Who and What

My name is Hailey and my grandfather is a farmer. I'm the 7th generation to live on the family farm, and my babies (when the time comes) are going to be the 8th. My husband and I are even renovating a trailer on my grandparent's farm so we can move back to the family farm sooner. This blog encompasses the things that are important to me. These things are:

~Special Education
~ADHD, including my own battle with it over the years. It's now my superpower.
~Cooking
~Crafting
~Horses
~Farm Life
~Family
~Dogs
~Equal rights for women.
~Teaching
~Goal setting
~Fitness and health
~Financial Stability
~Reading
~Personal Happiness

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday: The Students That Have Melted My Heart This Week



This week has had the potential to be an extremely stressful week. My grandfather had surgery on Tuesday, my neighbor called me asking for help with her sick horse the same day, there's been a lot of general craziness and this weekend does not promise to bring me any down time. And yet, I feel that there is little to be upset about.

Grandaddy is doing so well there is talk of bringing him home as early as tomorrow. So far, the horse seems to be, at the very least, comfortable and content. And the craziness has been mostly of my own choosing so I can't get too upset about it. But one of the main reasons I have been so positive this week is due to the amazing love and kindness my students have shown me this week.

Starting on Monday, my students were very loving, not that they aren't generally. However, ones that aren't normally huggers came up and gave me a few. I'm not sure why, maybe I looked like I needed it, but all the same I was glad to have them. One of my (mostly) nonverbal students came up to me and had me put my hand over his eyes. It's a game we play together, but he has never been the one to initiate it before. It may seem small, but keep in mind, I'm a special ed teacher. We celebrate the tiniest things, because for our students they are huge milestones.

Tuesday, I can't even begin to tell you how well they took care of me. I was extremely distracted and was having a, "loose my head if it wasn't screwed on." When I got my papers out of order in reading, they humored me. One even joked (this is a six year old, mind you) "here I have your brain, let me put it back in for you." All the while he mimed doing so. When I lost my keys, one of them found them and brought them into my class room.

Wednesday, I coached my Girls on the Run team. Those girls are something special. I look forward to coaching them as one of my favorite parts of the week. Right now, we're training for a 5k, any they are working so hard. All of them have made a lot of progress and seem to be really growing from the experience. I see so much good character and kindness growing in these girls.

I noticed one had a really cool looking notebook and asked to see it, not realizing she was taking notes in it. She told me okay, but I couldn't peek. While I had every intention of respecting her privacy, she accidentally cracked it, and I caught a glance. She was writing how many laps she had done and other positive things. I thought, "YES! She's getting this!"

We also do this really cool thing at the end of practices where we give energy awards to the girls who have worked hard or pushed through or have been super helpful to others. Anyone can give them to anyone. The girls game me two. I have no idea why, but it made me feel good.

Today, I was late for work. Not by administration standards, but by mine. I need about 30 minutes to get myself together in the morning, and I was still quite scattered when one of my students who receives academic and behavioral support from me in the morning came in. She cheerfully helped me to  get together the supplies for my first graders and for her own lessons.

Later, I was working on a reading evaluation with one of my first graders. At the beginning of the year, this student was reading at a GRL of A/B. Today, she tested as independent on level F. She is nearly ready to move to a level G. She has made 10 months of growth in just 7 months. When she finished, I told her how proud I was of her. I truly am. She's worked hard for this, and she wants to do well. She said to me, "Mrs. G.-C." and then bit her lip. She threw her arms around my neck in a bear hug, and tears came into my eyes.

Normally I take care of my students, but this week, they in their own way, took care of me and showed me hope for a better world. These are elementary school students. Many of them have challenges that impede their learning or social skills. If they can show love, compassion and kindness toward me, why can't we all demonstrate that to others? If a six year old can make me laugh with so much worry on my mind, why can't we all add a few more giggles to the world? If a little girl with a learning disability can catch up to her peers, can't we all try a little harder? If 10 girls can band together to make their coach's day special, can't we all bring a little more light to everyone's lives?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My First Attempt at Say Anything Saturday: Stream of Consciousness and Attempt to Get Over Writer's Block



I have been trying very hard this week to get inspired to write, but for some reason I have encountered a fairly significant block. Usually my posts practically write themselves but this week, forget it. I can't think of anything. I blame the fact that I've written two IEPs for students this week, and while these are a necessary part of the SPED world, they tend to beat the creativity right out of you. So in an attempt to get over this block, I'm going to try something different. I'm going to set a timer for 10 minutes and write whatever the heck pops into my head during that time. to exactly the makings of the next great American novel, but maybe it will get me past the concrete wall in my mind. Ready, set, GO!

So, I'm in the garden right now, and the dogs are hanging out with me and it's lovely and warm. Brad's planting potatoes, at least I think they're potatoes, but who really knows. It's pleasant except for his music, which is, "Kona stop digging!" definitely not my cup of tea. But I don't claim mine is superior either, so I suppose the point is moot and damn you autocorrect because it keeps changing my words and that is totally messing with my train of thought.

My stomach is starting to growl and I'm considering lunch and what I currently have in the fridge. I'm leaning toward a ham and cheese sandwich on one of the hamburger buns Brad made last night. Yep, you read right, made. There has been no store bought bread of any kind in my house since January first.   It's so much better, except for the few trial and error incidents we've had with buns, but I think we finally found a good recipe for them. We are also on a mission to start a CSA (community sustained agriculture) program that provides subscribers with a full diet, as a way to use family land in a productive manner. This year we're just doing veggies and we've started so many I can barely remember what's what anymore. Also, our house looks a bit suspicious thanks to the fact that there are grow boxes and lights everywhere. We'e not growing anything illegal, but my living room reminds me of an episode of Weeds.

However, in spite of this comparison, I love what we're doing. I love to show it off when friends come over. I can't tell if they think it's cool or that we're completely out of our minds, but either way I don't care. It mass me happy to see things we planted coming out of the ground and knowing that it's food we will be able to eat and share with others. There's a magic to it.

I'm a little nervous as we move in to the next steps. Ultimately we'd like to make our living this way. What if no one buys our food? What about insurance? How are we going to advertise this? My timer just buzzed, and that's probably good, because that has stopped me from going further into worry mode.   If there's anyone reading that would like to know more or reassure me about this farming and CSA thing, that would be awesome. If not, hope you enjoyed this brief peak into the mind of The Farmer's Granddaughter.

Friday, February 27, 2015

#LoveMe Challenge, What Have You Accepted About Yourself?



A big part of love is acceptance. This goes for any relationship, but especially in the relationship we have with ourselves. Part of learning to love myself is accepting myself, as I am and without apologizing or feeling sorry for myself. Some of what I have accepted are things I have left unchallenged for years, while other things are more recent developments. I love my life, and I love myself and the person I am becoming. I am not there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday, and I have an end destination in mind. Here are many of the things I have accepted about myself.

