end of the year

So, if you know me, you know I love a couple of things – arts and crafts and personalization. I worked with many, many amazing people this year, but I wanted to share my gratitude to two of my coworkers who picked up my slack, poured in ideas, took great initiative, and truly eased the burden of so much “stuff” that had to happen this year. Enter Treat Greeting Cards. You know Shutterfly, right? You may have ordered Christmas cards from them like we have! …. Well, Treat a newer brand of theirs! This website and their products have absolutely stolen my crafty, personalized loving heart! The specialize in cards, phone cases, and mugs; fun, useful items like that! I went to order these two gals cards thinking I would just be able to add a picture and my own greeting/signature.  I was already stressing thinking I had to find a card that would communicate something close to what I wanted to say. I even feared I’d have to be uber creative in making a card “work” that really didn’t. But, when I say I personalized just about EVERY aspect of  these cards. Ya’ll I was in heaven. Heaven. Heaven. Heaven. The fact that I was able to personalize the message sent me over the moon!! Annnnnd, then they came on the day they Treat said they would. Yes, they give you an accurate delivery date and will even send the card to your bud or stud if time is of the essence. THRILLED. I mean. I couldn’t be happier! The gals seemed to really enjoy them and one of my other coworkers is already planning and creating cards for a few of her friends! I mean, who wouldn’t want their face with a personalized message on a card?!

Check these out! while simultaneously excusing my work area. I live/work/paint/etc here!! amy2dewalt2Yes, I threw in a little Aibileen from The Help!!

Then… Two more of my favorite things in the entire world – painting and personalization collide…. Every single cheer or classroom gift I’ve given my kids has been an initial, a personalized picture frame (complete with their name & photograph!), SOMETHING with their name on it… and, I’ve made it myself. With attempting to not make it look homemade. lol. 

This year, my vision for my cheerleaders’ gifts were chalkboards. And, as frustrated as I was about the paint pens not making precise, clean lines – it does kinda look like chalk. I had to seriously fight my inner perfectionist and not focus so much on what is “wrong” or why it isn’t perfect and delight in the fact that it looks just like what I wanted it to look like. (Doesn’t life just work out that way sometimes?) I love that the black paint has a slight, slight shimmer to it, too!!! Annnnnd, I didn’t get paint of any furniture or carpet this time!! Woooooot!!!

Here are a few of the finished “chalkboards” aleshadanielle And, then my heart was happy.

… cheers to finding new ways to love on those you love and appreciate most!!!
(And, you still have time to love on your kiddos’ teachers, your fave coworker, classmate, teammate or WHOEVER before that very last day of school!!!)


… the teachers

As a teacher of the young ones…. (6-9yo) & an aunt & a “helper” of the children’s dance ministry at church- I find that there is a lot of instructing about life & relationships that happen constantly throughout the day.

We help children get along, but forget that the same we “rules” and logic of interacting we teach them, we don’t follow ourselves.
Child: _____ is being mean to me.
Me: Ok. Remember that you don’t have to play with anyone who is mean to you. {logic}
Me to the mean child (who I’ve probably talked to daily about their behavior): Why are you upset? That’s not a reason to ____. Do you want to play with someone who yells or says mean things to you? (Kid:No.) Then, if you continue to treat people unkindly, they won’t want to play with you either. If you want friends, be nice.

**** true story *****

I ran across All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten this morning and totally realized that we as adults don’t follow the same rules we try to teach our kids.
I guess we feel that on some level our adulthood and adult problems supersede any rule of relating to another person.

Which is one very surfacey (yes, I made that up) reason as to why I’m strongly against only children. You aren’t exposed to life with other people at a foundational, no way around it level. You learn to live life alone & with people on your own terms and that’s just not real life.
(Now, before you call the dogs- I have some great friends who are only children….. I love them dearly. They know how I feel & my stance won’t change). And, I have great explanations…. Keep reading! 20131231-125111.jpg

