Crowd: Five Minute Friday

Here I am…another week of showing up late to the party. I had the best of intentions to post before school on Friday, but a six-month-old had her own plans for my morning. So here I am, Saturday afternoon, in my office space, drinking in the silence of a resting household and joining my crew of positive writers over at Five Minute Friday. This week the prompt is Crowd. Here is my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing:

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My eyes follow the crowd of students gathered in the hallway. Glancing from left to right I catch a glimpse of half a dozen wanderers. Our vision locks if only for a split second, but that time tells me all I need to know.

Some of those eyes crease to smile back at me. Some drop straight to the floor. Others quickly glance away pretending that they never locked with me in the first place. It’s easier that way. If they can pretend no one saw then they don’t have to share that pain they carry like the backpack on their shoulders.

But I see through all of that.

Those who want to be seen–I see you. I celebrate all that you are and I dream for you and all you will be.

Those who look down–you are not just another face in the crowd. You are special and I won’t let you slip through the cracks.

Those who pretend that they didn’t see me–I know the weight of this world and I can help you bear it.

May the students I come in contact with every day know that they are cared for and loved. May they know that though they stand in a crowd that they are one-of-a-kind. May they fight the urge to look away. May they let our glances meet for a moment and may my heart say a prayer as eyes meet.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

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Happy Birthday

It’s been another year of blessings with you. Your smile is beautiful. Your heart is big. Your laugh is contagious. And my love for you is endless. Six years ago you made me a Mom and every step of this journey I’ve been beyond thankful that God chose me to raise you. You’ve taught me so much and made me so proud.

Happy 6th Birthday, Arianna!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Indigo Roads

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This is my friend Heather.

She is one beautiful woman that I am thankful for having crossed paths with in life. The first time I met her was in a Small Group that we visited years ago, and then we’ve continued to develop our friendship on the sidelines of soccer fields and basketball courts. Our kiddos are all close and we now attend church together as well. Heather is a beautiful soul who gives her ALL in everything she does. Her love for the Lord is also evident in the way she raises her boys and serves the children and families of our community.

I could go on and on about how much I admire her. She’s pretty fantastic.

Today, I want to give some love to her newest venture. Heather is the creative mind behind Indigo Roads Boutique.

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Heather designs and creates earrings using genuine leather and a Cricut machine. Her designs are beautiful and fun and I just cannot get enough of them. Browsing her website has become one of my favorite pastimes. The things she can do with a little bit of leather and a blade blow my mind! When I think I’ve seen it all she comes out with a new design.

Over the past few months I’ve built up a collection for my daughter and I…

All of her earrings are lightweight, comfortable, versatile, and gorgeous. Whenever I wear them I get so many compliments. Of course, I carry around her business cards and hand them out whenever someone brings them up. I’m all about helping a friend in her small business and Heather makes that so easy with her awesome products.

Some of my favorites currently in her albums…

How to Buy

If you want to browse Indigo Roads Boutique join her Facebook Group. Live sales are done frequently or you can purchase through commenting on a photo “sold” within her albums. Once you comment on a photo she will get in contact with you about payment via Paypal and will need your address for shipping. It’s a very simple process.

If you like what you see here please consider supporting Heather. Click on any of the links provided in this post and head over to her Facebook group. Let me know if you end up buying any of her products as a result of this post!

Which pair do you love most?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Rain: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and I’m up early in order to write alongside my favorite linkup before work. Five Minute Friday is a group of writers and bloggers from all over the world who join together once a week to write on a common topic. The topic this week is rain. Below is my five minutes of uninterrupted writing on the topic.

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The air is thick and beckoning the clouds to let loose. The ominous skies tempt us to believe that rain is on the way. Soon the bright orb of the sun breaks through and all signs of precipitation vanquish. Air has never felt this heavy. Come, rain, bring us relief!

