Posted in Inspiration, This is me, Uncategorized

Take a Break!!

Stop working so hard! Have I gotten your attention yet? Before anyone comments that I am promoting laziness, please know that I am definitely not doing that. I am just telling you to make sure you are taking a break every now and then. With the movement of so many people to working from home due to the pandemic, a lot of the lines between work and home got blurred, if not erased all together. If you are leaving work every single day and you are feeling like your gas tank is permanently running on fumes, there is something wrong.

Ronda is running on empty

We are all guilty of it. We work just a little longer to finish up the day’s tasks. I hate having things on my to do list that don’t get checked off by the end of the day. I have a need for there to be no notifications on my phone or iPad because that signifies that something needs my attention. I will repeat: Quit working so hard!! I have to say it to myself (and I’m a horrible listener when I tell myself something). I am writing tonight, from my office, because I just finished teaching and wanted to finish up a couple of things. Writing a blog post has been on there for several days, so I decided to mark it off the list tonight.

Why are some of us so driven? I know the reasons for motivation and drive. I get intrinsic and extrinsic value. But what makes us push beyond normal limits? Is it a fight against perception? Sometimes I really think it is. Maybe it is that we don’t want to be perceived as lazy or expendable. Maybe it is because we like to feel important and needed. If we just work a few more minutes, or maybe another hour, we prove how helpful we can be. When we prove ourselves, people need us more. Or at least that’s a theory.

I have another theory for the push to keep moving. I think sometimes we are afraid of what will happen if we stop. I do realize that could go with what I just wrote as well, and there is some fear of being not needed if we don’t keep proving our worth. Think about it though, how many times have you heard the saying, “I will rest when I’m dead,” and how do you relate that to your life? Is the motivation to keep going synonymous with a fear of what happens when we stop?

How does that fall in with this pandemic? Does that add another layer of if I keep moving, it means I am healthy? Are we turning our homes into this?

It's OK to Miss the Office During the Coronavirus Lockdown - WSJ
Where is the work/life balance?

Who suffers the most when we lose the boundaries between our work time and our home time? The argument could be made that it is our children, and it is a very good argument. The argument could be made that it is our relationships with our family members or the ways in which we deal with stress when stress is present in every aspect of our life. I think it is changing us in ways we don’t even think about. For instance, have you emailed someone over the weekend and gotten irritated that they didn’t respond? Does everything seem like an urgent situation to you? I have heard the term surge capacity several times over the past couple of weeks. At first I thought it was a crazy term being used to make excuses. I’ve done a little more research (just a little, don’t have time to do much), and I am a believer. I think most of us have hit or exceeded our surge capacity limits. The world feels upside down and topsy turvy, and it seems to be getting crazier by the day.

Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress | Elemental
Somebody put us back to right side up.

I don’t know how to solve the problems, and I’m really not even certain I know what all the problems are at this point. I do know this, we have got to take a break and get off the merry go round every now and then. We have got to start reestablishing the lines between work and home life.

50 Ways to Take a Break from: https://themostefficient.com/50-ways-to-take-a-break-infographic-brain-breaks-for-adults/

There are some great resources out there to help you re-establish those boundaries. I found the graphic above, along with some really great ideas for both work and home, at https://themostefficient.com/50-ways-to-take-a-break-infographic-brain-breaks-for-adults/. There are a ton of things that I don’t understand, and what is going on in the world is right up there near the top. I do know one thing for certain; if we all keep working this hard, we are all going to end up broken.

Take your foot off the gas and don't push yourself too hard. If you need to  rest, then take a break. The… | Inspirational words, Be gentle with  yourself, Cool words

So give yourself some grace, set some boundaries, and look up from your work. These things can only help you feel better.

Posted in Academia, This is me

Just make a mark and see where it takes you.

Do you ever wonder how you are supposed to make your mark? Recently, my job changed from being the Graduate Advising Coordinator to being a full-time tenure track Assistant Professor of Education and the Coordinator of the Job-Embedded Practitioner Program. I am so excited, and this is a position I have been working towards for several years. It is so strange to me to think of myself as finally being where I have worked to be for all of this time. All of a sudden, I have new professional options for how I can make my mark on education. I have ideas that previously seemed unattainable that now do not look so far away, and a renewal and validation of the thoughts that I have had regarding education, relational teaching, educational technology, and the roles we should take as professors and teachers. So many ideas and goals, and not a clue how to start.

