Tag Archives: School

Series: College Life | Adulting in a Kids World…

I’m going to go out on a short limb here and guess that most of my readers are middle aged women. There may be a few stragglers from other categories and that’s okay too (in fact, I welcome all!).

But I seriously doubt very many teenagers are dropping by and hanging around. However, I find myself surrounded by a sea of teenagers and young adults.

Why? I’m glad you asked…

College. That’s where they hang out these days.

Okay, so maybe they’re not just hanging out. I’m sure that’s not all they’re doing, in fact, being one of these “students” myself, I’m just about certain they’re doing much more than just hanging out.

They’re doing papers (or at least should be).
And papers.
And more papers.
They’re probably studying, at least a little.
They’re not sleeping very much (notice the papers and studying above).
They’re playing sports.
They’re working jobs.
They’re drinking coffee (and probably some things they shouldn’t)…and lots of it (again, notice the papers and studying).
They’re looking for boyfriends and girlfriends and just friends in general.
They’re trying to adult.
They’re paying bills (or maybe begging for coffee money from mom and dad).
They’re finding their way around in a semi-adult world.
And because they’re still kids, they’re partying, making friends, playing, etc.

In the community college atmosphere, I saw this, but ever so slightly. Being on a big 4-year campus, I’m dead in the middle of college life. Wow, culture shock?!

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When I first came to “Uni,” which is what I think these kids use as short for “University,” (I still haven’t figured out what “Sovi” is but I think maybe it’s the Student Union? Anyone that wants to help this “old” gal with college lingo, feel free!) back in August and the weeks that followed, I thought, “No way…I’m too old for this!”

And most days, I still feel that way. I mean, after all, I’ve got a husband, three kids, a dog, Bible studies, friends, church stuff, writing, part-time work with photography and subbing, and on and on. I don’t have time for this. And I don’t. But I do.

So all this time, I’ve been thinking how great it is that these kids are schooling while they’re young because at 38, I feel way too damn old! Ya know, these “youngin’s” have all the advantages…

But…

On my hour long morning commute (an hour if traffic’s good – one way | sometimes I find myself sing to Dori’s tune…“just keep driving, just keep driving!”), I have lots of thinking time (which is exhausting in itself but oh how sweet a time it can be!). This morning, I was thinking of how hard it’s been for me to adult in a kids world. I’m exhausted. I’m the girl that has always stayed up until midnight or later and never thought twice about it. Now, I find myself ready for bed before my kids are even in bed (and they go at 8:30p)! Actually, to say I’m exhausted has to be an understatement. I don’t even know a word to define how tired I am and words are my thing (after all, I’m an English major – though that doesn’t mean I’m a pro at this word thing by any means so don’t hold me at fault there, lol).

So, back to my morning drive…this morning, I was thinking…maybe I’m actually the lucky one here. Maybe instead of these kids having all the advantages, I actually am the one with the advantages. I started thinking about all the things in my life that are settled and the peace that comes with that…and how for these kids, nothing is settled.

See, I am married. I don’t have to hunt for the perfect man. I already have the perfect man for me and he’s my biggest supporter and encourager (if that’s not a word, I’m making it one!). I don’t have to date and wonder if this guy is going to be the one or if he’s the biggest jerk ever. I don’t have to go to parties and drink (been there, done that, worn out the t-shirt and realized it’s only by the grace of God I survived any of that) to have fun or wear minimal clothing to try and attract all the wrong people. I don’t have to wonder if I’ll ever have kids…I have three and certainly couldn’t do this college thing if they weren’t such awesome kids. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay the bills because my husband works so hard to make sure we are taken care of and I’ve got student loans that I know I will one day have to and be able to pay back. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to live or what I’m going to drive.

Point being…there are so many things these kids have to worry about. That list above is tiny compared to all the worries and pressures they have. I don’t have to worry about those things. Sure, I have to adult but part of that means I also have a lot more stability, security and certainty than they do. I have a family that supports me, helps around the house and in every day tasks so that I can do this adulting in a kids world thing, who pick up my slack. I’ve got friends, young and old, who are praying for me daily. I’ve got a church family that has been one of the greatest blessings from God. The support and encouragement has been amazing. I feel like I have a group of cheerleaders encouraging me daily, with the “You can do this!” and “You’ve got this!” comments.

And I’ve been down enough long, hard roads and made enough wrong turns that I know…without a doubt, somehow, I can do this and that even if I don’t, it will be okay. I don’t have the weight of what if’s on my shoulders. Most of these kids can’t say that. They don’t have that comfort or peace.