  1. I have accepted that I will never be 5'7, and that I'm not willing to wear 5 inch heels to come close. 
  2. I've embraced the fact that I am ADHD and I won't be outgrowing it. 
  3. I am okay with the fact that I have to make lists and keep fairly detailed calendars to keep up with things. 
  4. I understand that my hair will never be easily styled and I've given up the fight for more worthy pursuits. 
  5. I accept that the things I like are not what is necessarily popular with the rest of the world. I am no longer trying to make myself enjoy things I hate, just so I can fit in. 
  6. I realize that I will never "fit in" with the "popular" crowd, no matter how old I am. I have realized that while there is one no matter where you go, it isn't something I want to fall in with anyway. 
  7. I am okay with the fact that there are many thing I don't understand and I don't mind asking for help. 
  8. I recognize that while there are things I could do to be more attractive, I just don't care that much. And there's nothing wrong with that. 
  9. I've accepted that my dreams are big and will require many years to achieve. 
  10. I've realized that the journey I have taken with my education and career so far may be very different then when I may ultimately end up doing, and that is perfectly fine. 
  11. I understand that I will sometimes say the wrong things, and that I'm not the only one. 
  12. I've accepted that I am not an athlete in the traditional sense, but that doesn't mean that I cannot take care of myself or strive for physical fitness.
  13. I recognize that I am not yet a good teacher yet, nor can I be since it is only my first year. 
  14. I realize that there is still much to learn about the day to day and week to week tasks of my job. 
  15. I have accepted that I will make many mistakes and that perfection is not possible. The unsinkable Titanic is at the bottom of the ocean.
  16. I understand that I can be impatient and that I must work on this.
  17. I accept that others will try to convince me I need to be "fixed" but that I am not broken. 
  18. I realize there will be things that do not come easily to me and there will be things I have to work harder at. 
  19. I understand that not every day is going to be a happy one, but I cannot let myself get bogged down by it. 
  20. I accept that not everyone will approve of my life choices and that they don't need to for me to be happy. 
  21. I have embraced the fact that I will never be a graceful or even a good dancer. 
  22. I've recognized that there still is a lot of fear I need to conquer. 
  23. I've accepted the fact that I may need to reevaluate my medication regimen in order to live life to the fullest. 
  24. I've realized that there is nothing selfish in putting myself first. 
  25. I accept that my personal style is to make me happy and no one else. 
  26. I accept that my beauty is my own version, and some people will question it. That is their right, but it does not make me any less beautiful. 
  27. I accept that my happiness is my responsibility, not anyone else's. 
I accept my flaws and my strengths. I am proud of both and no one can hold any of them against me, because I do not lie to myself or anyone else about them. I encourage you to accept yourself and live only to please you. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#LoveMe Day 26, What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

Shamelessly stolen from: dailymakeover.com.  

For all my many insecurities, I will say that for the most part my looks have not been one of them. True, I am no great beauty, those genes went to my younger sister in spades. (No resentment, I promise, I'm still taller.) But I am proud to say I am confident in my own appearance on the whole. However, there are days where I feel absolutely radiant from the inside and out. These are the moments where I am so happy I feel as if I must be glowing loveliness from the inside out. Some of these instances are:

  1. When my students tell me I'm beautiful. Something about hearing it from voices that are at times painfully honest makes it that much more true for me. 
  2. Anytime the sun is out and warming my face. 
  3. The occasions where I am somehow able to walk gracefully in heels. 
  4. When I'm riding a horse and I know everything is working the way it's supposed to and you cannot tell where one stops and the other starts. 
  5. Those moments where I think I'm gross and I catch my husband giving me that look.
  6. When my jeans fit absolutely, perfectly right. 
  7. After I finish a workout and I know I did my best. 
  8. Dancing, even though I probably look like a spider on a hotplate. 
  9. The days where I feel like "yep, I handled things."
  10. The moment after a laughing fit where I'm gasping for air, my face is flushed and I probably look terrible, but I feel alive. 
  11. Getting my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed. 
  12. The rare occasions when I wear my hair down. 
  13. When I've been working in the barn or outside and I have smudges of dirt on my face and hands and simply cannot be bothered to care. 
  14. When my hair has some curl to it, which is almost never, but I love how pretty it looks when it is. 
  15. Callouses on my hands
  16. Eating in a healthy way. 
  17. Any outfit that shows off the awesome muscles in my back. 
  18. Riding clothes that look amazing. 
  19. Dressing in bright colors.
  20. Coaching my Girls on the Run girls. We talk a lot about inner beauty and it helps me to find my own. 
  21. Wearing a tutu. 
  22. Hard work. In my opinion hard work is one of the sexiest things you can do. 
  23. Swinging on a swingset. Maybe this is weird, but I just feel light and free. 
  24. Those awesome days where I wake up and without doing anything look pretty good. 
  25. Having my hair played with. 
  26. Doing yoga.
  27. When my husband comes in from work after I've already come to bed and kisses me goodnight. 
Beauty is…well it's weird. There is science to it, but there is also emotions and how you feel about the person, including yourself. I've decided to like myself and that it's more than okay to appreciate my own appearance. Are the things that make you feel beautiful as strange as mine? 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#LoveMe Day 25, Things That Make Me Laugh


One of the best parts of working with children and animals are the many opportunities I am given for laughter on a daily basis. Animals are silly in their own way, and my students are filled with enough honesty to make anyone crack a smile. Add that to my wacky, crazy family and it's a miracle I don't pull a muscle in my side some days. Also, sometimes I am just way too easily amused. Here are some of the many things that have made me laugh in recent memory.

  1. "My cat ran away. I think she got married or something." ~First Grader
  2. "They put me on the Ritalin. It's for the wildness." ~First Grader
  3. I have a toddler I work with that gives "fish kisses."
  4. My sheltie chases her tail sometimes, to the point that she gets dizzy and falls over. 
  5. Dancing with my 5th grade student to a count by fives song. Neither of us have much rhythm.
  6. I kept yawning one day during a reading lesson and one student looked at me and said "wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey."
  7. I let the dogs out of their play area where they stay when we're not at home. My sheltie tried to run so fast she lost traction in the front end and flipped over backward. 
  8. My Aussie is a food ninja. She also happens to be missing the top teeth on the right side of her mouth, which allows her tongue to reach extra far. The other night after I gave them treats, Sage, the sheltie, dropped her bone. Before she could pick it up, Kona (the Aussie) had, keeping her own treat in her mouth, scooped up Sage's and run for the couch. 
  9. Sage tries to "help" me do yoga. Downward dog takes on a new meaning when you're dodging puppy kisses to the face. 
  10. My oldest horse, Libby, who is 27 and from Maine, romping in the snow last week. 
  11. Any of the challenges I face with my ADHD. Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. 
  12. My friends that really get me.
  13. My sister's raw honesty when it comes to the world. 
  14. The time I had to say, "Evan, stop using Dani's ponytail for an obstacle course."
  15. The time I had to say, "Stop licking the light switch." Though at the time that wasn't funny. 
  16. My family. Seriously, we're hilarious. And mildly inappropriate.  
  17. Buzz Feeds that are completely relatable. The photo, in case you were wondering is from one about being an adult with ADHD. STORY OF MY LIFE!
  18. Sometimes I just search "funny animals" on Pinterest. 
  19. Hilarious autocorrects. 
  20. The face my horses make when they smell something funny. 
  21. Finally getting the adult jokes in old Disney movies. 
  22. The funny spelling mistakes kids make on writing assignments. Almost as funny as messed up autocorrects. 
  23. My Girls on the Run girls and the silly games we play as part of the program. 
  24. Kona's desperate attempts to get my attention. 
  25. Really bad puns. (What do you do with a dead chemist? Barium.)
  26. Our barn kitty, who chases my parent's dogs. 
  27. The time I told my students, get it together, or I'm just going to take a nap, and they started singing me a lullaby. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#LoveMe Day 24, What Makes You Happy


Happiness is something I have been in pursuit of for a long time. Which sounds cheesy, thanks to Will Smith and Thomas Jefferson, now that I think on it, but that doesn't make it any less true. Happiness, in recent years, is not something that has consistently come easily to me. But I know that it is something I deserve, so I am working really hard to find it and hold onto it. It's getting easier, but I have days where I can't seem to uncover it no matter how hard I try. I had started keeping a "5 good things" journal, where I wrote down 5 good things at the end of every day, but I haven't been very good about it the last few weeks. I plan to get back on track with that today. A list of things that make me happy seems like a good way to do it.

