Uncategorized

Conclude: Five Minute Friday

I’m jumping on this week’s prompt from the Five Minute Friday community. This is a weekly link up where writers share thoughts on a common word.

As we conclude another semester at school I have a few thoughts:

1.Teachers are some of the most adaptable humans. Scratch that, students are the most adaptable humans. Whether students were learning from home, in a hybrid model, or fully in the classroom, Fall Semester 2020 was a challenging time to be a student. So many have proven adaptability and resilience while others have developed those skills for the first time.

2. Grades cannot be anyone’s top priority. With life looking so different I’ve had to shift my mindset from being grade and growth oriented to focusing more on the mental health and social well being of the students in my care. This has meant redesigning lessons and scrapping some lessons altogether. Building relationships has become a pillar to my classroom instruction this semester.

3. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. If I’m being honest, I’ve spent way too much money on coffee this semester. My students even joke that they have never seen me without a cup of coffee in my hands. Is this true? Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it. Do I have regrets? Nope–I survived the semester so there must be something to this teacher hack.

4. Teachers need to invest in themselves. It is so easy to devote all of our creativity and mind space to the craft of classroom instruction–especially during a pandemic when things need to adjust to fit the learning models. But so many teachers experienced massive burnout [myself included] a couple of months into the semester. Learn from my mistakes and make sure that you are taking time to be creative in other ways.

5. Comedy and music are good for the soul. This semester, whenever I could sense the weight of stress on my students I would course correct and give opportunities for students to tell jokes or give them time to work while I played uplifting music in the background. I can remember one day in particular, I was very sad about the health of someone I admired and when I shared this my students cheered me up with their own flavors of comedy.

At times this semester I have felt like I was drowning. I flailed around gasping for air. But now that I am wrapping things up on this final day of the semester I can look back and see the mistakes and victories. I am proud of the way I let the students and the pandemic shift my focus in the classroom. Community has been paramount this year and will continue to be next semester.

I am so thankful for Fall 2020. Now, it’s time to celebrate and relax for a couple of weeks.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Beyond: Five Minute Friday

Hello, Muse, and welcome to Friday [we made it!] I have so much to update you on, but first I must explain today’s post.

I am joining the weekly link-up on Five Minute Friday. This is a community of writers who respond once a week to a common prompt. With the theme in mind we craft an original post over the course of five minutes [which means no pre-planning, no editing, no PERFECTION.] We give ourselves permission to be honest and imperfect. I started doing Five Minute Friday [FMF] posts years ago and I have gotten so much joy from being a part of this collective that I am once again jumping back in.

So here is my five minutes of uninterrupted word crafting…

It’s been a few days since I ventured beyond these four walls. On Tuesday, I was sent home to quarantine after a student in one of my classes was Covid positive. So far, I am feeling fine and I believe my chances of contracting the virus from that student are very low. I did complete a self-administered Covid test yesterday at CVS. I was so nervous, but it really was not too bad.

A few things from my self-administered test:

  1. It was extremely hard to find a test site.
  2. Because I was not deemed “critical” I did not qualify for a rapid test.
  3. I was sent text confirmations for my testing appointment as well as safety guidelines to follow upon arrival.
  4. The entire test was conducted by ME inside my vehicle. [With my screaming two year old in the backseat]
  5. I pulled into the CVS drive thru and an employee walked me through the process from her window. My instruments were sent via a drop box, much like a drive-thru bank.
  6. I had to watch a video about how to swab myself. I was proud of being able to do it well–I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stick the swab far enough on my own. I did though!
  7. All this to say–it was a rather easy, contact-free, and un-intimidating process.

If you find yourself having to quarantine or test, please know that testing does not have to be scary. If I can do it–so can you!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Dear Daughter, Uncategorized

Just: Five Minute Friday

Dear Daughter,

It feels like just yesterday I was cradling you in my arms for the first time. All those years of waiting were finally over. You were perfect in every way. The moment I heard your voice and saw your wrinkled nose I knew that you had filled a hole that we didn’t know existed. I felt peace and knew that God had just given us the missing piece. Our family was whole.

It’s been a year of being blessed by your presence.

Your smile is contagious. Your words are brilliant. Your personality is the perfect mix of Daddy and I.

It was a year of firsts for you. How exciting it was to watch you knock over those milestones like you owned this world. You’re growing so quickly and while I celebrate every first for you I also remember that this is the last time I will see my own child complete these tasks.