So, while I’ve looked at this thinking from the perspective of “I’m too old for this…” I think I’m realizing these “youngin’s” don’t actually have the advantage. They may have more energy (or drink more coffee) but I have peace and security that only comes through life experiences and an unfailing trust and faith in the God who has brought me through the darkest times. Kudos to me for adulting today!

While you’re here, would you please say a prayer for me…that I can be a light to these kids. I don’t know their backgrounds. I don’t know their struggles. But I do know my own and I know how hard things can be. And I know what it’s like to go through the hard times alone, without the support of family and friends. I imagine, like myself as a teen, many of these kids are facing some of those same struggles I faced. Please pray that I can be some kind of encouragement to them, a light in whatever their darkness might be.

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Grace: Mom Grace…

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That kid…she’s pretty cool…most days (we all have our moments, right?!)

She calls me mom.
We call her Olivia, Livi, Liv, Livi Grace, and “The Giggler.”

She’s almost always smiling.
Everyone comments about her giggle (hence the nickname “The Giggler”)

She loves school.
She loves to read.
She loves that she can tie her shoes.
She loves her teacher.
She loves getting on purple (the best behavior color).
She LOVES art.

She loves to color, draw, paint, craft, use scissors, make messes, and not clean up!

She loves her brothers (aka “Stinky” and “Smelly”) sometimes.
She loves her friends.
She loves soccer.

She has her own “style.”
She loves bags, paper, pens, stickers (she gets that from me!).

That kid is full of energy, joy, and fun. She makes me laugh daily. And best of all, she calls me mom.

But some days, I let myself go there…you know the place…that ugly place where I feel sorry for her that she *has* to call me mom. That place where I think she got “the short end of the stick,” “the raw end of the deal,” etc.

Why do I do that?
Why do we, as moms, do that?
Why do we beat ourselves up when we don’t feel we are up to par?

That picture up there…that was from last week. The kids had silly hat day and together, Olivia and I came up with a crown, covered in shiny owls, shamrocks, gold washi tape, and more. She loved it! She called herself the “Cloverleaf Queen.” And of course, we captured the moment with a photo. I was the best mom ever!

For weeks now, all I have heard her talk about is Letterland day. She had this grand plan to be “Golden Girl.” She was excited, I was excited…but being me, human that is, I completely forgot about Letterland day. I even had a reminder from a friend just a few days ago, and still, this morning my little sunshine, my “Golden Girl,” headed off to school in her normal “style” without a pretty “G” or anything fancy and “golden” going on.

It was a mom fail.
Fail #2,345,678 or something like that.
The two boys ahead of her racked in most of those mom fails.

Being blessing #3 has it’s ups and downs. The fact that she is THE GIRL, gets her bonus points…especially after two boys. I never cared much for pink and purple until I was sooooooo tired of blue and red. That girl…yep, her room is PINK AND PURPLE (and I love it)!

And being THE GIRL who also loves art and crafty stuff gets her more bonus points with me because I love those things too! We work on our planners together. We color together. She crafts while I draw or read. It’s a wonderful life. Ahh, bliss!

Then there’s the part where I’m so over the whole mom thing, like PTO/PTA, classroom helper, snack provider, etc. See the boys got the best of it. Actually blessing #1 got the most because way back then, I was even on the PTA with a title and all (don’t remember my title now…I’ve blocked those memories…or they were just that long ago, LOL!). Blessing #2 got a few classroom party visits from mom, a couple of birthday lunches here and there, and the occasional cool points for dress up days. Blessing #3…well, I thought that because she’s THE GIRL and the fact there’s no babies on her heels, I’d be the coolest mom with her…you know, the one that’s always around, always helping, always seen, always available, always perfect?!

Well, guess what…that perfect mom DOES NOT EXIST!

You can argue with me on that, but I am 99.9% sure that mom is nowhere to be found. If you are her, then come give me lessons! Otherwise, stand back, smile, and give me grace! I’ll do the same for you!

Grace is a hot topic in this house lately. See I’m teaching a Bible study on Grace…but you know what? I think it’s really the other way around. It’s teaching me…God’s teaching me. God knows I’m stubborn…so stubborn. And He has to drill things home for me to get them. He knows I’m much more likely to teach others than to teach myself but by teaching others, He teaches me way more than I ever imagined I needed to know. So, He’s teaching me grace.

And today, I’m giving myself “Mom Grace.”