This past week we lived in constant anticipation for rain. As the temperatures climbed, so did our desire to see the clouds break open. The weathermen even took our hopes captive as they promised rain. But the week is nearly over and not one drop has fallen in my little corner of the world. The grass withers outside my window and my allergies are acting up.

I’m hungry for relief. If the rain would fall (if even for a few minutes) maybe it would feel like September.

The Ameri Brit Mom

September Plan With Me: Bullet Journal Updates

August was a big month for me. I returned to work after a lengthy maternity leave, I arrived back in the USA after a month abroad, and my oldest daughter started kindergarten. With all of these additions to my schedule over the past thirty-one days I am pleased to say I stayed pretty consistent in my Bullet Journal routine.

Over the past few months my journal has been a refuge for me. Planning, scheduling, and making lists as a form of creative release has benefited me in so many ways. I worried that getting back into a busy routine would cause me to use my bullet journal less, but as I look back over my August pages I can tell that I still kept it a daily priority.

August Recap

I filled in my Habit and Anxiety trackers everyday! I also added a page for Arianna’s soccer season statistics and another for Bible Study notes as I read through the book of Jonah. I love the way these pages all turned out.

September

This month my pages were made using the following tools: PaperMate Flair pens, Veritas metallic glitter pens, Tombow Monodraw pens, brown and navy Cardstock, images from the Cricut Design App, and the Cricut Air 2.

September Theme: Football Friday Night

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On my title page for this month I used some metallic pens in gold, brown, and blue to create a sketch of my theme. The school colors for my local team are gold and navy so I used those colors to set the scheme for the month. This is a simple title page that highlights my lack of sketching ability.

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My weekly pages follow the color scheme for the month and include space for planning each day, journaling, and recording my meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I want to make sure that as the school year starts that I am still eating well and one way that motivates me is to keep record of what I am eating. Having to write down a horrible meal is reason enough to skip it for me. I used my Cricut to create embellishments this month. I’ve never used cardstock in my journal so I will see how well I like it.

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This month my Anxiety tracker takes the shape of a goal post. I added the cardstock football to help clarify what shape I was intending for the anxiety tracker. Each day of the month has a line on the goal post and I will color each according to my level of anxiety each day throughout the month.

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My fitness log follows the same outline as the past few months. It’s working well for me to track this way so I’m going to stick with it.

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I love the way this Weekly Review spread turned out. Each week this year I have recorded highlights from the week and something for which I am grateful.

One of my goals this month is to create a recycling plan for my family. Once I’ve established that I will post a picture. If your family recycles I’d love to hear tips and ways to make it fun for kids. I’m also looking for ideas for my October pages.

The Ameri Brit Mom

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Book Review

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Copyright Date: 2008

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London is recovering after the war and Juliet Ashton is looking to change direction in her writing career. She found success writing inspirational pieces during one of the darkest times of British history. Fate would have it that just as she began her search for a book idea that she received a letter from a man who found her address written in a secondhand book. Dawsey Adams lived on the English Channel island of Guernsey which suffered under German occupation in World War II.

Their correspondence piques Juliet’s interest. Dawsey tells of the restrictions placed on the residents of the island and the small literary society formed as a result. Desperate for companionship a group of islanders gathered weekly to share food, drinks, and books. And it was at these meetings that his dear friend, Elizabeth McKenna shone brightly.

The war took so many things from the islanders: wealth, dignity, safety, food, jobs, and worst of all Elizabeth McKenna. Their brave friend was shipped off to the continent leaving behind her daughter whom the society members took upon themselves to raise. Desperate to reunite with their missing member the rest of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society enlist the help of their newfound friend, Miss Ashton.

The letters begin to flood in to Juliet Ashton and before long she commits to visiting her pen pals to witness the devastation herself. She left behind her agent, boyfriend, and apartment to pursue her inspiration on Guernsey.

I first heard of this book over the summer while in England. A movie based on this novel was released recently and every bookstore shelved this title with their best sellers. Once I returned to the states I started to see the book everywhere. Online people were talking about it as well. And then Netflix released the movie in America.

