Introducing Our New Every Woman Bloggers: Meet Angie Sloan

Angie SloanLast week, I had the pleasure of meeting some of my fellow Every Woman bloggers. Their stories were inspiring and I cannot wait to read more about them. It’s an honor to write with such an interesting group. This week, I thought I’d introduce myself! Here it goes…

My name is Angie Sloan. I am the single mother to 3 wonderful kids. In the last 18 months, I have lost both of my parents, who I cared for during the last five years of their lives. I have worked in healthcare for the last 19 years and love the opportunity to help others. I am new to the area, having relocated with work from Augusta, GA. I enjoy blogging, reading and taking long walks in the park. There you go, that’s the elevator speech.

Here is the rest of the story.

I am an extroverted introvert who loves meeting new people, but equally enjoys solitude. I am just as comfortable running with the pack as I am being the lone wolf. I speak conversational French, but accidentally ordered eel for lunch when I visited Paris a few years ago. Obviously, I need some practice. I have a fun, but twisted sense of humor and try to find the “funny” in everything. I don’t take myself too seriously, as evidenced by my eyebrows and my gray roots; both are in dire need of an intervention. I have birthed a child for each adult decade of my life, one at 24, one at 36 and one at 41. My world is best described as organized chaos. And unbeknownst to my friends and family, I am not a superhero. I don’t own a cape and Spandex/Lycra are less than flattering on me. But if I were one, I would be “The Justifier” and my motto would be, “Why choose? Buy both.” Truly, life is too short. If you want the shoes, buy the shoes.

Over the last two years, I have written a blog about my experiences in the “sandwich” generation, caring for my kids and my parents, working and trying to maintain my sanity. Now that my parents have passed, I am adjusting to my new normal. I am no longer in a constant state of crisis. When I go to the grocery store, I can just shop for my household. I could actually take a vacation, OUT OF TOWN. I have time on the weekends for myself (and yet, I still don’t get my hair done). I honestly don’t know how to act with this time on my hands! But each day brings its own adventure and I plan to write here about the good and the bad, the funny and the mundane, and the little things that get me through each day. I hope you’ll join me on the journey!

Introducing Our New Every Woman Bloggers: Meet Jordan Tate

Jordan Tate

Hi, there! I am so thrilled to join forces with the incredible women of the Every Woman Blog and I wanted to kick start my involvement with a little introduction! My name is Jordan Tate and I live in the Midlands with my husband and my adopted son, Shepherd.

My husband and I met as next door neighbors in an on-campus apartment at Clemson. We were friends that entire year, started dating the following year, and it was 9 months later that he proposed, and 8 months after that that we got married. Chris is a nurse at Lexington Medical Center and he is so perfect for the job. He’s compassion and caring and he chose this career for the highest amount of hands-on patient care.

We never could have imagined that our vows of “in sickness and in health” would be tested so quickly into our marriage as we walked through two full term, traumatic pregnancies, resulting in the death of our two sweet daughters shortly after birth. We have a family blog in which we chronicled the details of both pregnancies and I am passionate about speaking out about infant loss, grief, and healing, in hopes that other women who have experienced it themselves or know someone who has can be encouraged and empowered through extremely difficult circumstances.

We never expected our journey to domestic adoption to happen the way it did after the loss of our first two children, although it was always a desire of ours to adopt children. We could never have imagined that our first adopted child would enter our family just four months after the loss of our second daughter, but his story is one of redemption and hope and he is absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to share more with you about all three of our children and our experiences through infant loss, grief, transracial adoption and private adoption in general! I look forward to sharing with you and hope that you will leave here encouraged, challenged, and inspired.

Introducing Our New Every Woman Bloggers: Meet Rachel Sircy

Family Photo

Hello, Columbia! My name is Rachel Sircy – yes, that is pronounced like the gift (let that subtle hint sink in, *wink* *wink*) – and I am delighted to be one of Every Woman’s newest bloggers. I came across an article about the Every Woman blog contest while leafing through a copy of Lexington Medical Center’s internal news magazine, Intercom. I had been looking for a creative outlet and I was drawn to the opportunity to write for a blog that is for women, by women and that addresses issues that affect our local community. My goal is to make a real contribution to this community of women.

