Valentine Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It was a very festive time in our house. But in the midst of the busy schedule and endless to-do list we made time to appreciate the people in our lives that mean the most to us.

Here’s a look at 3 events that we participated in last week.

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1. Random Acts of Kindness Week Ornament Drop

At the elementary school my daughter attends they focused on doing acts of random kindness. This was promoted with spirit-dress week and the end-of-week project.

For this project the students created an ornament with a positive message to be delivered to someone of their choice. They were to take a picture with their ornament and let their teacher know who they chose and why that person was selected. My daughter’s teacher challenged the kids to choose someone they don’t know very well.

Instantly, our daughter thought of our next door neighbor. She’s a single, middle-aged woman who tends to keep to herself. Whenever we have the rare opportunity to see her we wave and smile. Aside from doing yard work or shoveling snow at the same time we haven’t had many opportunities to interact with her.

Following our daughter’s lead, our whole family went next door and delivered the ornament. The neighbor was so grateful and let our daughter know that it made her lonely Valentine’s Day so much better to receive that gift.

 

2. Classroom Party

Weeks ago my daughter and I scoured Pinterest for the perfect Valentine’s Day box. Then, using my Cricut and a few supplies from Michaels we put together a pretty cute unicorn-themed box. With her craft skills she used blank heart-shaped notecards, stamps, and stickers to create homemade valentines cards for every member of her class.

I had the opportunity to attend her class party on Friday afternoon. My job was to bring healthy snacks for the class. Oh Joy! helped me out with a blog post about a healthy snack craft. My daughter and I used Thursday night to prepare our cupid-stricken oranges. These were a big hit in the classroom.

 

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3. Speed Dating in the Library

This last event I can take absolutely no credit for having put together. The librarian at my school put lots of planning and energy into the idea, but I have to share because it was so awesome.

On Valentine’s Day my classes reserved the library to pick out new independent reading books. Instead of turning them loose to select books on their own our librarian organized a speed dating session. Students were exposed to an array of books and got to know the one’s that caught their eye.

After the process was done they were to check out the book that they connected with the most. Many of them also took pictures with their books in a photo-booth themed heart. I snagged some of my teacher friends to jump in with me for my photo.

I’d love to see some of your Valentine’s Day crafts and boxes. Comment a picture or description below.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Praise: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining “my people” from Five Minute Friday today and responding to our prompt: Praise.

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One of the most difficult months in my life was September.

I felt the arrows of the enemy piercing me around every turn. Bad news surrounded me and my anxiety levels returned to a scary-high level. I was worn out, scared, and overwhelmed.

But as I turned the page to October I decided to focus on the positive things in my life. Instead of expecting the worse-case-scenarios I began expecting good. Instead of cowering in fear I embraced change. Instead of making excuses not to spend time with Lord I decided to praise Him.

After all, He has given me so much to praise Him for.

Whenever I feel the wave of anxiety course through my body I’ve tried to list 5 things for which I am thankful and that has really changed my perspective. This simple exercise has helped me to combat fear in a logical way.

Today I am praising God for:

1. My beautiful family

2. Some exciting news in my family that I’m sure I’ll be sharing soon (no, I’m not pregnant!)

3. My job where I am able to make a difference EVERY DAY

4. My church family who love and support my whole family

5. My friends who let me vent when I can’t carry my burdens on my own and who love me despite my flaws

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Happy Fourth of July

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17b

I am so blessed to be an American.

Living under the freedom of the Red, White, and Blue is one of the greatest places in this world to dwell. As I reflect on my freedom today I am thankful for any and everybody responsible for securing that freedom for me and my family. If you are reading this and you are one of those people who risked everything so that our country could continue to thrive on personal freedoms please know that I am grateful for the sacrifices you made. I know that serving our nation is a privilege, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. I applaud you and I pray blessing over you.

Our nation’s freedom is one of the many reasons that we celebrate Independence Day. We also celebrate the fact that when people gather together for a cause that they can accomplish the impossible. That victory was secured by the power of Christ that surrounded those who originally fought for our nation. And in their victory our country was established on the principles of Christianity.

Today, let us not only remember what it took for America to come to be, but let us also remember how God has been faithful to the country. In a time where it is so easy to see the ways in which our country has strayed from it’s Christian roots let us also see the ways that God is still present. I choose to see His hand on our country’s safety and His blessing over the people instead of the division that is highlighted by the media. I choose to be joyful and patriotic instead of negative. I choose to stand up for those who cannot stand themselves and to love those with whom I disagree.

It is with gratitude this week that I was blessed to be able to celebrate with my small town. On Sunday, my church family joined others in the community and held a worship service in the park. On Monday, my oldest daughter participated in a Little Miss Fourth of July pageant, and on Tuesday we celebrated with family while watching a firework display in Columbus. We are a blessed people.

Happy Fourth of July!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Blessing

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Blessing:

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As I sit in England typing away from the second floor of an old English home, I’m reminded of all the things in my life for which I am thankful. When I think about my friends, family, and health I am overcome with the blessings each bestows on my life.

I am thankful for the people I love and their influences in my life.