The easy answer is, “You made it into academia, now you need to start researching and publishing if you want your voice to be heard.” What does that look like? How do you even get started down that road? I have always been someone that would rather teach or present than write. So how do I get started with this need to publish that exists in academia? How do I fill the need to publish and balance it with my personality trait of needing/wanting to teach?

Today is International Dot Day. If you have never heard of Dot Day, I strongly urge you to visit http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/ and learn more about this fun day and different ways to celebrate it. You may look and think that most of the celebrations are for young children. I thought so initially, but I ordered the book (I actually ordered the creatrilogy on Amazon) and decided I would read about it to see if there was any way it could apply to my students. I quickly discovered that it not only applies to my students, but also to me. You see, I realized through reading the book that I am now both Vashti and Vashti’s teacher. I have realized my role of Vashti’s teacher for years. Encouraging students to make their mark; helping build their confidence; and celebrating their accomplishments, no matter how small, are things that I have been doing for a long time, even before I was an adjunct faculty member or teacher. Those are the things that come naturally to me, and the things I love to do. I now find myself in the role of Vashti, at a loss of how to proceed.

I read The Dot to my class of graduate students last night, and plan to read it in all 3 classes I teach today. As I have planned my lessons to incorporate this children’s book, I have thought about what that book means to the different groups of students I teach and that has also forced me to think about what it means to me. Sometimes, we just have to make a mark. Once we get our mark made, then it is time to sign it and keep making marks. I can remember writing papers in graduate school that were easy to write once I could finally get started. That is how The Dot works. It is getting started. It is encouraging our students to start somewhere, even if it is just a dot.

So, I am getting started. I have started my dots. Some of them will be frameworthy, and some will need to be thrown away. Regardless, today I will celebrate International Dot Day with my students, even though they are not the typical students who would be celebrating this, and we will make our mark. Go out today, do something that may seem a little unusual, make your mark, and sign it.

#InternationalDotDay #MakeYourMark #DotDay

Posted in CrossFit, Inspiration, This is me

40 before I hit 40

So, after an extremely long few weeks at work, I am finally on Fall Break, and I had a realization this morning. It is right at 16 months before I turn 40. I was sitting here, trying to decide what to do with my day, and I thought about going to get a book to read. That, of course, led me down a rabbit hole on Pinterest trying to figure out what book I wanted to go get, which eventually led to me figuring out how long it is until I turn 40.

16 Months. Just 16 months. I don’t feel almost 40. I mean, I guess my knees definitely feel over 40, but in my mind I don’t feel like I have been alive that long. Since I realized how close I am to getting there (after David did since he hit 40 this year), I decided I want to do something special, set a goal to reach between now and then. I am actually going to set 2 goals.

40 Before 40 image with colorful dots

Goal 1

Starting this month, I want to read 40 books before I turn 40, but to do that I need your help…

I have no clue what I want to read. I have spent so much time reading for education or reading to/with my kids that I don’t even know what to read anymore. Leave me a comment with your top books so I can make my list.

Lots of books on shelves with vintage hanging lights

Goal 2

I am going to do 40 hero/memorial workouts in the next 16 months. I will probably have to scale them (see the over 40 year old knees comment), but I really want to do something cool between now and then. Leave me your favorite hero/memorial WOD in the comments, too. Get ready Mossy Creek Fitness, I am ready to come back from this stupid mono thing with a vengeance!

Boo from Monsters, Inc. Dressed as a monster with Gym Time #BEASTMODE

My plan is to blog about each book and workout as I finish it, but I really need help finding all the books and workouts. Let’s see if I can hit this goal!

Posted in CrossFit, CrossFit Open, This is me

Pushing beyond your comfort zone…

I feel like I am constantly talking about this, but I also think it is one of the most important things we can do as people.