  1. A really good book. 
  2. A long ride on a nice horse. 
  3. A good home cooked meal.
  4. Time spent on projects with my husband.
  5. Sewing. 
  6. Getting my hands dirty doing something productive. 
  7. Sore muscles after a hard workout. 
  8. Coaching Girls on the Run.
  9. Love notes from my students. 
  10. Crossing things off my to do list. 
  11. Wearing an outfit. 
  12. Dreaming with my husband. 
  13. Clean sheets. 
  14. A really good cup of coffee. 
  15. Writing. 
  16. Snuggling with my puppies. 
  17. A song that seems to sum up everything you don't have the words for. 
  18. Planting things and watching them grow.
  19. The sound of rain on a metal roof. 
  20. Reassurance from others that I really am doing it right. 
  21. Time spent with friends. 
  22. Baby animals. Really, is it possible to look at a puppy and not smile. 
  23. Secretly wearing something goofy or a little naughty while the rest of me looks perfectly put together. For example, today my socks have pink and orange elephants on them, but I'm dressed for parent teacher conferences. 
  24. Not caring, genuinely not caring, what others think and doing what my heart tells me is right. 
  25. Appreciating the simple things. 
  26. Those "restore your faith in humanity" posts on Pinterest. Sometimes I need those. 
  27. Those quiet moments at the end of the day when you really feel like you've done something right.
I have embarked on a journey to "find my happy" this year. It's a daily challenge, but I believe it will be worth it. What makes you happy? 

#LoveMe Day 23, My Best Feature

A few years ago, the day I achieved my dream of trying sidesaddle. 


I was starting to feel like I was repeating myself on a lot of my blogs, so I decided I would ask for help from my Facebook friends. It's not something I normally do, but I thought about it, and decided something. Isn't part of loving yourself giving others the opportunity to show you love? Here were some of the things my friends said were my best feature, along with a few I added in myself.

  1. I'm not afraid to ask for help. 
  2. My honesty. 
  3. My kind heart. 
  4. My compassion.
  5. I'm hard working. 
  6. I'm resourceful. 
  7. Lots of physical symmetry. 
  8. A cute nose.
  9. Strong hands.
  10. Kind, vibrant eyes. 
  11. I'm take charge. 
  12. I always think of others along the way. 
  13. I'd rather make it on my own than have things handed to me. 
  14. I'm beautiful.
  15. I glow around my husband. 
  16. I'm thoughtful. 
  17. I have a super hot body shape. 
  18. My butt. (From the husband)
  19. My smile.
  20. My brain.
  21. I'll try anything once. 
  22. My laugh.
  23. My hair's pretty nice right now. 
  24. I always stand up for what's right, regardless of popularity.
  25. My dreams are big and I chase them until my lungs feel as if they will burst. 
  26. My belief that tomorrow can be better than today. 
  27. My desire to contribute to a better world. 
I encourage you to give others the opportunity to love you. Sometimes it is the greatest kind of love you can show yourself. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

#LoveMe Day 22, What Makes Me Unique



Unique is one of the more polite words people have used to describe me. Over the years I have been called just about every synonym of the word unique. Odd, strange, weird, out there, bizarre, unusual, freaky, quirky, abnormal, atypical and eccentric are all descriptors I have heard. This used to hurt my feelings, but in the last five years or so I've come to embrace it. Plus, some of the things that previously caused people to label me are becoming sort of trendy or else helping me achieve goals. Here's what makes me unique:

  1. My love of pink, which borders on obsessive.
  2. My tomboyish nature, which makes my love of pink that much more ironic. My aunt once told me that I have reinvented her previous interpretation of pink. 
  3. My obsession with lists and tendency to make them about everything. 
  4. My constant need to challenge myself. 
  5. My dream to be a farmer. How many 25 year old women do you know with that goal?
  6. My religious beliefs. 
  7. My political beliefs. 
  8. The honest but kind approach I take with my students.
  9. The approach I take to fitness and health. 
  10. My desire to do such a wide variety of crafts.
  11. My entrepreneurial spirit. 
  12. My love for horses, which is a phase I am yet to outgrow. 
  13. My love for good food and wine. 
  14. My love for books and the written word. 
  15. The daily fight I engage in for my own happiness. 
  16. The process by which I get things done. 
  17. My desire to put beauty into the world. 
  18. My quest to make the world a better place for others. 
  19. My ties to my family's land and my mission to preserve it. 
  20. My passion for sharing good things with others. 
  21. The way I dress.
  22. My tattoo and the ones I plan to get in the future. 
  23. How close I am to my family. 
  24. My need to write out a plan in order to be able to see something through. 
  25. My ADHD and the way I use it to my advantage. 
  26. The manner in which I approach challenges. That is, head on and as fiercely as possible. 
  27. My love for my community and the desire to support it.
What makes you unique? Whatever it is, be proud of it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

#LoveMe Day 21, Something I'm Proud Of


I'm having one of those days where I really need a cheerleader. Anyone else have those? Where for no reason you feel like you can't quite get it right, even if you've done plenty well that week. Personally, I blame being snowed in and trying to write an IEP for one of my students had something to do with it. I'm new to it and the computer system, combined with still figuring out how to word stuff on it makes me feel stupid. However, I'm snowed in and the only person to cheer me on is me. So hopefully writing this gives me a little mood boost, because I really could use it. Here is what I am proud of.
  1. All the work I put in to being a good teacher. 
  2. Having a stable relationship.
  3. The fact that I'm pretty sure the principals at my school forget that I'm one of the youngest people on staff.
  4. My students genuinely like me. I have love notes to prove it. 
  5. I tell my students I love them every day. What if I am the only one that does? 
  6. The animals I have helped to save. True, I've gotten ones from breeders, but I've also taken in a few rescues and I'll definitely take in more.
  7. I'm one of the most successful individuals with ADHD I know, and I embrace it rather than fight it. 
  8. Coaching Girls on the Run. I'm so proud to be part of that organization. 
  9. I work hard, and I enjoy it. 
  10. I take care of people as much as I can. 
  11. I know how to organize my time well. 
  12. I have faced many challenges and I have never let them defeat me. 
  13. I'm comfortable enough in my own skin that I wear what I want, skip the make-up and feel good. 
  14. I've read a lot of books, and I will read a lot more. 
  15. I can cook pretty well. 
  16. I started my own business.
  17. I'm brave enough to chase my dreams, even though my mother thinks I'm nuts. 
  18. I have found it in my heart to love children who are difficult. 
  19. If I don't know the answer, I go out and find it. 
  20. I can fail without giving up. 
  21. I fight for what I believe in. 
  22. I'm an amazing friend. Call me ant 2am and I promise you I will be there. 
  23. I can take criticism and grow from it. 
  24. I am on track to be debt free before thirty. 
  25. I am working to keep our farm land used for farming.
  26. I take care of my body, and love it even when its not perfect. 
  27. I can write really well. 
What are you proud of? What makes you feel good about yourself? 

