10 Things I Hate About You, Anxiety

By: Leah Prescott

23388685185_13243c6afa_o1) I hate that my personality is often stifled by my inner anxiety monster.

2) I hate that anxiety drains me so much, physically and mentally.

3) I hate that anxiety makes even the little things feel insurmountable.

4) I hate that anxiety keeps me from seeing reality.

5) I hate that anxiety eats away at my confidence.

6) I hate that anxiety causes me to miss out on important events.

7) I hate that anxiety causes my guilt to outweigh my joy.

8) I hate that my anxiety might be passed along to my children.

9) I hate that anxiety separates me from people that I love.

10) I hate that anxiety is such a part of me that I cannot ever totally let it go.


If you experience any of the above symptoms on a regular basis, you may want to talk with your doctor. Below are resources for additional information about anxiety disorders:

Women’s Health – Anxiety Disorders

National Institute of Mental Health – Anxiety Disorders

WebMD – Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

Getting My Second Chance Right

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

MaryPatI know I’ve mentioned how much I love Positively Positive, and an article in today’s morning email just reminded me why.

When I survived my ruptured brain aneurysm a year ago, I had so many people tell me that I must’ve lived for a reason. One person was even so assertive as to tell me that I needed to find my purpose and fulfill it. They told me that as I was struggling with post-aneurysm issues at Shepherd Center, and I replied, very sarcastically, “Let me learn how to walk again, and then I’ll get to that purpose.”

Today’s article in Positively Positive, Finding Your Life Purpose: It’s Closer Than You Think, asserts that while fixating on finding our purpose that we miss out on important stuff in the present. I love that concept, and it makes me feel better about not having “found my purpose.”

In my morning conversation with God, which usually occurs somewhat hastily on the way to work, I often ask for guidance in being the best version of me that I can be that day. Sometimes opportunities present themselves and we take action, other times we may provide just what someone needs without even knowing it.  Kismet, if you will.

I wish I had written the article in today’s Positively Positive, but I’m thankful that I saw it. It is proof positive that I’m getting this “second chance” thing right.

I’m a Jewelryholic

By: Chaunte McClure

My name is Chaunte and I’m a jewelryholic. But I don’t want help with my addiction. I know, what a shame to know I have a problem, but no interest in resolving it. How hypocritical of me! I just want to admit that I love jewelry. I mean, I really love jewelry. You see, he doesn’t have to go to Jared. For me, every kiss doesn’t begin with Kay. Buy me a five- or six-dollar necklace from Target and you’re spot on. Fashion jewelry is all I need.

There’s something about silver, gold, rhinestones and pearls that make my heart sing. Jewelry, especially a necklace, brings life to a simple T-shirt and jeans ensemble, a button up, or a low neckline top. Necklaces are my favorite and what I own the most of. I have a few bracelets, but because my wrist is so small, it’s usually difficult to find bracelets that fit well. But that’s not a concern when it comes to necklaces.

daisyNo matter what store I visit, I always gravitate to the jewelry section. Yesterday I made a quick run to Target to help someone shop for items for a baby shower, to later find myself rummaging through the jewelry clearance items. (That’s where you can find the $5 and $6 jewelry.)

I occasionally splurge and buy a beautifully crafted handmade treasure like the one I recently found online at The Vintage Bar. It’s a choker made of copper with a mix of colorful beads intricately designed for a fashionista or a jewelryholic like me. It’s truly a work of art. I don’t even know what to wear with it, but the day will come when Daisy De Santiago (Yeah, that’s her name.) will accent something in my closet.

Sometimes I have the outfit first, then I’ll look for jewelry to coordinate with it. Most times the jewelry calls my name and ends up coming home with me. That’s why my armoire is overflowing. I’m Chaunte and I’m a jewelryholic.

I know I’m not alone. Admit that you have a problem. If you do, please share tips on how to neatly store your jewelry.

Live. Love. Laugh. Hope.

By: Katie Austin

live_laugh_love_hopeToday I woke up. That’s always a start to the day. 🙂 I had plans to go to work, dinner with family and then whatever I could fit in afterwards. I started to go through my get-ready-for-work routine and I wasn’t feeling well. I have been fighting a stomach virus for a few days and was trying to get back into a regular routine. I didn’t feel like myself. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was different.

Everything in the house was the same, in its place where it was when I went to bed last night.

I looked in the mirror and what was looking back at me was the same.

Why was I feeling this way?

Did something happen that I wasn’t aware of?

I checked my phone. No text messages or phone calls. Surely if something happened I would have at least gotten a phone call or text message.