This week starts the CrossFit Open, for the second time this year.  The Open is changing format, and that has created a second Open in just a few short months.  For the past 3 years, I have diligently signed up and participated in the Open, and I am actually a little sad that I can’t this year.

I am not what most would consider the typical CrossFitter, and while I will never find myself sitting on top of the leaderboards, that isn’t really what the Open is all about.  You see, for 5 short weeks, the whole CrossFit world makes wild guesses about the workouts, watches announcements with baited breath to see what the next thing they will have to do is, and then gathers en masse in the local CrossFit box (looking at you, Mossy Creek Fitness) to workout and cheer on friends that feel more like family as we all push through whatever torture Dave Castro has come up with for that week.

You see, the Open is the time when CrossFit shows what it really is that makes it special and different from other types of fitness.  It is the time when we come together as a community, regardless of anything else going on, and spend our time encouraging each other and pushing beyond the limits that we have envisioned ourselves as having.  Sometimes it is just a physical limitation we thought we had, sometimes it is the thought of stepping out and working out in front of people instead of in the back of the room, sometimes it is even the fear of being the one that looks like they don’t belong.  I know this because I have personally experienced all of these, but the Open is the time when we are able to move beyond those limitations that we have imposed upon ourselves and come together as a community.

So, while I can’t participate in the Open this time because of illness (stupid mono), I will be there cheering on my friends as they push past the limits to become even better versions of themselves.  If you haven’t signed up, get signed up this week at games.crossfit.com, and for a few short weeks experience people putting everything aside to come together as a community.  Break your own record, do something you’ve never done, step outside of your own fears.  If you have never experienced CrossFit, find your local box and try it out.   If you’re in my area, I have a great one you should check out.

Until next week, keep inspiring others.

Barbell Love

Posted in Inspiration, This is me

Not My Comfort Zone

If you know me, you know I am a slight control freak.  By slight, I actually mean living in a constant state of having a totally over the top need to know exactly what is going on, how it is happening, when it is happening, what the next step is, who is going to be there, etc.  I don’t really like when plans change (shocker), and I am not a huge fan of the unknown.   Somehow, all of those things that I hate managed to happen this week.  B was invited to a huge Jr. Young Leaders Conference this summer, which is great.  The not great part of it is that it is almost 9 hours away form home.  I decided, about a month and a half ago, that instead of driving back and forth so much, I would get an apartment on AirBnB and David, Alyssa and I could come up and spend the week.  Of course, plans didn’t work out the way I had them set up.  David had meetings he couldn’t move, Alyssa got her wisdom teeth out, and when they released the schedule for B, he had to be there earlier than we thought.  After thinking through all of that, I ended up in an apartment 9 hours away from home by myself.

As much as I enjoy having some time to myself, this, plus a few other things seems to have thrown me into a tailspin this week.  I never really thought of myself as having anxiety, but last weekend it has practically paralyzed me.  I cried all weekend.  I managed to be ok for most of the drive, but then we hit traffic.  It was at the point that we hit nasty traffic that I truly began to realize how much anxiety I was having.  I got B dropped off, then made my way back to the apartment I had rented for the week.  Keeping in mind that I was tired, and starving, the actuality of bursting into tears when I even thought of having to go find some food happened quickly.  I finally got it together enough to go to a grocery store about a block and a half away, and managed to get food to last me through the week.  That was Sunday night, and I didn’t leave the apartment again (other than to go downstairs to the Starbucks on Monday morning) until Wednesday.

So why am I telling all this on my blog?  First off, to dispel the myth that I have it all together.  For the past few years, I have had people say things like, “I don’t know how you do it all” and “You manage to balance everything, how do you keep everything together,” but in actuality, I don’t have it all together.

It’s also been hard to navigate being off my normal schedule while I am also trying to deal with the anxiety.  Without workouts with my Mossy Creek Fitness family to burn off steam, and without my family around to distract me, I have actually had to face the anxiety as it hit.    Thankfully, I had some great help.  With lots of talks with my husband, lots of soul-searching and journaling, and a great visit with my cousin, I managed to get out of the apartment yesterday.  We went to Arlington, and had a great time!!

So, while it hasn’t quite been the week I had planned, it has definitely been a week that I will end up celebrating.  I managed to work through some things, and figured out some ways that I can work through things in the future.  I also learned a lot about myself.