I must say that after watching the movie this was one of those rare cases where I preferred the movie to the book. I did enjoy the book, but I found the format in which it was written to be a little less exciting than the cinematic interpretation. It is written in letter form. The pro–it’s a quick read. The con–because most of the story is a retelling of events from different character perspectives it lacks some suspense and is relatively limited in dialogue. I highly recommend this novel for many reasons, but I do think the movie warrants a viewing after the fact. Major differences do occur between the two, but I found the film enjoyable and I was able to understand the logic behind most of the changes to the plot and characters.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Rush: Five Minute Friday

It’s been two weeks since I last crafted a post for the Five Minute Friday link-up. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind, so it is really only fitting that today’s prompt is Rush. I try to join in every week with the link-up where writers all over the world free write for five minutes on the same prompt. I love linking up and reading the unique posts that come from the same inspiration. So here is my post:

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Three weeks ago we stepped off the plane and have been rushing around ever since!

The long, relaxing trip to England cut us all off from the overloaded schedules and chores back home. There were no meetings, practices, or expectations while we stayed with my in-laws. There was only taking life slowly and enjoying the time we shared with people we love.

It’s been three weeks, but something about the lifestyle we lead while overseas appeals so greatly that I miss it already. It’s caused me to question certain aspects of my life back home. I’ll leave you with some of the questions I’ve been wrestling with lately…

Why do we fill up so much of our time?

Living rushed is the American way, but is it really a healthy lifestyle?

In creating full schedules are we remembering to pencil-in time for ourselves?

In the midst of all the rushing are we taking time to notice all the miracles, blessings, and beauty around us?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Clinging to Promises

Romans 8:18-30 (NIV)

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified he also glorified.”

Wow! That’s a lot of great text. It’s scripture penned and gift wrapped by Paul. The promise of glory and the blessed hope we all can possess really got me through some of the hardest months of my life. At times I felt like I was sinking. All I could really do was cling to the promises in this passage. Promises like:

-our suffering now does not compare to the glory we will one day see

-liberation from bondage

-redemption of our bodies

-hope

-the Spirit intercedes for us

-God works for our good

All of these promises of God became mantras for my soul. Whenever the darkness crept in I sang these words or repeated them over and over to myself. And it is by the grace of God that I am able to stand on and claim those promises instead of letting despair have the last word.

Two weeks after giving birth to Aleah I started getting out and moving around. My c-section healed nicely, and I went to the doctor and was cleared to do most activities. The day of my first venture out of the house I remember thinking how blessed I had been with this delivery. Things went fairly smoothly and Aleah was as healthy as could be. When I awoke that morning my leg was a bit sore, but I didn’t think too much about it because I had been almost sedentary for two weeks.

Fast forward to the night time.

The girls were both finally asleep and my husband and I were settling into bed ourselves. Out of no where I had this feeling that something just wasn’t right. Yes, my leg was sore, but it just seemed like a charley horse…nothing serious. I turned out the lights and tried to sleep. But the tossing and turning I experienced I realize now was the Spirit trying to get my attention. After a bit my leg hurt more and more and I decided I needed to get to the hospital. Quickly!

Sure that I was over-reacting I told my husband to stay home with the girls and I phoned my mother to take me into the Emergency Room. I kissed him good-bye and thought I’d be home a few hours later with nothing but a diagnosis of paranoia.

I presented my symptoms to the nurses who felt my leg. There was no visible symptoms, but they decided since I was two weeks out from surgery that they would run a couple of tests. They skipped the d-dimer test which usually is the first step in diagnosing a blood clot, because my c-section would certainly cause that test to show positive. A CT scan was run and a couple of blood tests.

