Five Minute Friday: Collect

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Collect. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

This week really seemed to drag on for me. By Wednesday I was ready for the weekend. It was Spirit Week at school which naturally meant a week out-of-order. The students were squirrely. I was gravely behind in grading. A mountain of to-dos just piled up.

In a job that involves constant exchanges between teacher and students it is easy to build a collection of insurmountable papers and a sour attitude toward grading. Somehow throughout the course of this busy week I went from having a clean, organized desk to being buried beneath a ream of papers.

Things collect so quickly when you have over 150 students. And the state of my desk was a direct reflection of my state of mind.

So as I built up my collection of student work one thing I forgot to collect was positive thoughts. I turned my attention from the things scripture says I should focus on. Instead of thinking about truth, righteousness and love I found myself wallowing in self pity.

I sit this Friday evening and reflect on the week behind me. I realize that with each little annoyance or mishap this week I added it to the load already on my shoulders. Without meaning to I started a little collection of negativity to match my disheveled desktop. I let my workload dictate my mood, and that is the type of behavior that leads to defeat in a teacher’s world. Life as a teacher is always full of tasks. It isn’t a 7:30am-2:30pm job.

Teaching is a lifestyle and I’d be lying if I said it isn’t sometimes exhausting, but amidst the tiresome duties there is great reward.

I’m ready for a weekend to recharge. I need to collect enough positive thoughts to blot out the week behind me. I’m looking forward to beginning next week with a clean slate and a new perspective. Now…bring on the weekend!!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

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Dressing and Educating: Days 25-29

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Day 25: September 19, 2016

I woke up this morning ready to tackle another five day week. It is the beginning of the second half of the grading period. It’s time to strap on the teacher hat for real as my students approach their first tests and projects. The newness is beginning to wear off and many students are already showing signs of apathy. My goal is to put the quits on those bad habits from the start. I brought the energy and excitement to the classroom this Monday served with a side of lectures about staying on top of course work.

I wore a striped maxi dress from Old Navy, a white cardigan from New York and Company, and Sperry Topsider flip flops.

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Day 26: September 20, 2016

I’m excited to begin teaching a new novel. For the first time ever I will be teaching a unit on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. In class today I set up the context of the setting with a brief American History lesson. The students engaged with ideas about the Dust Bowl, The Great Depression, and the migration to California in pursuit of the American Dream. Each student had a chance to describe their American dream and we discussed the dream that George and Lennie will be pursuing as we read Of Mice and Men. I used an interactive lesson to help students engage with the historical context of the novel.

In history we reviewed ideas about England and traced the monarchy from Queen Elizabeth I until the Glorious Revolution.

It was a fun day full of energy and positivity. I need more days like this throughout the year!

I was wearing my brand new Ilaria Crochet Trim Tunic by Alice Blue from Stitch Fix and leggings from Lula Roe with Sperry shoes. I loved this outfit today!

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Day 27: September 21, 2016

I’ve made it through another Hump Day!

I don’t have much to complain about today. The weather is beautiful. My students have been engaged in the classroom. And my year is still off to a great start.

We cracked open Of Mice and Men today for the first time and already the mice are flying and my students are excited to keep reading. We examined primary sources about the Protestant Reformation, Thirty Years War, and the War of Austrian Succession today in honors history. It was fascinating to observe some of the discussions about religion and theology that took place in my class as a result of these documents. Overall, I had an enjoyable day!

I was dressed up in one of my first Stitch Fix scores from fix #2. This top is a Queensland Dolman Jersey Top by 41 Hawthorne. I paired this with khaki pants and my black, lace overlay Toms.

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Day 28: September 22, 2016

It was a large coffee kind of morning. I woke up stiff and sore from a workout and tired as my body is combating the symptoms of allergies. So far I’ve been able to fend off an allergy flare up, but the true test lies ahead with dropping temperatures.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a great crop of students this year. They make rolling out of bed with aching joints and throbbing headaches worth all of the hassle. I look forward to my conversations with them about curriculum and their interests outside of the four walls of my classroom.