I am thankful for the family that God has formed for me to belong to.

I am thankful for the blessings of good health and a sound mind.

I am thankful for those large gifts, but even more so I find myself thankful for the small things. The wind in the trees and the sun warming my skin are proof of God’s provision in my life. Technology and its ability to expand communication and creativity is a blessing. A cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger, and a good book–all of these things make me thankful for the life I lead and point me toward recognizing the blessings that surround me everywhere I look.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Six Years

This Sunday my husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. He surprised me with a trip to a dinner theater here in Ohio, and my parents took Arianna over night. Sister Act was the show and it was hilarious. The night was lovely. We ate too much and laughed really hard. It was nice to enjoy some time just the two of us.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Safe

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Safe. 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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I’m running on a delayed schedule this week as I’ve fallen victim to an intense sinus infection. The weather has been so up and down in Ohio. Two days ago my yard was buried in a blanket of snow and now my sleeves are rolled up and my windows are open and I’m enjoying this springlike day. It’s no wonder my body feels attacked–it’s confused by all this mayhem.

As I’m beginning to feel human again and remember what it is to breathe through my nose, I’m getting back on track.

At the start of the year my husband sent me out of my safe place.

He went behind my back and signed me up for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and forced me to interact with other writers. He sent my manuscript to a highly respected author (without my permission.) As nervous as I was when I found out he had done it I knew it was an act of love that I will be forever grateful for.

If left up to me I would have continued to make excuses as to why I wasn’t ready to let successful authors read my work. But he had confidence that if he gave me a little push that I would make it in the world of professional writers. He kicked me out of my safe place of writing for the few who read my blog or my closest friends and family.

I know that he is always going to be my biggest fan. He reads everything I write and he still cheers me along. He pushes me to do uncomfortable things so that one day my dream will be realized. I’m starting to recognize that stepping out doesn’t mean forgetting about safety. It is necessary. And as long as I have my husband there giving me the confidence to take the next step I will always be safe.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Most Memorable Posts of 2016

2016 is coming to a close and I am joining my Five Minute Friday crew on a special link up today. This year has been a huge year of growth for my blog. I’ve increased my readership and had numerous opportunities arise as a result of my commitment to provide authentic content for my readers.

To start with here are some exciting numbers for the year:

-Number of views: 7,745

-Number of visitors: 4,396

-Number of posts: 262

I have doubled my statistics in every area since 2015 making 2016 my most successful year yet as far as readership and publication go. Thank you for all of your support as readers!

Here are my Most Memorable Posts of 2016:

1. Stitch Fix #7

This was my most popular post of the year in part because it was featured on the Stitch Fix website. As a result of this post, I became a Stitch Fix influencer this year which has allowed me to gain some compensation for my posts from their program.

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2. English Rain Jacket

While visiting loved ones in England this summer I highlighted some of the fashions sweeping the nation.

 

3. 24 Book Challenge

This was a challenge I published at the beginning of the year to get myself reading some different and unique book choices. It has been really successful and many others have joined me on the journey to read 24 books this year.

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4. Two Announcements

This very special post is where I made the announcement that I was officially accepted as a Stitch Fix Influencer as well as my first ever poem would be published in the Five Minute Friday book.

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5. Lula Roe Review

I hosted a Lula Roe party at the end of the summer and have been in love with the company ever since!

 

 

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for making 2016 a successful year for The Ameri Brit Mom. To think that two years ago I hadn’t ever published anything beyond a Facebook status to where I am today is such a humbling thought. I am so encouraged by those of you who make reading my blog a priority and I look forward to bigger adventures in 2017. To God be the Glory!

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

Five Minute Friday: Happy

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is HAPPY. 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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The first week of August has come and gone and I can’t decide how I feel about it. As a teacher, flipping the calendar to August brings up several emotions. At first, I experienced dread. The unscheduled fun of the summer is quickly coming to a close. All of the day trips and late nights are winding down. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that I will soon be back to school and my daily routine will be in place once more.

The next emotion I feel is happiness.

I’m happy for so many reasons, but up toward the top of my list in the beginning of August is the fact that I get the opportunity to spend the summer with my family. So many people envy the work schedule that I have as a teacher. I’m happy that I’ve chosen a career that is not only rewarding, but that allows me to still spend so much time at home. I love spending time with my husband and daughter. Luckily August won’t change the fact that we will get that quality time together–it will just look a little different.

Lastly, I feel anxious.

I’m anxious for new students and a new school year. Meeting new people can be so much fun, but the time leading up to the beginning of the school year always has me a little nervous (in a good way.) This year I have one more thing to be anxious about. My baby is starting pre-school! I can’t believe my little girl is actually old enough to need a backpack and school supplies. Time has truly flown by at a ridiculous speed. It seems like just yesterday that I held my eight pound baby for the first time. Now I’m preparing to release her into a classroom.

Despite the dread and anxiety I am still full of happiness. I choose to be happy when I think about the next couple of weeks, because I am blessed to have a career and lifestyle that still affords me plenty of quality time with those who matter most.

What are you happy about?

The Ameri Brit Mom