So. Here they are (with a bit of commentary, of course!)
1. Share everything
• all throughout life we are going to have to share on some level. It truly is fun, you get more, & you have the opportunity to bond & problem solve.
• on the other hand, there are times when it really is okay to say “No.” – be true to yourself & have pure motives, but don’t watch someone go without because of greed or some sort of unresolved issue.
2. Play fair.
• this includes not manipulating others to get your way and treating people the way you want to be treated.
3. Don’t hit people.
• self explanatory. The person being hit has a growing resentment for the aggressor and will do one of two things:
a. become incredibly aggressive verbally or in action
b. shrink to avoid conflict.
I personally believe “a” will occur sooner than later and there will be an enormous backlash bc now there is a war of egos & survival. Whether or not that anger is taken out on the right person is a toss up.
4. Put things back where you found them.
• everyone knows where it is
• there’s no conflict behind where it could be
However, when said item is not where it should be (because it will never already be) , it’s an awesome opportunity to learn to speak kindly & show patience in frustration.
5. Clean up your own mess.
• please parents, as I speak to myself and for all teachers, doing everything for your child is not helping them. You are hurting them & causing issues with their future roommates & spouses. They won’t learn to pick up after themselves once they leave the coop because you’ve “shown them how” & they’re “used to it”. They only thing you’ve (we’ve) shown them to do is make a mess and walk away.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
• respect other’s property & work hard & be patient for what you want.
• ask to borrow!!!! And treat the borrowed good with respect. It shows you’re trustworthy & reliable.
7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone.
• intentionally or unintentionally!
If they didn’t mean it, show grace & forgive.
If they did, show mercy & forgive.
We’ve all done things intentionally & unintentionally to hurt another person…. We want grace, mercy, forgiveness. We want our perspectives understood. We all need to learn how to respond appropriately & talk issues out. Let’s not teach passive aggressive behavior. Work it out. Be honest in your conversation.
8. Wash your hands before you eat. …. Or, at least sanitize. Especially before you cook or prepare another’s meal. It’s just considerate to everyone.
9. Flush. …. Then, wash your hands before leaving the bathroom. Statistics on the disgusting germs, bacteria, and body fluids/waste that are transferred via door knobs, chairs, pens, tables, crayons, & pencils is astoundingly gross. I tell my kids “we share pencils, erasers, crayons, & smiles – not germs. Cover your mouth & wash your hands.” Real life. I can also be caught saying “Ew. Cover your mouth I don’t want your germs.” It’s real life. If you get me sick, I have to take off work, infect my husband, etc, etc. I don’t want to take days off bc I’m sick. Those days are for fun. Sorry.
10. Warm cookies and milk are good for you. …. Or cupcakes, wine, martinis, whiskey (my drink of choice), and cake. Indulgence is okay. We all need a break in the form of tasty goodness. We also need a snack to keep our sugar levels at a stable level – crankiness unnecessary issues arise when we’re hungry. Snack time (or happy hour, dinners, etc) are awesome opportunities to socialize and blow off steam. We all need a break.
11. Learn, draw, paint, sing, dance, play, work daily. we can go through life not working. It’s a part of it. But, there’s also a balance that must be found as we work to have some sort of life. Having fun and exploring creative outlets definitely give us the opportunity to think outside of the box and unwind/disengage from the business of life while doing something healthy that we enjoy. All work & no play makes us grumpy and burns us out really quickly. Working out and getting some sun does wonders! (Recess is a life saver!)
12. Take a nap every afternoon. …. Or, 8 hours of sleep. We can’t all nap during the day, but we can all get an adequate amount of rest that will allow us to be alert, focused, and kind to those around us. Exhaustion & fighting sleep isn’t beneficial for anyone. Take a break, take a nap. When you wake up, you’re in a much better position to tackle the world.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, & stick together.
**** my favorite **** If you are kind, and share, if you’ve learned to problem solve with the goal of unity rather than getting your way….. You will see that living in this world alone is not fun. It’s not exciting. It’s scary and heartbreaking and lonely. Creating a group of people who enjoy each other, are loyal & committed to the good of each person, & who will not only stand by you in the good but go with you as you cross the street, search for the restroom, & get past the scary/crazy/incredibly nice person is something spectacular.

The stories, growth, adventures, memories, & experiences that shape you have everything to do with who is holding your hand at every up and down. You become like the ones your commit your life to. Whether it’s your friends or spouse your sorority sisters or the family you choose to surround yourself with.

There are times in my classroom when I’m disciplining or explaining how or why we should treat each other and I am often shushed by my own realizations of what I’ve done. No one is perfect and we all have to be reminded of what to do & how we should do it.

There’s no room to play victim or point fingers. Relationships are so important and I believe we have to do our best to build & preserve them.

…. here’s to putting others first and learning to think of them as more highly than ourselves. Putting their perspectives & feelings into play and just being considerate!

Are you willing??


… teachable moments


I’m sitting at my desk, watching my students come in and interact with each other as they prepare for their day and I’m humbled.

As an educator, I’m not paid much but am reminded daily why investing in these children is more important than choosing not to teach because of salary.

Education is humbling. It’s a big job that causes so many unknown ripple effects & impacts. I teach my second graders quite a bit throughout the year but they educate me, as well. I appreciate how my students and I mold each other.

As you prepare for your day, no matter what it is that you do, walk into your day recognizing that you are in a unique opportunity to honor God in a multitude of ways.
Ask God how you can glorify Him today and don’t shy away from opportunities that he presents you with.

…. here’s to seeing our jobs and careers as opportunities to serve and worship God through how we interact with each other.