  1.  I am definitely a small town, southern girl.
  2. Big cities are nice for vacation, but I miss my mountains and cows.
  3. I like to go on vacation, but not by myself.
  4. I like alone time, but not this much alone time.  I love the time I have been spending on my back deck this summer, but I also love being able to go inside and spend time with my family.
  5. I do not do well when I skip devotions.  I have never been someone that set aside my time for God.  In fact, I have tried to do that in the past few years, only to get bored, or feel like I am not doing it correctly (that’s a topic for a whole other blog post).  Since I have been setting aside time for devotions this summer, I have really begun to look forward to that time each day.  I missed my time on Saturday, and on Sunday, but when I made time on Monday, it made a huge difference in my day.

I am definitely ready to be home, and I can’t wait to hit the road tomorrow.  I am even more excited that I get to spend the next week on vacation with David, the kids, and my parents!  There might even be some mountains involved.

Posted in Inspiration, This is me

Lifting the Fog to Find Abundant Life

So, this morning, after I went and worked out, as I was sitting on my back desk with my coffee getting ready to do my devotions I noticed the “smoke” in the hills. Around here, it is not an uncommon occurrence, but it struck me as extra beautiful today. The thought of the new mercies we receive every morning from God was sticking in my head, and I took a picture, just because it was pretty. Now, in the south, in June, you have to catch it early because the fog burns off pretty quickly as we heat up. I took my picture, then got started with my devotions.

20 minutes later, as I looked up from my devotions expecting the fog to have lifted, I was shocked to see it had gotten thicker.

All of a sudden, I was struck by how much this mimicked life. You see, we keep looking for this “abundant life” as being life with lots of things and people, without challenges and difficulties. We watch for the clear picture of who or what God wants us to be, then despair because it isn’t clear. In actuality, we are living our abundant lives when the fog gets thicker. It is our abundant life because God is with us, even though we don’t see him through the fog. He handpicks us and, just like the mountains, is there whether we can see him in our current circumstances or not.

My community has had a rough 6 weeks. We have lost people suddenly and tragically, and it feels like our small town has been touched by something that we don’t think of as happening here. It feels like things have changed and may never go back, but, I’m also seeing people pull together in support and compassion. That is our abundant life. God is here, just like our beloved mountains didn’t go anywhere when I couldn’t see them for the fog. It is not easy, and there is a lot of difficult healing that will still have to take place, but eventually the fog will lift. For today, I’m just thankful that God is there, in my abundant life, whether I can see him or not.

Posted in Academic Advising, This is me

In the Thick of It …

So, my job is titled Graduate Advising Coordinator.  When people ask what I do, it is always a little hard to really put it into words, but I decided today, while I am in the thick of it, I would give you a glimpse into what my days entail.

It seems like there are different seasons to my job every semester.  Right now is the beginning of advising season.  That means that for  the next 6 weeks, I will spend all day everyday meeting with our graduate students and doing their advising sessions.  These happen over the phone, online, in my office, and through email, so I am pretty much at my desk for everything but meetings for 6 weeks.  I am in charge of advising for 10 different graduate education programs and have around 650 actively enrolled advisees.  I also work with the readmission process for those that took a break in the midst of their program, advise and register the new students that are being accepted, and spend a good chunk of time helping with our processes and tracking things.  That seems like a lot of really boring desk work to most people (me included) and that is why I say it is so hard to put into words what I do everyday.

The conversations that I get to have with our graduate students are inspiring.  Sometimes my job is to be their shoulder to cry on.  Sometimes it is to be the one to tell them to get focused and get it done.  I get the privilege of sharing in their successes and being a confidant for many when life is hard.  That doesn’t really fit well in a job description.  Since most of my students are online students, I don’t get that many that come in my office on a daily basis.  Kinda seems like it would be lonely, doesn’t it?  Luckily that void is filled with undergraduate students that need a place to hang out or unload about what is going on in their life.