In English we learned a little bit about George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men. In history we compared and contrasted leaders from Austria and Prussia in the 1700s.

It was a great Thursday!

I wore a tunic from Primark in England, leggings from Old Navy, and a kimono from H&M.

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Day 29: September 23, 2016

TGIF!

It was a great end to a great week today. Each of my classes took a review and each class earned participation points due to scores on the reviews. I was very proud of the progress that my classes have been making and I’m continuing to be pleased with their efforts and participation.

This Friday I was dressed from head to toe in Stitch Fix gear.

My top was Iglesia Pleated Blouse by Paper Moon from my fourth Stitch Fix.

My pants were Adorra Skinny Jean by Just Black from my latest Stitch Fix

My red Toms were from my fifth fix.

Here’s a recap of my style this week. Which look is your favorite?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

My First Published Poem!

Over the past year and a half I have been a part of a wonderful online community of bloggers known as The Five Minute Friday. Every Friday we head over to Kate Motaung’s page where she has posted the one-word theme for the day. As a member of that community I get to grab the image for the theme and then spend five minutes crafting a post around that theme. Afterwards, I link-up on her page so that the rest of the community can take a look at my post and then I choose some others to read and comment on.

Being a member of Five Minute Friday has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve met people and read stories from all over the world. These people are so encouraging and check in with me from time to time outside of the Friday posts.

In the spring, I found out that the Five Minute Friday community was going to publish their first book. It would be a collection of some of the best posts done in five minutes flat. And of all the members, I was chosen to contribute to the book!

I’m so excited to announce that the Five Minute Friday book is now released and able to be purchased. All profits will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe–so we’d love to sell as many books as possible to impact these fantastic ministries!

I ordered my copy last week when they went on pre-sale for contributors and I cannot wait to share photos and stories once I get my own copy.

If you are interested in purchasing the book, click on the title of Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat.

“We threw caution to the wind and we wrote our guts out.” -Lisa Jo Baker (founder of Five Minute Friday)

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The Ameri Brit Mom

24 Book Challenge: A Book Published in 2016

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #16 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Tru & Nelle

Author: G. Neri

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Copyright Date: 2016

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Another chance to live the timeless tale of To Kill A Mockingbird was my original draw toward this new book by G. Neri. The novel is based around the true childhood friendship between Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. This friendship also served as inspiration for Lee’s famous classic.

In this novel, Nelle takes on the persona of Scout Finch. Living in Monroeville, Alabama, with her lawyer father, Nelle meets her new neighbor, Truman, and the two become fast friends. Both of the children are outsiders in their community. Nelle is the daughter of an insane woman and she walks the streets of Monroeville in her dirty coveralls and boyish haircut. Truman has been abandoned by his parents and has moved in with his Aunt Jenny next door to the Lees. The two misfits bond over their love for stories and their passion for mystery.

In search of real life mysteries Tru and Nelle encounter theft, lies, and crimes of true hate. One night, while following a niche, the young duo comes face-to-face with one of the most notorious hate groups of the south. Faced with the realities of racism and violence Tru and Nelle begin to mend the brokenness of their southern town.

I was delighted to find the beautiful parallels between this novel and To Kill a Mockingbird. I felt as though I was being reunited with Scout, Dill, Atticus, and Maycomb County. And as I neared the end of the book I was fed a gem by the author-my favorite quote of all time:

“you never really know until you consider things from their point of view. Until you can climb inside of their skin and walk around in it…”

Not to be melodramatic, but when I read this line a little hallelujah chorus went off in my head.

This time around Boo Radley might not have been the object which caused the young children to shift their worldview, but learning to live alongside people who are different is still a major theme in this book.

Now that I’ve read this book I’d like to read some of Truman Capote’s work. I’ve currently read EVERYTHING published by Harper Lee and I now feel like I could recite every detail of her childhood in Monroeville. Other than A Christmas Memory which I saw and read in college I am unfamiliar with the work of Capote. In the future I hope to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s or In Cold Blood.