I then checked Facebook. Nothing new there either.

I thought I was losing my mind and chalked it up to not feeling well. Maybe I was running a fever and my thoughts weren’t clear. I emailed work to let them know I would be taking the day off, fixed a cup of coffee, sat on the couch and turned on the morning news.

I just couldn’t shake the feeling I was having. What was going on?

Then it came to me. Like someone tapping their finger on my shoulder to get my attention. It took me a minute to know that someone was trying to get my attention. I turned to look and no one was there.

You see, it was God.

Here I was, frustrated the last few days because I had a stomach virus and couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. It was like a lightbulb went off. I realized I needed to use this time to not only get myself well, but to re-focus my life. Today was my tomorrow to make the needed changes. It was time to start healing.

I needed to stop making excuses and to start making a plan to get where I want to be. I wouldn’t get into my car and start driving to a new place without bringing up directions on my phone or GPS. If I did that, I could expect to drive in circles or at least take longer to get to where I was going. That is, if I knew where I was going.

So, I need to look at my life as a map. Not 100% planned out, but at least a map to get me going in the right direction. But without a destination (aka goals), a map won’t help me. The first thing I need to do is set goals for myself. More importantly, life goals.

I turned off the television, opened the door to my porch so that I could hear nature talking, and moved to the table on our porch so that I could feel the sun for the first time in a few days. I need the vitamin D anyway 🙂

Within a few mouse clicks, I found a wonderful article, “4 Easy Steps to Setting Your Life Goals,” on the Huffington Post website. Here is a summary of what the article recommends:

  1. Brainstorm your life goals. Take 5-10 minutes and write down everything in your life that is really important to you. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind.
  1. Setting your life goals. What you wrote down in Step 1 does not have to be the definitive list. Look over the list, narrow it down to the things you couldn’t live without, and then come up with a specific target and defined outcome.
  1. Building a plan to achieve them. For each life goal, think about the last step needed to accomplish it and then work your way backwards. It’s an interesting approach and after you do this for your first goal, the steps to take for each become clear. Almost like they were right there in front of you the whole time but something was covering them.
  1. Getting after it. Simply put – it’s time to put your plan into action. The key is to work on each goal one at a time. If you’re like me, you will want to multi-task them all. BUT we all know multi-tasking is putting less than 100% of yourself into everything in your life. It will take longer to accomplish your goals and you will feel overwhelmed.

Always remember that everything happens for a reason and each day is a new day. Don’t spend time looking in the rearview mirror when you will miss out on what is in front of you. Easy to say, harder to do.

Live each day to the fullest. Love each other. Laugh often, as this is good medicine. Hope for a better tomorrow

Are You A Champion for Someone?

By: Shannon Boatwright

I was just talking the other day with my precious, fellow fine arts friend and orchestra teacher, Mrs. Amy Reynolds, and we were saying how, as teachers, we literally perform every day, over and over for each class. We chatted about how we’ve heard other teachers state, “I’m not here to entertain these kids!” Well, yes you are! As teachers, our purpose is to grab their attention, engage them, intrigue them and be there for them. You cannot do that successfully without entertaining them on some level. We are indeed actors and actresses. We pretend, and we put on our happy faces when we’re utterly exhausted and overwhelmed. We go to great lengths to gain the students’ attention. And if we’re really good, we ACT like we’re happy to see them, whether we really are or not! We ACT like we haven’t said the same thing 20 times already in one day. We ACT like we aren’t completely overworked and sleep deprived.  I could go on and on, but the point is, if we’re doing our job right, heck yea, we perform!

We are great actors in this thing called life, yet we have this incredible gift, this fabulous power to make a difference in someone’s life. We have the privilege of being a champion. It’s not another thing to add to our to-do list, it’s an honor. Not many professions get to say that they get the opportunity to be a champion for so many kids on a daily basis. There have been school years in which I see and teach 180 students in one day. That’s a lot of lives in which to make a positive difference!

I am ever thankful for being presented with this video of the amazing Mrs. Pierson. When I had to watch and reflect on this video for a recent graduate class I had to take, I specifically told my learning group that I could feel it…this special video was going to prompt a blog entry for sure. 🙂 Such inspiring, awesome stuff!