A little bit about me: I have been a Columbia resident for seven years now, though I originally hail from Athens, Ohio. I am a joyful Christian and mother of one rambunctious, sassy 19-month-old girl, who will herein be affectionately referred to as HRH (Her Royal Highness). Recently, I have been blessed to celebrate the 9th anniversary of being married to the love of my life. Marriage and motherhood are two subjects that mean a great deal to me, as is the idea – which I may never fully formulate – of what it means to be a Christian and a woman in this world. I think and write on these subjects often. In anything that I write, I hope to honor God and the two nearest and dearest people in my life.

Birthday Girls

In college, I majored in creative writing, which is why I have spent most of my adult life working as a receptionist in some capacity or other. The end result of most artistic endeavors is usually starvation, but, being the kind of person who likes to eat, I opted for a desk job instead. And what I eat is generally a source of fascination for most people. I have celiac disease (pronounced “silly yak”). There is quite a lot of detail that I could go into about what it means to be a celiac, but for now, suffice it to say that it means that I can only eat gluten-free foods. And, when I say that I have to eat gluten free foods, I do mean that I have to eat gluten-free foods. Unlike the growing number of glittering celebrities who are making the gluten free diet the next fashionable food trend, I was told by a licensed gastroenterologist in some very un-glittering terms what would happen to me if I did not follow a strictly gluten free diet. So, I have joined a tribe of urban hunter-gatherers and, while Hollywood sells gluten-free, paleo-friendly eating as the next great cure for what-ails-you, we are chewing our way through mountains of cardboard squares that have been cruelly mislabeled as “bread.” Finding gluten-free solutions in a wheat-centric culture can be an exercise in chasing one’s tail. And so, to all the gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive in the Columbia area, I am here for you and I will be writing down what little I know in an attempt to help us all.

And so, that’s me, a gastrically-challenged woman, wife and mother who is trying, above all, to lead a Christian life. I will be looking forward to our next meeting.

P.S. My husband is an English teacher at Heathwood Hall, and he often complains that he is teaching a dying subject. As a tribute to him, and to encourage us all to be more involved with literature in general, I will be ending each blog with a recommended reading. You can let me know via the comments section if you do choose to read any of the books I recommend. We would love to hear from you! The recommended reading for today will be one of the books that he is teaching this year: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (and no, the movie doesn’t count). Happy reading!

Introducing Our New Every Woman Bloggers: Meet Ashley Whisonant

Ashley WhisonantAshley Whisonant, here! I am so excited to be chosen as one of the newest Every Woman bloggers! What a huge honor!

 I just turned 31 years old this past May and have been married to my better half, Matt, for seven years. We have two inseparable little guys, Weston and Gray, and a rescue fur baby, Charlotte. I graduated from the University of South Carolina and went on to teach elementary school in both Lexington School District Five and One. After my youngest was born, I realized I needed a different career path.  

Fast forward two years, I have been an Office Manager for Capital Office Products, Inc. since then. I absolutely love my job and the balance it gives me with my home life.  Much like the education field, each day is different and brings new challenges. I am constantly learning while pushing myself to be better. None of this could be possible without such a supportive husband. Matt takes the primary responsibility of taking care of the boys during the day while I work. He does the preschool drop-offs, meal preparations, bills, etc! It is certainly not a “traditional” family dynamic, but we compliment each other well.

I am hoping to blog out the struggles of working mothers, toddler life, fun recipes, vacationing on a budget, and DIY home ideas. I can’t wait to share my life with you!

Introducing Our New Every Woman Bloggers: Meet Azure Stilwell

AzureMy name is Azure, it’s a color blue. I got it from my hippie parents. I am wife to Jay and a stay-at-home-mom of two boys. My oldest, sweetest, and laid back child, Steven, is going to college in two weeks so I will be very emotional for a while. My youngest and funniest, Jake, is entering fourth grade, and everything with this child is an adventure.