My girl was not “Golden Girl.”
I slept in (and enjoyed it).
It didn’t even cross my mind.
She will survive.
I’ll tell her, “You’ll always be my golden girl.”

And I’ll tell her, “I’m sorry.”
I’ll tell her, “I love you!”
I’ll ask her to extend grace.

And when I see other mom fails, I’ll remember this day…and I’ll extend “Mom Grace” to them!

Take it easy on you…this whole being a mom thing is tough. Don’t compare because there’s not a single other mother out there doing a better job than you! Just ask your kiddos! (but catch them on a good day and preferably not during puberty or the teenage years…because their brains don’t function properly at that point and you most likely will not get the right answer. Catch them before they’re a tween or after they’ve got their own kids!).

Grace, people. Grace! Today, extend mom grace!

 

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Update and book suggestions…

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Hey y’all! Today’s post is a nice laid back update :)  Here’s answers to a few questions…

What have you been up to?

Well, I’m in school full-time. I’m hoping to graduate in May with my Associates in Arts degree and then transfer and pursue a Bachelors in English. As if that isn’t enough, I’m heading into week three of teaching a new study on Grace at church. I’m also involved in a Tuesday morning Bible study with some amazing and dear women. I couldn’t do life without them and am so grateful God brought them into my life…just when I needed them! And of course I have the normal every day stuff…husband, kids, dog, and life. But ya know what…that last one, life…it’s good to be able to say I have life! Praise God. Last year this time, I couldn’t say that.

What’s up with the new things coming?

Well, I’m glad you asked! I posted back at the new year that big things were coming…they still are. I’m a little slow on that mostly because I’m focusing on school to make sure I graduate! I haven’t forgotten and ideas are being born and tweaked! Things are coming! For now, I can tell you there are plans for more regular posts on here. I have a very looooonnnnnngggg list of topics and hope to get those written and scheduled so they go out regularly. I’m looking at probably 2 to 3 posts a week for my goal. Also, other social media outlets are coming. If you don’t know about Periscope, check it out. I plan to start a 5-minute morning soon. Periscope is similar to YouTube, only it’s live. Basically, you would see me and be able to comment as I talk. I can’t plan anything with too much pressure right now so these 5-minute mornings seem like the best way to go. Topics will range from everyday life, parenting, Bible study, planner and journaling related things, and more. Basically a hodge podge of topics but the point is, I’ll be there. What I’ve realized from watching others on Periscope is that they become family. They become part of your life. You see them and you get to know them. It’s hard when you don’t see them for days and you wonder about them. Because I want to shine His light, I hope my 5-minute mornings will bring joy to your day! So, that’s in the works. I’m also on Twitter and YouTube. My YouTube videos are mostly planner related for now. (Did you know there’s a whole world of women obsessed with planners, paper, pens, stickers, and all that fun stuff?)

What are your book suggestions?

Right now, I’m reading a pile of books…and most of them have a shared theme. Grace & Identity. I’ve been reading these for the Bible study I’m teaching. The study is called, “Finding Your Place by Knowing His Grace.” Right now, it’s only available to the class I’m currently involved with but at some point I may take all my research and notes and write it up to share. It’s so worth digging into and one of the most crucial parts of this life to understand.

Books:

I Know His Name by Wendy Blight
Because He Loves me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth
Lord, I Need Grace to Make It Today by Kay Arthur
Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
In My Father’s House by Mary A. Kassian

If you’re looking for a good book, any of these would be a great one to grab. Grace is the foundation of God’s love for us. It’s His unwavering, unending love and acceptance…of You and me! It’s His precious gift to us. Understanding His grace opens the door to a life meant for living. If you aren’t sure about grace, have questions about it, or just want to know more, pick up any one of these books and start there. And I’d love to hear from you. If you have questions or thoughts you want to chat about, email me!

So, that’s it for now! Don’t worry…I’ll be back soon.

Want to help me? A couple things I’d really appreciate…your prayers. Prayers for what’s to come here and through other social media…that God would keep me humble and grounded, obedient and consistent, fully relying on Him. And also, share this out…my blog, Periscope, Twitter, Facebook page and so on. It’s not about the numbers but every life that has a chance to hear is the possibility of another life changed. Help me extend that grace. Let’s shine His light!

Love & Blessings,

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2014: A Bittersweet Goodbye…

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2014…

I can’t say I’m sad to see it go but at the same time, I’m thankful for many things 2014 brought my way.