I really needed to see this video the week I was introduced to it. Recently, I have been struggling with some bullying issues in some of my classes and I have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior – so much so, that it hurts my heart and I get really angry. I absolutely cannot stand to see these kids get hurt. But it happens every day in this lovely, adolescent, middle school world I’m submerged in. Needless to say, my eyes were opened yesterday when I witnessed a unique situation in one of my classes, in which bullying-type of behavior took place. My attention went towards something different than to the typical bully that makes the cruel comment. Instead, I noticed the reactions of others in my class. All the attention is usually on the bully and the victim, but in this case I noticed a group of girls – good girls, that I adore – snicker and laugh. Though they didn’t say anything out loud that could be heard, they reacted in a very ugly way – a way in which the victim noticed. I could see the pain in the victim’s eyes and the disappointment washed over me something fierce. Something very important hit me in that moment and I knew that I needed to speak with these kids and open their eyes to a different viewpoint of “bullying.” These kids hear so much about the subject, yet it seems the focus is always on the bully and the victim.

Last night, I saw this lovely quote posted on Instagram by a close friend, that says, “How you make others feel says a lot about you.” I immediately thought, that’s it! That’s what these kids have got to realize. So at the start of every single one of my classes one day last week, I had this beautiful quote displayed on my smartboard and I had a very quick little talk with them all. I didn’t point any fingers or reveal which class I saw this specific ugly thing take place, but I hope and pray I opened their eyes to thinking about bullying from a different perspective. I made a point of telling them that how they react is always seen by someone and if you’re showing any ugliness on the outside, a cruel, negative reaction of any sort, it will be noticed. And that reaction says a whole lot about you. The end point is to make others feel good about themselves and be aware, because how you act can be a direct reflection of who you are. We must recognize that we need to be an example for these kids and recognize that every kid needs a champion!

Mrs. Rita Pierson addresses this point of being a champion for someone in such a beautiful way. We all need a champion and we can all be a champion for someone else. You don’t have to be a teacher to be a champion to someone. It takes the simplest act to make such a significant difference. It’s a beautiful thing indeed. I’m very thankful to have seen this special video and felt its positive impact. Though I was very saddened to hear that this great lady passed away a few years ago, I know that her spirit, strength and ability to shed light and sunshine on others will continue on for years and years to come, thanks to this TEDTalk and the peoples’ lives that she touched.

So think about it….are you a champion for someone in your life?

Biscuits, Tea Cakes & Neck Bones

By: Chaunte McClure

I can already visualize my sister facepalming after reading the title of this blog post, but don’t worry, I’m not about to embarrass you.

biscuitsI was just thinking about Grandma as I do from time to time, reflecting on fond moments. I miss that lady and sometimes I wonder what life would be like if she were still here. I’m not sure what I’d love most – just having her around or enjoying her good cooking. Surely she’d be disappointed that I spend more time at restaurants than I do in my kitchen. I wonder if I would have developed that bad habit of eating out with her here? Probably so. I’m not sure if she could change that, but I could be wrong. That woman cooked two or three meals every day and loved doing so. What’s more, we loved it too. We, the grandkids and grand nieces and nephews, were guaranteed a meal when we got in from school. An aroma met us at the door every single day.

Fried chicken made everyone happy, but my favorite was neck bones. Yes, country I am; country to the bone. I know there’s hardly any meat on neck bones, but they are good. It was something about the way Grandma seasoned them and that gravy . . . oh my goodness! I try my best to cook them like Grandma used to, but mine aren’t quite the same. I usually cheat by cooking them in the Crockpot, but that shouldn’t affect the flavor, right? Anyway, I always wanted seconds with that good gravy covering my rice.

And those Saturday or Sunday morning homemade biscuits. Oowee! Many times I watched her sprinkle flour over the counter and knead, roll and cut biscuits. It’s a shame that I can’t make them. Okay, I haven’t tried. But back to Grandma’s biscuits. When they came out of the oven, all I needed was that bottle of Cane Patch Syrup and I would dip and chew, dip and chew. (I think that Cane Patch also came in a can.) As kids we’d do the I-want-some-more-dance while holding our plate or bowl, asking Grandma for another biscuit. Even when her children were adults she’d make them biscuits and they never turned them down.

And they never turned down those old-fashioned southern tea cakes. I don’t know who was most excited, the grandkids or the adults. I was never really into sweets so I didn’t react to tea cakes like I did to a pot of neck bones. If she happened to bake them on a day when I had a taste for something sweet, then great, but they were always a treat for everyone else. If I just say “tea cakes” around one relative, it brings a smile to her face because she loved Grandma’s tea cakes as much as she loved the fact that Grandma would make them when she asked.

Those were the good ol’ days, as we like to say. It seems like you don’t realize how good they were until they’re gone or the people who made them special are gone.

So who wants to make biscuits, tea cakes and neck bones just for me? Not everyone at once, please.