Friday, February 20, 2015

#LoveMe Day 20, Something I Love to Wear


I actually like most of my wardrobe. I make a point of only buying things that make me feel good about myself. And if I stop feeling good about myself in an item, I don't hang onto it hoping to diet or exercise my way back into it. Most of my stuff comes from thrift stores anyways, so it's not like I'm out a lot of cash if I get rid of something. However, there are some items in my wardrobe I love and put on when I need a self esteem boost. They're not exactly your typical items, but they're things I think are cute and I have fun in.

  1. My pink cowboy boots. I always own at least one pair and they make me feel like myself. I wore them down the aisle at my wedding. 
  2. My dark wash Old Navy jeans. 
  3. My black vest that makes me look extra skinny. 
  4. My little black dress. 
  5. My super warm and fuzzy socks. 
  6. An adorable off the shoulder pink sweater my sister got me. 
  7. My pink coveralls. Because I like to confuse people. 
  8. My overall shorts. 
  9. My breeches and tall boots. If I can look good in these, I'm doing something right. 
  10. My footie pajamas. 
  11. Wacoal bras. They fit well and everyone needs them. 
  12. My grey leggings.
  13. My grey pea coat. I never wear this without getting lots of compliments. 
  14. My "Coffee Chick" baseball cap, which was given to me as thanks for taking care of people at horse shows. 
  15. My comfortable brown Ariat boots. They felt broken in on day one. 
  16. Converse sneakers, which I will put with absolutely any outfit. 
  17. My green cardigan that looks good with almost everything I own.
  18. My Saucony running shoes, which allow me to keep myself in shape. 
  19. The pearl set my parents gave me when I finished my BA.
  20. The clover set that was left to me by my husband's grandmother and then added to by my husband. 
  21. My class rings, two interlocking horse heads, rather than the traditional. I'm the only person I know that still wears theirs. 
  22. My championship ring I bought for myself after winning my 7th riding title. 
  23. My engagement ring and wedding band. The engagement ring is an antique and the wedding band was found by accident and engraved with tiny four leaf clovers. I love how they look and what they represent. 
  24. My animal hats. I have a koala, a panda, and Perry the Platypus. 
  25. Blazers, which make me feel skinny. 
  26. This green top I have that matches my green pumps perfectly. They got me through a lot of job interviews last year. 
  27. My belt buckles, which add a little southern charm to otherwise businessy outfits. 
I don't care what's in style. I wear what makes me feel good. What do you love to wear? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#LoveMe Day 19, Something I Believe In


If you know me, you know that my opinions tend to be a little strong at times. But I'm secure in what I think and I have justification for most of the things I believe in. Some of my beliefs are political, others are moral and I'll be the first to admit that some are slightly off the wall. Here is a list of my personal beliefs.

  1. I believe in equal rights for men and women. 
  2. I believe in the importance of family and making them a priority. 
  3. I believe in the power of the written word. 
  4. I believe in taking care of myself and making me a priority. 
  5. I believe in showing support for those who have defended our country. 
  6. I believe any goal is attainable if you are willing to make it a priority. 
  7. I believe that every once in a while you need to come up with a reason to throw a party. 
  8. I believe that little girls need ponies. 
  9. I believe that if you are going to have animals then they should be part of your family. 
  10. I believe you should always wear a helmet when on a horse. 
  11. I believe in creativity and its power to change the world. 
  12. I believe there are things in this world that are beyond the power of human comprehension. 
  13. I believe in bacon!
  14. I believe it is never too late to learn something new. 
  15. I believe all children should be shown the love I was growing up. 
  16. I believe in taking care of people. 
  17. I believe that if you can read, you can cook. 
  18. I believe no child is beyond help, but not everyone has the capacity to help every child. 
  19. I believe in dressing in a way that makes you feel good. 
  20. I believe in reducing the amount of waste you put into the world. 
  21. I believe that growing your own food is the best way to ensure you get a healthy diet. (Still working on putting this one into practice.)
  22. I believe that learning should be fun. 
  23. I believe in living a debt free life. 
  24. I believe you should ever show up to someone else's house empty handed (blame the southern woman in me).
  25. I believe handmade gifts are excellent gifts.
  26. I believe friends are family that we get to choose. 
  27. I believe in giving my best every day. 
What do you believe in? What is important to you? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#LoveMe Day 17, Things that Feed My Soul



I am lucky enough to come from a family that places a lot of value on happiness and individual choice. Walk into a room with my family and you will see a G.E.D. conversing with a Ph. D. and no one is uncomfortable or feels any less of a person for it. I know what feeds my soul and lights me up from the inside out. Here are 27 things that I consider to be my soul food.

  1. Having dinner with my husband. 
  2. My dogs and how happy they are to live with us. Farm dogs have it made. 
  3. Planting things and watching them grow. 
  4. Reading books that are in line with my goals. 
  5. Writing about things I believe in. 
  6. Spending time with my extended family. 
  7. Watching my horses run up from the field when I whistle. 
  8. Cooking really good food from scratch. 
  9. The whir of my sewing machine. 
  10. Crossing things off my to do list. 
  11. Running with my Girls on the Run girls. 
  12. The smiles of my students. 
  13. Sore muscles after a good workout. 
  14. Music. 
  15. Yoga. 
  16. The smiles of all the babies and toddlers in my life. 
  17. Days with warm sunshine. 
  18. A hot bowl of soup on a cold day. 
  19. Going to bed at night totally prepared for the next day. 
  20. Making plans for the farm. 
  21. Sharing what we have with friends. 
  22. Learning something new. 
  23. Doing something nice for someone else. 
  24. Spending time with the horses on the farm.
  25. The smell of rosemary. 
  26. Working on projects with my husband. 
  27. Laughter shared with family and friends. 
Feeding the soul is every bit as important as feeding the mind and body. What are you doing today to feed yours? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

#LoveMe Day 16, Something I Like About Myself


Yesterday I talked in my post about how we are so reluctant to give ourselves credit. On the same note, we're also really reluctant to admit the things we like about ourselves. "Not to be cocky," we say. Or "at the risk of being vain," we preface. Is it really so wrong to look in the mirror and find yourself beautiful? Is is so horrendous to go through the traits you possess and smile about a few of them? Sticking with my favorite number, here are the things I like about myself.

  1. My eyes. They're this really cool green that changes shades based on what I wear. 
  2. The fact that I wear glasses. I have no desire for contacts. I think I look smart. 
  3. I have really good common sense.
  4. I can figure out most things. 
  5. I am well read. I actually get most of the references in Gilmore Girls. 
  6. The fact that I don't wear makeup. I see no need. 
  7. I've never felt the need to experiment with drugs. 
  8. My belly button ring. It's a crowning jewel on a work in progress.
  9. My tattoo, which represents my love for many things. 
  10. My budgeting skills. I can stretch a dollar like nobody's business.
  11. I can have a conversation with just about anyone. 
  12. My quirky style, which consists of animal hats and pink cowboy boots. 
  13. This may sound strange, but there's a mole on my collar bone that I think adds a nice bit of character. 
  14. My back, which is well toned and gorgeous from years of farm labor. 
  15. My writing skills. 
  16. The fact that my friends have been born in multiple decades. 
  17. My cooking skills.
  18. My creativity. 
  19. My craftiness. 
  20. My commitment every day to my own happiness.
  21. The effort I make to be nice to others.
  22. The ability I have to have a positive impact on children. 
  23. My work ethic. I am one of the hardest working people I know. 
  24. My ability to be content at the bottom of the ladder. One of the principals at my school said something to me about becoming an administrator someday, but I have no desire. It would put me too far away from my kids. 
  25. I take responsibility for myself and my mistakes.
  26. I take care of people. 
  27. I can speak in public without fear. 
I'm going to love myself, including my flaws. What do you love about yourself? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

#LoveMe Day 15, Something I've Done Right



How rarely we as women give ourselves credit for the things that we have accomplished. Someone pays us a compliment, and instead of taking it, we reject it. Oh, I haven't lost that much weight , I still have a long way to go. Oh my cookies aren't that good, besides the recipe is so easy. That degree hanging on my wall I worked so hard for, it was just something I had to do. On and on. What is wrong with tooting our own horns now and again?