If you are a fan of anything by Harper Lee I strongly urge you to pick up Tru and Nelle. You will not be disappointed!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Aristotle’s Rhetoric: The Irresistible Novel

I’m officially closing the book The Irresistible Novel after this post. It’s been a great journey over the past twenty-seven weeks. This study has no doubt helped to shape me as a writer and helped me to evaluate and form my own writing voice. The last idea discussed in this fantastic writing book by Jeff Gerke is Aristotle’s Rhetoric.

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Aristotle’s Rhetoric

According to Aristotle, there are three methods to move your reader along the path of persuasion and ultimately land them where you hope they will end up: at the end of your story.

In his first method of seeming credible, Aristotle states that a reader is more inclined to read your work if you at least seem credible in your subject matter. Your work should be perceived as accurate and trustworthy.

The second method of persuasion is all about putting your reader in the right mood and its importance can be summed up with, “the orator has to arouse emotions…because emotions have the power to modify our judgments.”(Gerke 218)

The third method involves creating a great case. Rousing emotion and curiosity will culminate in the creation of a great case balanced with evidence and testimony to the great story of the orator’s.

To Sum it all up…

As I close this book for the last time and finalize this in-depth writing study I want to remind you of all of the lessons I’ve examined from Gerke’s book.

Here’s a look at all previous chapters:

Chapter 1: Prologues

Chapter 2: Description

Chapter 3: -Ly Adverbs

Chapter 4: Purple Prose and Painted Paragraphs

Chapter 5: The Immediate Inciting Incident

Chapter 6: “To Be” Verbs

Chapter 7: Show Versus Tell

Chapter 8: Begin with Action

Chapter 9: Point of View

Chapter 10: Speech Attributions

Chapter 11: Outlining

Chapter 12: That

Chapter 13: Switching Between Story Lines

Chapter 14: Floating Body Parts

Chapter 15: Gerunds and Beyond

Chapter 16: Breaking the Fourth Wall

Chapter 17: Weasel Words

Chapter 18: Read Everything

Chapter 19: Elmore Leonard’s Rules

Chapter 20: The Big Enchilada

Chapter 21: Hacking Your Reader’s Brain

Chapter 22: Character Brain-Plot Brain

Chapter 23: A Brain Chemistry Story Map

Chapter 24: What’s It All About, Alfie

Chapter 25: The Monomyth

Chapter 26: Archetypes

In other news, next week I will be beginning an in-depth study of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ve heard so much about this book and I look forward to expanding my writing skills and passion as a result of this book.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Five

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Five. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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Before I plug away at my five minute limit I want to take a brief minute and make an announcement regarding my involvement on a Five Minute Friday project.

This Monday, the book Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat will be released on Amazon’s CreateSpace. On Tuesday I will be providing a link to purchase this book. I’m extremely excited because I contributed one of my very own Five Minute Friday posts in this book as well as a quote about the community and what it has meant to me. Be looking for the link next week!  All profits for this book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe–so we’d love to sell as many books as possible to impact these fantastic ministries!

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The past five days have been many things for me.

They’ve meant mourning, forgiveness, productivity, and joy.

I’ve taken a plunge from the top of a mountain, through the valley, and summitted the peak yet again.

Tears have stained my cheeks.

Words have stung my heart.

Hope has been planted, watered, and begun to show signs of life.

Apathy has been crushed.

Confidence rendered.

Longing has been satisfied and fears postponed.

The five days that have made up this week have been amazing, but I’m glad to be able to shut the book on this one.

As I sit counting my blessings and reflecting on this week I’m reminded that the only way I’ve made it through is with the power of God and His Spirit within me.

The Ameri Brit Mom

One Last Shot!

This is the final call for entries into my first giveaway!

I will be giving away a free copy of The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke to one lucky subscriber who fills out the following form. Be sure to read all of the details before signing up!