God has been so good to us.

He has faithfully delivered our family from illness and death. This year he has restored and fulfilled promises. And you, my big one-year-old, were our gift. God knew when he made you that we would need that infectious smile to get us through some of the scariest times we faced. He knew that your strong hugs would chase away fears and quiet anxiety.

You are truly a blessing and I can’t imagine our family without you.

Happy First Birthday!

The Ameri Brit Mom

**This post was written in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt of the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other encouraging writers and their posts about the prompt.

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Family, Uncategorized

Build: Five Minute Friday

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I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on  me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Where: Five Minute Friday

I’m snowed in for another day in Ohio. I would be going stir crazy if it wasn’t for the week I’ve had. Today I am thankful for more time at home.

On Tuesday I awoke to my 11 month old having a seizure.

SCARIEST FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

The moments that followed her seizure were even scarier than the event itself. She laid unresponsive on the floor and police officers, paramedics, and firemen paraded into my home. Nothing can prepare you for moments like this.

God was with us that day. She spent most of the day resting in the hospital and slowly coming back around. She was diagnosed with febrile seizures which were caused by the onset of a fever. We didn’t even know she was sick! The thing with these seizures is that oftentimes the episode is the first indication that something is wrong.

So, yes, I am counting my blessings on snow day #6. I’m happy to be home with my babies and to have my baby girl back to herself.

For my Five Minute Friday post I am writing a poem of thankfulness for God’s peace through all that I experienced this week. To join the FMF community or to check out their posts be sure to check out the site. This week the prompt is Where.

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In the middle of the battle you were there

Wrapping me in your arms of care.

Time stood still and I was scared,

But You were everywhere.

You brought peace and healing

In Moments when my heart was reeling.

 Hopelessness was all I was feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for intervening.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

 

Faith, Uncategorized

Influence: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining the weekly link-up at Five Minute Friday today. Each week we respond to a common prompt and encourage one another as writers who share our words with the world. This week our prompt is Influence.

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This year I’ve been working to refocus my writing goals. I’ve been influenced by bloggers I follow, authors I love, and programs like the DIY MFA. All of these things mixed with my passion for the written word have culminated in my plans for writing in 2019. I want to write boldly and with a confidence that is unshakable. After all, writing for me has never been about receiving anything, but rather it is about giving what is inside me life on the page (or screen.)

I have started working through the starter kit from DIY MFA which is a FREE program designed to provide subscribers with opportunities which mimic an MFA program. One quote that they sent me which has inspired me to focus my writing is…

“If there is a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

I am praying that this year I will grow as a writer and be able to influence others in a positive way. I am praying that the book lurking in some corner of my mind will gain wings and soar. I am praying for a community of readers who will encourage me in this quest. Lastly, I am praying for God’s influence to be evident in every word, post, and book that is crafted by my hands. To Him be the glory!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Better: Five Minute Friday

I’m kicking off my 2019 FMF streak with a late post.

In Ohio, I spent my Friday preparing for the imminent arrival of this weekend’s snowpocalypse. After school yesterday I joined the rest of the state at the grocery store stocking up on necessities. If you want to join in on the weekly fun over at Five Minute Friday or check out others’ posts be sure to click on the link. Here is my five minute uninterrupted response to the prompt: Better.

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Fuzzy socks, wool blankets, hot coffee, and good books…does life get much more relaxed?

Sure, there is a mound of laundry beckoning me to wash and a room full of toys that need to be boxed up, but today I chose to hibernate. The steady rhythm of the snow outside is the perfect backdrop to my reading adventure. The laughter of the children forming snow men and throwing snowballs can not be outweighed.

I was scheduled to attend a writing conference today, but the weather forced me inside. I was excited to focus on my writing today (I haven’t done anything like that since I had the baby last year.) But if I’m honest having this perfect day at home turned out better.

There will be other conferences.

Today I am choosing to embrace the tundra and enjoy the benefits of this house arrest. I’m taking time to read, write, and make memories with my family.

If you were snowed in how would you spend your day?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Still:Five Minute Friday

That last week before Christmas break makes all of us teachers go a bit crazy.

