with special needs. And although she had 15 grandchildren, she had a unique way of making each of us feel special when we were with her.

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Currently // Vol. 9

Currently

Welcome to September! This truly is one of my favorite months because it holds the start of Fall and the start of cooler temperatures here. Hallelujah! Check out all of the currently updates over on Anne’s blog!

Reading // Lesson plans? I’m more than a little bummed that a broke out of my reading rut towards the end of the summer…only to have it ruined by my going back to work. I spent Labor Day weekend in the mountains, though, away from cell service and internet so I was able to read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and make more headway on The Happiness Dare!

Trying // To stay awake. I wake up early to get to work, you guys….

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Currently // Vol. 8

Currently

Welcome to August, also known as the month that all teachers dread. Just three more weeks until I head back to work to prepare for my fourth year as a teacher and I’m not ready! I may act like I will be going back to work kicking and screaming but truthfully I am excited to get back to more structure and I will be bringing copious amounts of coffee with me. I wake up early during the school year, guys. Anyway, I am back to link up with Anne this month for the Currently linkup so enjoy!

Hearting // Netflix! I probably should be embarrassed by the fact that I have literally watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, like, at least three or four times since it hit the site but I just can’t bring myself to be. November 25 will be a dream, you guys. I also have been taking sometime to catch back up on The Vampire Diaries ahead of the eighth and final season this Fall. I watched TVD faithfully for the first five seasons but got out of it somewhere during season six. The recent announcement of the show’s end has me super nostalgic and I figure I should catch back up so that I can watch the final season. But seriously, I loved this show and it actually led me to some of my closest friends during my early blogging days….

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