Quotefancy-1739804-3840x2160.jpg

I’ll let you in on a secret … the thing that I loved most about teaching were the relationships I made with my students and helping them more than they thought they were capable of becoming.  Fortunately for me, that is now what I do all day every day.  I’m not a counselor, just a shoulder to cry on.  I’m not their mom, but I will share my life experiences with them.  I’m not the one with all the answers, but I will help you figure out some possibilities.

A lot of people would look at my job from the outside and say that I spend all my time with spreadsheets and emails.  I prefer to look at it from this side and realize that I really spend my time with people.  People that may share some of the same characteristics, but who are unique individuals that are working towards a goal.  It isn’t a job that you will hear much about, and it isn’t a job that you hear children say they want to be when they grow up, but it is my job and I am thankful for it.

To-make-the-difference-in-someones-life

Sometimes it isn’t easy to take the time to do something for someone else.  It isn’t that we don’t want to help others, but we are busy.  There are a million things on our plates, the stress level is high, the caffeine level is low (this can’t just be a thing that happens to me), the patience is worn thin, we are tired, we don’t feel good, we just want to be left alone, or we just aren’t in the mood.  Remember, showing that you care doesn’t take a long time.  Sometimes it can just be a simple email or text of encouragement.

How will you make a difference today?

Posted in Inspiration, This is me

2018 . . . Outside My Comfort Zone

Word of the year.png2018, so far, has been all about trying new things that test my comfort zone.  I started a bullet journal, which pushes my boundaries of being creative and is forcing me to step away from my computer more often; I started the year down one organ (everything is ok, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how life changes without that extra baggage); I just finished the Crossfit Judges course (which is pretty comical to have thought this time last year that I would be judging other people on their workouts); and I have chosen a word of the year.

The bullet journal is something that I had looked at for a few years, but never committed to because I thought I couldn’t keep it up and that I wasn’t artistic or creative enough.  We are one month into 2018, and I have been keeping up with it ok.  This week I have not done very well, but I am trying desperately to give myself grace and remember that skipping one week is not the end of everything.

Speaking of “Grace,”  I guess now is the time to announce my 2018 word of the year.  I have chosen Grace.  It kept coming to me when I was thinking about how I want to grow this year, so I finally just looked it up to see the exact definition of grace and determined that there are so many (8!) definitions (for real there are 8 definitions for the word grace https://goo.gl/Jkvbsv ) that it really fits what changes I would like to see in myself over the next year.  With my bullet journal I am learning to give myself grace to not be perfect.  Grace to let things slide every now and then.  Grace to keep rolling when something doesn’t go as planned.  I also want to push myself to give others more grace when they mess up or irritate me or don’t follow through.  I am a slight (yes, I know you are rolling your eyes if you me in real life) control freak and I tend to not give very much grace when things don’t go as planned.  Also, let’s just be real that the person who broke her arm falling off a box from a step-up needs a little more of the physical type of grace as well.

I have truly been making a concerted effort to show more grace and I am finding that I feel better about daily life when I am able to stop myself and give grace, whether it is to me or someone else.

 

 

Posted in This is me

Welcome

Welcome to my new home.  My vision for this is a place of inspiration and growth.  I am a former high school teacher, current adjunct faculty member at a community college teaching Criminal Justice and Graduate Advising Coordinator at a university advising all graduate students in Education.  I am also a wife, mother of 2 amazing kids, sister, daughter, friend, musician, and Crossfit enthusiast.  I have done a little of everything through the years, and am finally finding what I feel is my place to land at 36 years old.  I like to push myself beyond what others think I can do, and I tend to break open the boxes in which people like to categorize me.  I like to think that I am a realist that looks at things logically, but I know sometimes that doesn’t happen.  One of my goals in life has always been to make the world better and influence people, so this is going to be my little way of contributing.  I don’t know exactly what that is going to look like, but my guess is that it will be a mixture of humor, inspiration, and real life stories.  One of my favorite quotes has always been Beautiful Minds Inspire Others

and that is where the title of my blog comes from.  I truly hope this becomes a place of inspiration and enjoyment for others.  At the very least, it will be a place for the random acts of life that pop up all the time.  Until next time, I will leave you with this thought.  It is one that I have found myself clinging to through many times when I felt like the world was shattering and falling down around me.

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