I am excited to begin this journey on the Every Woman blog! I had the pleasure of meeting some of the other winners a few weeks ago at Pitter Platter and I look forward to reading my fellow bloggers’ upcoming posts. I was surprised when I got the email letting me know that I was a winner. I really didn’t expect it – so it was one of the most exciting things that has happened to me lately.

I am diagnosed Bi-polar, and I struggle with my weight, so you will probably read a blog post or two about those topics. I love to eat and travel, and I’m pretty crafty, so I anticipate some words about those topics as well. I recently started my own blog (a work in progress), peckedbychickens.com, as a creative outlet for all of the things I go through in life.

Realize This is the Real World

By: Shannon Boatwright

So there’s this video circulating on Facebook. It’s been out in the web world for over 6 years now. But it’s resurfaced, rightly so, since we’re in total back-to-school mode. I’d seen it before but I recently watched it again, getting a good chuckle. As a good, hardworking teacher, you certainly get the point of the video. Any school employee that deals with craziness from parents will get this video.

Sure, there are unworthy people out there in the education system who should not be granted the privilege of teaching or even be in the presence of students. Sadly, passionless, burnt out, sad sacks exist in the education world. Sometimes you just can’t avoid those types. But the truth is, they are far and few between. There are millions of truly passionate teachers and dedicated folks who do care so very much and try their hardest to do everything they can do to provide the best education for our children.

 

Watching this video again reminded me of the great privilege I have to inspire, educate and hopefully create outstanding, respectable, hardworking individuals that will contribute to society. All that said, as you watch the video and chuckle too, whether you’re a parent, grandparent, guardian or supporter of children and education in any form, please remember that all the weight does not fall on the shoulders of the teachers, administration or support staff. An enormous part of creating, building, and molding a successful student must come from a student’s support system at home AND must be met with an individual student’s own effort and dedication to doing their best.

Like the school voicemail message states, this is the REAL world and “your child must be accountable and responsible for his or her behavior, classwork, and homework.” The answer to why a particular student is failing at anything, may not be due to a teacher’s fault. Always stop to consider this and make sure that your student, your child, is making an honest effort.

My personal mantra for the new school year, as a passionate, Arts-loving Drama teacher, is one of Brendon Burchard’s many fabulous quotes,

“Grant me the strength to focus this week, to be mindful and present,to serve with excellence, to be a force of love.”

Here’s to a successful new school year that will hopefully produce a sea of inspired, educated, standing-ovation-worthy students that will move on to do great things in their lives that will make a positive difference in this crazed world of ours!  🙂

Be a Good Neighbor

By: Chaunte McClure

Let’s face it: Life is hard sometimes. No matter who you are or where you’re from, there are circumstances and challenges that make life difficult. We get frustrated, angry, mad, and sad, even to the point of tears. Of course, we question why those trials are our reality. They happen with our job, family, friends, associates and even people we don’t know.

During these encounters we may think we are the only ones who feel the weight of our burdens. Today, I learned differently. Actually, it’s best to say I was reminded that’s not the case. Last week I became overwhelmed from all the bricks that were thrown at me, but thankfully, I realized that I needed to step back and regroup before I made some poor decisions.

Pick Me UpSomeone saw my struggles, felt my burdens and thought I may need a pick-me-up. So what did she do? She gave me these freshly picked flowers and a note of encouragement.

 

Acts of kindness always sweeten bitter moments. Her gesture reminded me of a day during my last semester at USC. I remember going out with a couple of classmates to a florist in West Columbia to cover a story on Good Neighbor Day. The assignment was part of the semester-long practicum where seniors produce a daily newscast. It was a light-hearted, fun story about a West Columbia florist that distributed a dozen roses to residents to share with 12 neighbors. It was all part of National Good Neighbor Day to remind us to be a good neighbor.

Thank you, my friend, for being a good neighbor.

I encourage you to be a pick-me-up to someone. One day you’ll need one too.

Has someone brightened your day lately? Spread some good cheer and share your experience in the comments.

By the way, according to NationalDayCalendar.com, Good Neighbor Day is September 28.