After nearly an hour my doctor (who minutes before was talking about discharging me) came into the room and started with, “Don’t shoot the messenger…” (a very odd way to deliver a diagnosis I must add)

What I felt in my leg was in fact a blood clot, but it had broken off at least in part and traveled to my lungs. My diagnosis was a Pulmonary Embolism, a life threatening condition. I was admitted and almost immediately started on heparin, a blood thinner. In that time I was so thankful for my mother. From the moment I found out about the clot until about three days later I was in shock. The fact I had this clot and was only two weeks past delivery really messed with my hormones and mental stability. I barely spoke for days and my mind went to a fairly bleak place.

I let fear in as I tried to cope. I saw the doom and darkness over the redemption I had been given. I tried to have a heart of gratitude that the Spirit had gotten me the help I needed in time, but in all honesty I couldn’t do much but tremble with fear. I thought about how my family would be taken care of if I wasn’t there…and let me tell you–those are not happy thoughts. I was messed up, my spirit was broken. But through it all I called out to God.

A few days after I came home a friend shared the scripture above on Facebook. I remember crying as I read it, because I needed it. I hadn’t really spoken much yet and I didn’t even really know what to say, but I was comforted by the words, “the Spirit intercedes for us,” and “all things work for good.” This spoke to me because when I sat trembling at the hospital I sensed the presence of God there. At the time I didn’t know what to pray, but I know the Spirit interceded for me. The Spirit knew my heart and God answered my terrified prayers.

The more that time passed the more I began to see this situation as a miracle. Not everyone with this diagnosis lives. In fact, a third of them don’t. My symptoms were not typical, and when I first entered the ER the nurses and doctors thought everything was fine.

Six months later I am hoping to glorify God with my testimony.

I am clinging to the promises of Romans 8:28. God has saved my soul and my body to live according to His purpose. Knowing His Word and reading it daily has equipped me to overcome the struggle.

I can’t tell you how many times I sang, prayed, and quoted scripture in those days. Being immersed in His words gave me the strength I needed to make it through and it is continuing to help me move forward. I am encouraged to share what he’s done for me, but it all starts with the time I spend with Him everyday.

The next three months I took blood thinners and was on a first-name basis with the receptionist at the doctor’s office because I visited so frequently. I ran the gamut of tests, but in the end I was cleared! I prayed that all blood tests would come back normal, and they did. No blood disorders! And I am now at no-elevated risk for recurrent clots and I am no longer on blood thinners. The clot was likely caused by the combination of surgery and heightened estrogen levels post-partum. No matter the cause or the purpose I know that my God is good and He works everything out according to His good will.

The Ameri Brit Mom

PS-This picture was taken the day of my PE…just goes to show that everything looked fine, but before long I would learn that it definitely wasn’t. Also…can you see the baby I’m wearing? I was trying to figure out the holds for a newborn and snapped this picture to show that I got it wrong, so don’t worry I didn’t carry her around all day like that!

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Good

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Some days are worse than others.

Some nights seem like they will never end.

Some breaths are heavy.

Some worries are dark.

But through the fog of anxiety I can see a flicker of light. If I focus hard enough I can see illumination. Like a lighthouse, God’s Word calls my heart home. There are moments of paralyzing fear, but they are followed by moments of remembering. I remember that I am a Child of God. I remember that I am His and so there is no need to fear. I remember that HE IS GOOD.

I may not understand all of the pain, but I can rest in knowing that God’s will is perfect and His purpose is good. I pray for beauty to come from this season and for light to overcome darkness. Through it all, the Lord is good!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Well, We Survived!

Week one of school is in the books and all four of us survived. Naps were essential, and sure, there were some meltdowns, but we made it! Life is starting to settle into routines and each day gets a little easier. For me, I started my eighth school year teaching ninth grade in a public school. My husband started his seventh year of teaching elementary school and my daughter is now in kindergarten at his school!

All in the first week we experienced: the end of my blessed maternity leave, a new sitter for the baby, Arianna’s first lost tooth, Sam’s first week of coaching Arianna’s new soccer team, and a new season of AWANA at our church.

It’s been a crazy week, but I love it all!

I love watching my girls flourish and I am actually really happy to be back in the classroom. The school year is off to a great start!

 

The Ameri Brit Mom