Once in conversation with my uncle, I said something to the effect of, "At the risk of tooting my own horn…" he cut me off and said, "You'd better toot your own horn. No one else will do it for you." So today, I am going to toot my own horn, ring my own bell, sound my own alarm and declare myself awesome. Here are 27 awesome things I have done or am doing.

  1. I started this blog for myself, following my own rules, without any need to please anyone else. 
  2. I married a terrific man and didn't settle for anything less than a fabulous life partner.
  3. I have made the choice not to bring children into the world until I am ready and can give them the life I feel they deserve.
  4. I am 3 years away from being debt free by following the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover plan.
  5. I am a phenomenal writer.
  6. I finished high school, a BA and an M. Ed. when some though I wouldn't finish high school. 
  7. I pay all my own bills and find extra ways to save and bring in money for my family. 
  8. I started my own side craft business.
  9. I am a really good first year teacher. 
  10. I am taking responsibility for my own personal health and happiness.
  11. I work a second job at a church to help support my family.
  12. I am starting a garden this year and pursuing the dream of farming full time. 
  13. I know how to cook an awesome dinner. 
  14. I coach Girls on the Run.
  15. I busted my butt to get my Justin Morgan Badge from the American Morgan Horse Association. 
  16. I have taught myself crafting techniques by being willing to do the research. 
  17. I am very organized and manage my time well.
  18. I take good care of my animals. 
  19. I have big dreams AND the courage to pursue them.
  20. I have refused to let any medical diagnosis define me or how I live my life.
  21. I am kind to others and do nice things without expecting anything back. 
  22. I can recognize my flaws without hating myself for them.
  23. I read books as a way to broaden my mind and further educate myself. 
  24. I dress nicely and put thought into my personal appearance. 
  25. I take personal responsibility for how I feel and do not depend on others to make me happy. 
  26. I am strong enough to climb rock walls, ride horses, lift hay bales and keep going through hard points. 
  27. I am true to myself. 
What have you done right? Today is the day. Time to give yourself some credit. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

#LoveMe Day 13, Share a Quote


I love quotes, and there are quite a few I try to keep on reserve as mantras for my life. These are things I pull on when nothing else makes sense and my own words don't seem to be enough. Here are 27 of my favorites.

  1. "Worry is a misuse of your imagination." ~Unknown
  2. "Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not today, but eventually." ~Unknown 
  3. "Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can." ~Unknown
  4. "I am in charge of how I feel, and today I am choosing happiness." ~Unknown
  5. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn." ~Unknown
  6. "A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness." ~Elsa Schiaparelli
  7. "If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough." ~Unknown
  8. "Your past is just a story, and once your realize this, it has no power over you." ~Unknown
  9. "Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right." ~Clinton Anderson
  10. "Life is tough, but so are you." ~Kid President
  11. "When the world says 'give up,' hope says 'try one more time.'"~Walt Disney
  12. "Sometimes getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air." ~Sarah Kay
  13. "Start each day with a grateful heart." ~Unknown
  14. "Your dream doesn't have an expiration date. Take a deep breathe and try again." ~Unknown
  15. "Success doesn't come to you, you go to it." ~Marva Collins
  16. "Be happy, it drives people crazy." ~Unknown
  17. "The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it." ~Jordan Belfort
  18. "The question isn't who's going to let me. It's who's going to stop me. ~Ayn Rand
  19. "My definition of freedom is knowing who you are and them being it, no matter what anyone else is doing." ~P!nk
  20. "Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
  21. "Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack." ~Unknown
  22. "Food, a French man told me once, is the first wealth. Grow it right and you will feel insanely rich, no matter what you own." ~Kristin Kimball
  23. "Don't let the muggles get you down." ~JK Rowling
  24. "Home is wherever my bunch of crazies are." ~Unknown
  25. "Sweat dries, blood clots, bones heal. Suck it up princess." ~Unknown
  26. "My heart says chocolate, but my jeans say 'for the love of god woman, eat a salad.'"~Unknown
  27. "I can do waterer I want, I have the megaphone." Mr. Feeny
What are some of yours? 

#LoveMe Day 12, Share a Flaw

I actually kind of love this picture. 

Some people try to hide their flaws, but I've always worn them on my sleeves, along with my heart, my hopes, my feelings and my pride. I am not one for concealment, and sometimes perhaps this is in and of itself a flaw. Most of them I accept and allow to show. My hope in doing this is that no one ever sees me as fake or expects one thing and gets another. I could share just one flaw, but the number 27 is one that I always seem to go for, so here are 27 flaws I see in myself. 
  1. I have a hard time following the directions exactly. This goes for this writing challenge, when I make a recipe, and even when I write myself directions for lesson plans for each week. 
  2. I am terrible about returning e-mails and phone calls, and I NEVER check my voice mail. 
  3. I can be entirely too much of a people pleaser, and often forget that I can disagree with people without losing friends. 
  4. My process of doing things often lacks efficiency. 
  5. I have anxiety. This is one of the few flaws it took a long time to admit to myself and the world. However, I'm finally starting to admit it, and ironically, I'm less anxious. 
  6. I can be self destructive in my quest for personal health. 
  7. I'm not patient, at all. 
  8. I am easily one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet. 
  9. I bite off more than I can chew all the time. 
  10. I talk WAY too much. 
  11. I'm super competitive, which isn't always a bad thing, but occasionally gets in the way of other stuff. 
  12. I forget to do basic things if I get distracted. Things like, putting on my deodorant. 
  13. There are time where I am just plain lazy. 
  14. My voice is LOUD. Which I supposed you could argue is useful, since I'm a teacher, but I swear I've spent half my life being told to lower it. 
  15. I can overreact with the best of them. 
  16. It takes me a long time to make my mind up about some people. This comes from me trying not to judge other too quickly. 
  17. I have a hard time taking compliments. When I get one "Just say thank you," has to run through my head before "Thank you," rather than a defense of the compliment, comes out of my mouth.
  18. Sometimes I spend too much time setting goals and forget to live in the here and now. 
  19. I can be careless with things, such as clothing and electronics. 
  20. I can be jealous of others at times. 
  21. I worry that I don't give my dogs enough attention. 
  22. I don't say thank you enough. 
  23. I can be very inconsistent. 
  24. My horses need a lot more from me than I have been giving them recently. 
  25. I expect too much from myself and from others. 
  26. My failure to communicate sometimes gets me into binds. 
  27. I let fear make a lot of my choices for me. 
I fight these demons every day, and I'm working on correcting most of them. It helps me to remind myself that life is a journey, and I need to embrace the process, not the end goal. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#LoveMe Challenge Day 11, Share a Smile