Give Away Details

This give away is in response to a blog series that has received phenomenal feedback and readership throughout its course. If you are interested in writing, have written a novel in the past, or are simply curious about some of the finer points of writing please take the time to answer one simple question for a chance to win your very own FREE copy of The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke

1. Complete this short survey. Be sure to answer all fields in order to qualify for the random drawing: https://goo.gl/forms/s9cvqiiuElCPdIq43

2. The survey will be open from Saturday 9/3 until Saturday 9/24 at 11:59pm.

3. The winner will be contacted and announced on Sunday 9/25.

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Dressing and Educating: Days 20-24

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Day 20: September 12, 2016

The best kind of Monday is one spent at home.

I took my first personal day of the year as I always do. For the past four years I’ve been out of work on September 12 to spend my daughter’s birthday with her. My husband, daughter, and I celebrated at home this year. With all the partying we did over the weekend in honor of my daughter turning four it was a welcomed day of relaxing and allowing my daughter time to play with all of her new gifts.

I would never trade a relaxing day as a family for anything in the world. I live for these days and these moments of shutting down our busy lives to make memories. Never forget the importance of unplugging with your family. It was so worth it. Because of this opportunity to recharge I feel ready to conquer the new week and its challenges.

Above my daughter is dressed in an adorable dress we picked up this summer from Pep and Co. in England, and a necklace she received for her birthday from Carters.

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Day 21: September 13, 2016

It was a fun day of catching up after an absence. I always say that it’s almost not worth missing a day of school as a teacher because of all of the sub plans and the catching up that accompanies an absence. Yesterday my substitute teacher spoke about his experiences on September 11, 2001 and it was neat to hear some of the notes my students took and things that they learned from him. I do think it is nice for them to hear from someone other than me sometimes. I think they really enjoyed his stories and personality.

After school today we had a staff meeting. Not that they are the most terrible thing ever, but I always find it hard to focus at staff meetings. I generally end my day with a lengthy to-do list and I subconsciously spend staff meetings trying to plot the quickest way to tick everything off that list before locking up for the evening. It wasn’t a bad meeting though. Short, quick, and to the point. (My favorite kind of meeting if there is such a thing.)

I was feeling nautical this morning in my Fun 2 Fun Rinald Front Pocket Blouse from my summer Stitch Fix. I paired the top with an Outback Red Chambray Blazer from The Limited. On my bottom half I added some color with red jeggings and then added a little denim accent to match the blazer with my charcoal, denim Toms. I woke up this morning ready to rock this four day week!

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Day 22: September 14, 2016

I had a blast teaching about the English Monarchy today. It’s one of my favorite topics for the whole year.

I was wearing an orange pleated Old Navy dress with a Ellaine Open Cardigan by Papermoon from Stitch Fix. Of course I had to have my gray lace Toms to match dressed-up look.

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Day 23: September 15, 2016

It was a pony-tail rocking Thursday. After a tough workout class on Wednesday night, I found myself sore and unhappy about my early alarm. A quick shower and securing my hair up with a cute, jeweled headband was my style of choice this morning.

I had a fun day talking about the current royal family of England. We discussed the drama, rumors, and scandals associated with such a beloved family. We also talked about America’s obsession with the Windsors (the royal family’s last name in case you thought their last name was “of England”) and the legacy of Diana. I think it was a day of enjoyment for my history students.

In English, the classes are wrapping up their first narrative. They are currently typing their rough drafts. I really enjoy this assignment. It’s essentially a food review in that they choose their favorite food, explain it using sensory language, and then describe a personal experience or memory attached to that food. It’s a unique way of pairing narrative writing with something every kid enjoys–food!

Today I am wearing black pants from The Limited, a red top from Primark in England, and a black and white striped cardigan from Fig Leaf Boutique.

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Day 24: September 16, 2016

I cannot believe how quickly we have reached the interim of the first grading period. My school always releases students early on the last day of the interim in order to have staff Professional Development. Most of my class periods were under half an hour. It was a relaxed day in the classroom and all students were out of the building by 12:32pm.

In the Professional Development session we met as a high school staff to look over our building Continuous Improvement Plan. We discussed what was going well so far this year and ways that we need to better implement the plan in our building.