Case in point, it’s Saturday and I’m reviewing my week and somehow I managed to get just about NOTHING off my to-do list done. I survived Monday-Friday and that’s all. No, there were great moments for sure (like the one in my post below), but by Friday afternoon I felt like Miss Frizzle-crazy hair and all.

This week I’m joining in late to the Five Minute Friday prompt. This is our last regular prompt of the year and so I can’t let it slip by without contributing. The prompt this week is Still.

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I awoke to cooing…the happy sounds of a baby who has yet to decide that 6am is too early to babble. My body drudged through the house with the weight of sleep still on my eyelids. At the sink I fixed a bottle and prepared to let her soothe herself back to sleep.

When I made it to her room and her voice jumped an octave in excitement my heart changed it’s song.

Instead of leaving her I picked her up. Held her close. And I rocked her like I used to before she was too busy to let me cuddle her.

I fed her a bottle and looked into her eyes as she slipped back to sleep.

It’s been several months since she’s let me do this.

And in the way we adults do–I’ve forgotten to be still with her like this.

I’ve forgotten to be still in so many ways.

The routine of being a working mom has kept me from moments like these. I get caught up in what I need to do and I don’t always appreciate those mornings when my babies just want my stillness. So many days I focus too much on preparing for the day and not enough on those moments.

We all need to be still. To take in those unscripted smiles. To look into the eyes of someone we love. To drop the lists and expectations.

This holiday season is the perfect time to drink in the stillness.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith, Uncategorized

Balance: Five Minute Friday

It’s a chilly Friday night in Ohio and I’m bundled up in my fluffy robe, fuzzy socks, and fleece blanket. This was one of those weeks that lingered beyond its welcome. Tuesday felt like Friday and each day thereafter was salt in the wound. I’m so glad to jump in on this Five Minute Friday because I’m in need of my community of writers tonight. I love plugging in and spending time in this group of encouragers. This week our prompt is Balance (how ironic!).

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Balance is one of those myths that we tell ourselves so that we believe that we will conquer chaos. Maybe I’m wrong and true balance does exist, but I feel like every time I take a step toward finding that perfect equation I get knocked off course. Part of me wants to believe that at some point I will realize that balance was there all along waiting for me to grasp. Another part of me is skeptical to its existence.

The problem is that I’m trying to balance way too many things.

Faith.

Family.

Friends.

Work.

Exercise.

Writing.

Etc…

The truth is that I cannot balance it all on my own. I go through seasons where I spend more energy in one area of my life than another. That’s the reality of balance. It’s an ever-changing concept. It’s a sliding scale. And the zen version of balance I’ve created in my mind is a pipe dream.

Balance is living each moment according to God’s plan. It’s listening to his direction and following his instruction.

Balance is saying “no” to myself and letting God take the lead. I’ll never achieve balance apart from Christ. Only He is both the Alpha and Omega.

He alone can make it work.

So for now I will rest in the knowledge that my life is in His hands. It isn’t up to me to find that balance. The only way I can overcome the chaos is through surrendering to God.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Faith, Uncategorized

Value: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

I hope those of you who live in the USA had an amazing Thanksgiving gathered with loved ones and lots of yummy food. Thanksgiving was a little different in my family this year as my youngest sister is living in Canada. Her empty seat at the table was a constant reminder of the miles between us. Thankfully, Mom and Dad are headed to Niagara today in a car packed with leftovers and cards from all of us.

Today I’m gathering with others that I am also thankful for as we meet up every Friday to share encouragement and life with one another. This week the Five Minute Friday community is writing on the prompt: Value.

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With the conclusion of Thanksgiving festivities our hearts turn in anticipation toward the Christmas season. I woke up this morning to a Facebook feed endlessly announcing Holiday sales. Like many, I spent time yesterday with the people that mean the most to me and being thankful for all the Lord has blessed me with. But, like many of you, I am so tempted to turn around–not 24 hours later, and cultivate a spirit of want.

Can we just have a day to simmer in the juices of thanksgiving? I mean, goodness, our turkeys marinate longer than us!

How can we so quickly switch from “Lord, thank you” to “Lord, I want”?

This holiday season I am praying to stay cognizant of my attitude.

I want to enter into this Christmas season with the same sense of thankfulness that I felt gathered around the table yesterday.

The promise of a Savior–that is why I am thankful and why I anticipate Christmas.

Please join me in remembering the true gift of family and placing value on the things that matter most this season.

The Ameri Brit Mom