I'm a huge Pinterest nut and when I'm feeling down, I often peruse Pinterest for a laugh or a smile or an AWWWW. This week has been particularly challenging with the death of my grandmother, and while I'd take a selfie of me smiling, it probably wouldn't do much for anyone's spirits, least of all mine. So instead, here are some of my favorite photos I stumbled across (I own none of them) that have made me smile this week. Please enjoy!
  1. Not that this has ever happened to me…    
  2. If this doesn't make you smile, I'm not sure what will. 
  3. I had a horse that actually did this.
  4. This is probably how Anna thinks. 
  5. How I'm sure my dogs feel some mornings. 
  6. I really have no idea why I find this so funny. 
  7. I would absolutely take my dogs there. 
  8. I send this picture to people who are feeling down. 
  9. This is from my favorite calendar series. I've gotten one for the last two years. 
  10. So true…
  11. Morgan Nationals a few years ago in one of the junior exhibitor classes. This child's face says it all. 
  12. Tutus and ponies. Two of my favorite things. 
  13. Sometimes I make this face too!
  14. Nap time anyone?                                                                  
Hope I got you to grin. Have a nice day!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#LoveMe Day 10, Share a Secret


Secrets are sort of challenging for me because the truth is I don't have any I can really think of. Not true secrets anyway. Everything there is to know about me at least one person knows. For this challenge, I think I'll share 27 things that are not well known about me. Not huge secrets, nothing I would have a problem with someone knowing, but things that are not immediately apparent to the eye, or that I don't think you would guess just by looking at me.

  1. Velvet gives me the creeps. I really don't want it to touch any part of my skin, and if it does, I really just want to go bathe.
  2. I am really scared that due to some of my medical history, the process of trying to get pregnant is going to be a big challenge and that it may not happen. 
  3. I am equally terrified, due to this medical history, of getting pregnant by accident. 
  4. Additionally, I am really afraid to be a bad mother. 
  5. I am mildly obsessed with Wise hot cheese popcorn. 
  6. I often give up on technology if I can't figure it out. It's part of why I'm really okay with us not having cable. 
  7. I am terrified that I will say the wrong thing to a student. 
  8. I am capable of considering someone my best friend without the need for mutual feelings on the part of the other person. You are who you are to me, and as long as you don't hate my guts, I don't see a problem.
  9. If I didn't teach elementary ed, I'd have a lot more tattoos. 
  10. I assign human characteristics to inanimate objects way more than I should.
  11. The number 27 comes from my mother putting on music when we were younger and telling us to pick up 27 things. Now it's just how I do things. 
  12. I hate carrying my cell phone, but I'm scared the one call I miss will be the one I really should have taken. 
  13. I fixate on certain concepts entirely too heavily. For example, the movie 50 first dates is one I have analyzed to death. 
  14. I say cutesy romantic acts are cheesy, but I actually wouldn't turn down being swept off my feet once in a while. 
  15. I hate absolute labels. Black/white, gay/straight, nice/mean. No one is that definitive. 
  16. Sometimes I refuse to acknowledge the news, simply because it's too depressing and there s nothing I can do about it.
  17. I think I'd still vote democrat, but elections make me feel horribly uninformed. 
  18. I genuinely believe I will one day have exactly the life I want. 
  19. One day, I want to get in my car and just drive with no destination in mind. 
  20. I don't pt much stock in the meaning of dreams, but any time my life feels out of control, mine contain cars that are difficult or impossible to drive. 
  21. I was terrified to take medication for my Chronic Pain Syndrome, because it's an antidepressant and I was scared I'd lose myself. Now I wish I'd done it sooner. 
  22. I really want to make my younger self proud. 
  23. The TV I watch is REALLY bad. 
  24. I'm 99% sure my husband is too good for me. 
  25. I never went to a single college party, and I don't feel like I missed out on anything. 
  26. I daydream about doing something crazy to my personal appearance and not telling anyone. 
  27. If I like something/someone, I decide immediately. If I dislike it, it takes me a long time to make up my mind. 
What are some of your secrets? 

Monday, February 9, 2015

#LoveMe Challenge Day 9, Share Something Beautiful

This is one of the hardest topics yet. I am surrounded by so much beauty, being blessed as I am to live on a farm, to teach wonderful children, and to have an amazing family. Here are 27 things that I encounter on a daily basis that are beautiful to me.

  1. The students I get to teach, particularly my first graders, who can get a smile out of me on even my worst day.
  2. The people I get to work with who are continually supportive of all that I encounter. 
  3. The homemade bread my husband has taken up baking as of late. 
  4. The way my parents still adore each other, even after 25+ years of marriage. 
  5. The two Morgan mares that come running at my whistle.
  6. A husband that is willing to dream crazy dreams with me. 
  7. The trailer we live in, a true labor of love.
  8. The land we live on, representing years of farming both past and to come. 
  9. The love my family has for eat other, and their undying commitment to make the world a better place.
  10. The two dogs who snuggle with me on the couch each night. 
  11. The ability I have to make crafty things that can be enjoyed by others. 
  12. My writing ability. 
  13. The written word of so many others that guide me through difficult times. 
  14. My newfound search for self acceptance and love. 
  15. The humor that is everyday life.
  16. The assurance that if I mix together eggs and cheese and put them in a frying pan I can scramble an amazing egg. 
  17. The many babies Brad and I are lucky enough to get to watch grow. 
  18. The many goals I have the courage to pursue. 
  19. My family and all the love it has to offer. 
  20. The few extra minutes of daylight I see each day as we get closer and closer to spring. 
  21. Music of all kinds and the healing power it has. 
  22. Friendship that spans generations. 
  23. Embracing the process of my fitness journey, instead of just focusing on the end result.
  24. The girls I get to coach for Girls on the Run. 
  25. Smiles from all.
  26. Random acts of kindness in any form. 
  27. Joy and the pursuit of it. 
Beauty is joy in its purest form. 

#LoveMe Day 8, Share a Scar

The only way this woman lived to be 90 was because of how big her heart was. 


My scars on the whole are really not very impressive. A few on my hands from barbed wire, one on my chin from a vicious attack on the part of a hardwood floor, and one on my shin that I think came from a metal tent stake at a local festival, but honestly I'm not sure. I also have three small scars from my appendectomy, which are so small, I feel silly even calling them scars.

However, as has already been pointed out by others, some scars are not visible, and on day 8 of the love me challenge, my family lost our matriarch. Grandmuttee, at 90, went to join her husband in heaven. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Her pain is gone, and she left a hell of a legacy of love and kindness in the world. While her loss will leave a scar on all of us, it is more a badge of honor, to have been part of a family where the love was so deep. Losing part of it does leave a mark, but it is more of a reminder of where we came from, and what we should do to honor that heritage.

Friday, February 6, 2015

#LoveMe Day 6, A Letter to my Future Self

Remember me? I hope you've made her proud. 

Dear Older and Hopefully Wiser Me,

I hope you're reading this in February of 2020 and that it makes you smile. That you say, "Yes, little me, it did all work out," or "it didn't turn out the way we thought, it's better." I had a lot of goals for us when I wrote this, and I hope you've accomplished or are at least closer to them. Here is what I hope you have done.