I received some pretty bad news this week about someone I care about that has really affected me emotionally. I decided once the development was over that I would stay a little later in my room so that everything was ready to go for next week and I could get back on the Positive Train. More than ever it is important to be present and alert for my students and I worry that I unintentionally let my fears reside in the back of my mind all week.

Above I am wearing a Vikings t-shirt for my casual Friday outfit. I layered the t-shirt under and navy and white flannel from Primark in England. On my bottom half I wore a pair of denim jeggings and my original boat shoe Sperrys.

I’m ready to rest and relax so I can be renewed on Monday morning!

Which outfit was your favorite this week?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Stitch Fix #8

A year ago I embarked on a rewarding journey with Stitch Fix. I heard some friends talking about this online service that sends clothes to your front door with no pressure to purchase. I went home and did some research and by the end of the day I was signed up as a Stitch Fix customer. My experience with Stitch Fix has been nothing but positive. I’ve loved nearly every piece shipped to my home. My stylist and I have begun an open dialogue about pieces I’d like to see in my fixes. To top it all off, I became a Stitch Fix Influencer in August.

This is a company that I have loved more with each fix. Every box feels tailored to my style and body type. I’m so excited to share with you my fix #8. This is the first fix where I have purchased EVERY item.

1. Mark Twisted Lead Hinge Bracelet (Romolo)

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I’m always on the lookout for gold jewelery. I love the way this hinge bracelet lays and the fact that it pairs well with my Alex and Ani collection.

2. Adorra Skinny Jean (Just Black)


One of the first pairs of skinny jeans to really fit my body well would be these. I’ve always wanted to wear skinny jeans, but because of the proportions of my body they’ve just not fit well. I’ve settled for leggings or jeggings in the past, but this pair of true skinny jeans has me feeling all sorts of good vibes about the size of my hips and thighs.

3. Annaway Cable Knit Sweater (RD Style)


A cute, basic sweater is hard to come by so I knew better than to pass up an opportunity to own this adorable knit sweater. I think the colors make it easy to accessorize. It is fairly versatile as well. I’m so stoked about this piece.

4. Gusta Two Pocket Top (Skies Are Blue)


Plaid is all the rage this season. You can never have too much plaid in the fall so this quality two-pocket, plaid top will get plenty of wear. I can’t wait to pair this top with my new skinny jeans!

5. Ilaria Crochet Trim Tunic (Alice Blue)


I specifically asked my stylist to send me a tunic that I could wear as the seasons transition. This tunic is absolute perfection. With its flowing sleeves and crochet details this top will pair easily with just about any bottoms or accessories one can fathom. I’m looking forward to trying this top out with some patterned leggings, my skinny jeans, and a pair of jeggings.

Which pieces did you love?

Also, don’t forget to use my Stitch Fix Influencer link should you choose to give Stitch Fix a try for yourself. That link gives me credit for sharing the love of all things SF. You can also click on my banners in the margin 🙂

The Ameri Brit Mom

**This post contains affiliate links. I may get compensated as a result of this post. 

Autumn Air

Although the Autumn Equinox will not be until Thursday in Ohio there is something in the air that tells my body that autumn has already begun. Maybe it’s the football games, tailgates, pumpkin spice lattes, or sudden appearance of harvested corn everywhere that is informing me of the swift change of season. Whatever it might be I will not complain. Late summer was too hot for me. Five minutes or more in the sun’s blaze meant unpleasant puddles of sweat in all sorts of places. I’m excited for the prospects of autumn like comfortable temperatures, cozy sweaters, and my hometown festival, The Pumpkin Show.

As the morning dew is beginning to appear and the sun sets a little earlier I’m excited to break out my autumn decor. Decorating for the seasons is an annual thing in our family. I try to buy or create something new each year to add to my collection. Here is a look at some of my fall decor for the 2016 season.

Happy fall y’all!

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My Harvest door hanger, pumpkin, and hay stack all from Michaels.

The Ameri Brit Mom