  1. I hope you and Brad still fall for each other a little more every day. 
  2. I hope that you have figured out a way to make a little extra money with your blog. 
  3. I hope that if you aren't debt free yet, then you're very close. 
  4. I hope that if you don't have a horse to suit your purposes yet, that you are at least in a place where you can do more than casually browse. 
  5. I hope the farm looks better now then it does when you wrote this. 
  6. I hope you have made at least one new friend.
  7. I  hope you and Beth are still close. 
  8. I hope your life is filled with laughter and smiles. 
  9. I hope you stuck with it, and are still writing down five good things before you go to sleep every night. 
  10. I hope that if you are not a parent yet, it is on the horizon. 
  11. I hope you met your fitness goals, and that you feel good in your own skin. 
  12. I hope you have picked up a few new skills in an area that interests you. 
  13. I hope you have written a book that you are proud of. 
  14. I hope you are close to building your own house.
  15. I hope the farm has been turned into a business of some sort. 
  16. I hope you have gone on at least one of your dream trips.
  17. I hope you are doing a job that makes you happy and that you believe in.
  18. I hope you have done at least one crazy fitness event. 
  19. I hope your Etsy business is still going, as long as it makes you happy. 
  20. I hope that your Pinterest boards have more on your "I've done this" boards and less on your "I want to try this" boards. 
  21. I hope that your flexibility has improved. And really, that shouldn't take too much effort because you're about as stretchy as a block of wood right now. 
  22. I hope that you're still doing great things in the community and helping kids. 
  23. I hope you have held onto your identity and are making choices to please yourself and not others. 
  24. I hope you are still reading like your life depends on it. It does. 
  25. I hope there is always room for one more place at your kitchen table. 
  26. I hope your inner voice is a kind one. 
  27. I hope that no matter where you are or what your official job title says, that you are both teaching and learning with love and joy in your heart. 
I'd like to believe you will be proud of us. That you'll look down at your calloused hands and then out your window and see at least a few of your dreams looking back at you. Most of all, I hope you will then be setting new goals to pursue. I love you, whoever you have become. 

#LoveMe

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#Love Me Day 5, A Letter to a Past Me


Dear Me Minus One Year,

Right now you're reeling from 2013, which was a tough year overall. 2014 won't be the easiest, but it will be better. 2015 promises to be the best trip around the sun yet. Would you believe me if I told you that:

  1. Today you have bronchitis, but you still can't seem to stop smiling.
  2. Your boss praised you publicly to a group of much more experienced teachers today, and that one of them was nice enough to share the information with you.
  3. You are volunteering to coach Girls on the Run. 
  4. You have two adorable dogs that light up your whole day
  5. You have some really good friends at your teaching job.
  6. You haven't had a pain spike from Chronic Pain Syndrome since October. 
  7. Brad has become a dog person.
  8. The two of you are laying out plans for a garden this year.
  9. You no longer live in that tiny apartment.
  10. You actually got to move back to the farm…without having to move in with your mother. 
  11. You are on track to be debt free by 28.
  12. People actually read a blog you write, and like it. 
  13. When you stopped giving a damn what other people thought, you started getting a lot more compliments. 
  14. You didn't have to go back to waiting tables to get out of a bad job situation.
  15. You're in the process of converting the fences on the farm to wood. 
  16. The most common thing you hear out of your students mouthes isn't "F*** you," anymore. It's "I love you."
  17. No matter who you co-teach with next year, odds are it will be one of your favorite people. 
  18. You and your body may not always agree, but you're definitely working much better together. 
  19. You haven't missed a single day of exercise this year. 
  20. You have time to read again.
  21. Brad has figured out how to cook some of the best food you've ever had. 
  22. You actually want to learn how to shoot. (One word, horrified 2014 me, coyotes.)
  23. You might actually have figured out what the heck to do with your life. 
  24. You somehow managed to finish graduate school. 
  25. Even your most difficult student is one you can love and adore without significant soul searching or effort. 
  26. You rock climb on a regular basis. 
  27. You are happier than you could have ever hoped to be. 
You probably don't because for all of our good points, we're still skeptical, but I'm telling you: trust yourself! We've done a lot in the last year. I leave you with the lyrics to one of our favorite songs. "Hold your head high. Don't ever let them define the light in your eyes. Love yourself, give them hell, you can take on this world. Just stand and be strong and fight like a girl. Have style and grace, kick ass and take names."

#LoveMe

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#LoveMe Day 4, Someone That Loves Me


I met my husband, Brad, in 6th grade, but I didn't fall for him until after my sophomore year of college. He, however, has loved me since I was 15. He is literally one of the best people I could ever hope to know. The fact that he loves me is still amazing to me sometimes.

Last year, I read "The Five Languages of Love," which explains how different people feel loved by others in different ways. My love language is acts of service, which means that words, gifts and even physical touch don't really register with me as acts of love.  Don't get me wrong, they're nice, but I don't  receive a present from my husband and think, "he got this because he loves me." Meanwhile, Brad's love language is primarily quality time and words of affirmation. We've both had to work hard to become bilingual, but doing so has significantly improved our relationship.

Here are 27 sweet "I Love Yous" my husband has shown me through acts of service.

  1. He comes to the school I work at and fixes things in my classroom. 
  2. He's taken over making dinner as of late so I can focus on doing other things. 
  3. He takes care of my horses on the nights I am running late. 
  4. He's been on the night shift for the last couple of days and has come home and made me breakfast. 
  5. He also agreed to change his last name when we got married so we could have the same last name without me having to give up mine. Both of ours are hyphenated. 
  6. Last year when I set up a mini golf course for field day, Brad made the golf clubs. 
  7. Despite working 10 hour nights this week, I came home to all the laundry done yesterday. 
  8. Agreeing to take on two dogs, despite not being a "pet person." (Although he now admits he can't imagine life without them.)
  9. He plans activities for us. If that were my job, we would never make it anywhere. 
  10. He puts up with my crazy, wacky friends.
  11. He always does the right thing and finds a way to make it work. Last year when my friend's mom died, he took care of the floral arrangements. 
  12. He continues to find ways to make my craft space and storage more efficient. 
  13. On some of the roughest days as a teacher (and I love my job, but there are still days) I have come home to a glass of wine already poured. 
  14. He's currently in the process of helping me convert the fences at the farm to wood. 
  15. He's helped me treat numerous horse boo boos. 
  16. Sometimes, he tells me not to do something that I have put pressure on myself to do, and works with me to come up with a graceful solution.
  17. We have plans this weekend to build planting boxes so we can start our garden. 
  18. If I really love a book, he'll read it too so we can talk about it. 
  19. Recently, we have been talking about trying to make the farm an actual business. He's been doing extra research just to figure out how to make it happen. 
  20. He has supported me in my fitness goals this year. 
  21. He manages our finances, which, believe me, is reason enough to feel his love. It takes me forever. 
  22. He has been willing to try new things with me. 
  23. He helps me pick out items for my classroom store, especially when I'm clueless. 
  24. He helps me to put together lesson materials. 
  25. He helped me put together a BBQ at the beginning of the year since I was at a new school and was afraid of not knowing anyone. 
  26. He takes care of the car maintenance so I don't have to. 
  27. Any goal I set, he shows support of not just verbally, but with actions. 
How lucky I am to have someone who loves me so much. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#LoveMe Day 3, A Word that Describes Me

   
Covered in my GOTR name "Hardworking Hailey" at GOTR training.


I recently signed on to coach a Girls on the Run team. For those of you that don't know, Girls on the Run is a program for girls in 3rd-5th grade that uses running as a tool to teach girls about lifelong health and fitness, as well as self esteem and respect for others. So far, it's been really fun. Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to coaches training to help me to better understand the program. As part of one of the activities, we had to come up with a Girls on the Run name and were instructed to choose an adjective that begins with the same letter as our first name that describes us. It took me about 5 seconds to write down Hardworking Hailey. Everyone wrote down everyone else's GOTR name, and then we played a game where we ran laps while finding everyone on our list. It was like getting patted on the back for who I was.

I'm not always sure of myself, but I am sure of one thing. I am a hard worker and I always have been. I have had lots of advantages in my life. To say otherwise would be to mislead you. My parents are supportive, I have always had financial stability, and my extended family is helpful and kind. I have been blessed with many good friends and a wonderful husband. But many things have not come easily to me.

In second grade I was diagnosed with ADHD. I have always had to work harder in school than those around me, but I was willing and I made good grades. A few teachers looked at me and saw only my label. Most of them eventually changed their minds, once they saw how much effort I put forth, but a few were unconvinced. The worst of these told me she would be surprised to see me finish high school.  Not only did I finish high school, but I got my BA in Interdisciplinary studies with minors in English, History and Animal Science, and my M.Ed. in Special Education. During that time I also showed horses competitively, worked part or full time (depending on the year and my course load), and found several other ways to earn money.

Today I am proud to still be a hard worker. I teach Special Education, work in a church nursery on Sunday morning, take care of three horses and two dogs, and am working with my husband to turn our farm into a profitable business venture. It will take lots more sweat, but I'm proud of being willing to work so hard.

Monday, February 2, 2015

#LoveMe Day 2, A Picture of Myself


That's me in 2010. Before. Before good and bad things. Before I started writing with a passion. Before I forgot who I was. Before I married the man of my dreams. Before I took a job I hated. Before I knew who my real friends were. Before I was diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome. Before I finished two degrees, which some believed I never could.

Good and bad has happened in the last five years, and I'm starting to realize that maybe it was all good, since it brought me here, to a place where I'm starting to understand myself and what I want. Perhaps a little rough around the edges and tattered at the seams, but still wonderfully alive and beautiful and in tact.

I love this photo. My husband took it right after we first started dating. He always does seem to capture me better than anyone else. I am 19, and if you could see the rest of the picture, you would see that I am grooming my horse. To me this image shows the two different sides of me simultaneously, which is no simple feat. In this image I look both completely focused and yet very far away. Calm and yet, in my mind, completely wild, although that could just be that my hair is down, something I never do with it anymore. Peaceful, and yet somehow restless. They are two different sides that I embrace each and every day.

The good things that have happened since this picture have made me a better, stronger and happier person. But the bad things have too. And so though the two sets of events conflict, they are two sides to the same coin. Two perspectives on the same life. I choose to embrace both.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The #LoveMe Challenge


Today is the first day of February and while most of America is out shopping for their Superbowl party tonight, I am contemplating what I want my goals and focus to be for the month of February. In January, I focused on doing things to make myself happier, kicking off my reading challenge, and changing my fitness and eating habits. The good points so far have been:

  • Coming up with a clearer long term goal. 
  • Starting 8 books and finishing 7 (I'm still in the middle of Gone With the Wind)
  • Losing 5 or 6 pounds. I'm not trying to make myself feel better here. My scale is a temperamental little jerk and it tells me something different every time I step on it. 
  • Writing quite a bit. 
  • Enjoying life just a little more. 
For February, I wanted to focus on love. Cheesy, yes, but it's too cold to work on the farm, and I'm not ready to tackle home management, finances or writing just yet. But this is still a daunting focus area. Love includes love of family, love of friends, love of partner and love of self. No wonder millions of books have been written on the subject. 

While I will spend the month working on my marriage (not that it's bad, but it can always be better), my primary focus is going to be loving myself. In working on improving my mental and physical health through the month of January, I realized how hard on myself I can be. While most would say that what I have accomplished in my life so far is awesome, I often feel that it is not enough. 

I am going to be participating in the #LoveMe challenge, created by fellow blogger Pepper Scraps. Each day I will write a blog based on her topic of the day. You may see some additional posts, but that's where my focus will be. Meanwhile, offline I'm going to continue trying to be healthy both in body and in mind and enjoying the process along the way. Feel free to join with me by clicking the link above. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Zombie Apocalypse Vegas Slut Bag (Farm Girl Version)


Okay, before you panic and think I've gone totally off the deep end with the post title, let me explain. That comes from a show called Bunheads, which was made by the same person who created Gilmore Girls, but never reached the same level of popularity. In it, a Vegas showgirl  marries a man from a small coastal town on a whim and travels back with him to his home town. Less than a week into their marriage, he is killed in a freak car accident, and rather than return to Vegas, she opts to stay and teach at her mother in law's dance studio. The fact that is was cancelled is completely beyond me, but no one bothered to ask for my opinion. Moving on, though really I'm still not over it, especially since it ended on a cliff hanger.

In one episode, she pulls out a bag which she calls her "Zombie Apocalypse Vegas Slut Bag", which she says would help her survive anything from Vegas to the Zombie Apocalypse. I feel that every woman needs a survival kit of sorts, so I thought I'd tell you what should go into that of a farmer's granddaughter.

  1. A small memento, to always remind her who she is. 
  2. A good pair of backup socks. Blisters=bad, and if she's running from anything, it's probably a good idea to have them. 
  3. A shotgun, not so much to protect herself, but her animals. 
  4. A lighter, or matches, in case the need for fire arises.
  5. Hair ties. It's not a vanity thing. She can't stand to have hair in her face and shaving it, while appealing at times, on the whole sounds like it might be cold. 
  6. A hoof pick. Every horse woman knows the power of a hoof pick.
  7. Vet wrap. This works as an ace wrap and as bandaids. Just in case of injury. 
  8. A comfortable pillow. A girl has to sleep. 
  9. Duct tape. Essential for the farm life. 
  10. A really sturdy pair of gloves. Ones that will protect her hands from briars, baling twine, and all other essentials. 
  11. A baseball cap. Cowboy hats are over the top in 99% of cases. She lives in a baseball cap.
  12. Baling twine. In the farm world, if she has a roll of duct tape and a length of baling twine, she can fix just about anything. 
  13. A broken in pair of jeans. Dirt optional. 
  14. A good knife. Well cared for and sharpened. 
  15. A pad of blank paper, just in case she needs to write something down. 
  16. A flashlight, to see through the dark nights and early mornings. 
  17. A good camera, to preserve the moments. 
  18. A string of pearls, to appropriately dress up any look. 
  19. Hot sauce to keep things spicy. 
  20. A good book for when she has a few minutes of down time. 
  21. A helmet. Because a farmer's granddaughter guards her head and her heart. 
  22. A good leather cleaner, for keeping her tools in good repair. 
  23. A few peppermints for her favorite horse. 
  24. An awesome sports bra. Support is no joke. 
  25. Fly spray to keep bugs away from herself and her horse. 
  26. A homemade quilt, stitched with love. 
  27. The knowledge that she is enough, that what she is doing is worth the trouble, and that those that matter love her unconditionally. 
What would be in your Zombie Apocalypse Vegas Slut Bag?