A few of my favorite songs…

Casting Crowns – Thrive
MercyMe – Greater
Big Daddy Weave – Overwhelmed
Danny Gokey – Hope in Front of Me
Unspoken – Keep Fighting the Good Fight

And I’ve found a new love and appreciation for different music.  I’ve grown quite fond of Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic, and The Script.  I’ve also revisited one of my old favorites, Creed, for some music comfort.  Music and lyrics have always played a huge part in keeping me going but even more so in 2014.  Thankful, in the later months of 2014, for the return of many mornings waking up with Jesus music in my head!

A few of my favorite reads from 2014…

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst
You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth
Living So That by Wendy Blight

Reading hasn’t always been something I enjoyed.  The past four years, reading has become a staple for me.  It’s not always books…sometimes it’s articles or updates but I read all.the.time.  And I love it.  I read devotions and Scripture.  I read lyrics and blogs.  I read articles and studies.  I’m always reading something.  And I write.  I thrive on writing.  My goal for 2015 is to write…write more, write every day, write as much as possible.

And on my list of reasons I’m not sad to see 2014 fade away…

It’s been the most difficult year for me as far as depression goes.
That depression was accompanied by an eating disorder, cutting, and suicidal thoughts.
Nightmares and flashbacks have plagued me.
I questioned life, my family, my purpose…over and over.
It has been a year filled with hurt, desperation, fear and worry.
It’s been a year of heartache and loss of many wonderful people.

And while I’m not sad to say goodbye to 2014, it’s bittersweet because…

Through the darkness, God’s light has shined brighter than ever.
In my darkest moments, His words kept me going (Phil. 1:23-24, Joel 2:2).
I’ve learned so much about myself and about life.
I learned with prayer, encouragement, and support I can do anything.
I’ve gotten to know some amazing people who love me and accept me unconditionally.
I’ve learned to let others in and make wise decisions about who I choose to have in my life.
I’ve come to realize that God is my everything, that He is my reason to live.
I’ve learned to be honest about who I am.
I know I am called.
I know there is purpose for my pain.
I know God has bigger plans.

2014 has been almost unbearable at times.  As much as I’ve wanted to see it disappear, to kiss it goodbye, I’ve been afraid to say goodbye…because saying goodbye to 2014 means a whole new year comes.  It’s 365 days of more to come…and that may very well be more pain, more hurt, more fear, more suffering…and along with that, there’s potential for more growth, more learning, more challenges to overcome.  For me, 2014 is a year I won’t forget…

2014 was the year I lost 60lbs.  My weight loss journey began on March 12, 2014 when I filled my cup up with water instead of Diet Coke.  I haven’t drank anything other than water since (and the occasional hot chocolate).  That same day, I decided to eat healthier.  I didn’t change what I ate, but I changed how much I ate.  I began making better choices.  And two days later, I started walking.  I walked almost every single day, three miles a day through August.  Along with this good, healthy lifestyle, came a new struggle I’d never faced before.  I began purging which, for me, was very similar to the escape that cutting gave me.  It became a new way of hiding from the pain I felt.

2014 was the year I went back to school…at 36 years old.  In the summer, I took two online classes and made A’s in both.  In the fall, I took a full load…four classes.  I finished the fall semester with 3 A’s and a B.  Not too shabby for a girl who never studied, who was dealing with some pretty severe depression and side effects including trying to stay alive, a wife, mother, blogger, and Bible study teacher.  There was definitely some divine intervention from the man above!  The plan for 2015 is to continue with school, but not the full load…back to 2 classes it is.  This will allow time for writing!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

2014 was the year I cried out to God at 5am on a Thursday morning back in October…and questioned my reason for living, questioned my purpose, and doubted I could go on.  That morning, after questioning, “Torn between wanting to live or die,” I read this verse…

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.  Philippians 1:28b-26

2014 was the year I wrote a letter to say goodbye.  In writing that letter, I learned I have so much more I want to say, so much more I want to write, so much more life I want to live.  I said goodbye to people I’m not ready to say goodbye to.  I wrote out words I thought I’d never write and expressed feelings I never imagined I would express.  Through that experience, I learned how to be honest, how to share my deepest, scariest thoughts, and how to get through them.  I learned that God is the reason I am alive.  I learned that He is everything.  In my darkest moments, He was what kept me going.  I know some people don’t believe in God and I know some may question my beliefs or Christians in general but I can truly say, if it weren’t for my faith in God, my utter dependance on Him, I’d be saying goodbye to life and not just goodbye to 2014.  If you are doubting life, wondering if you can make it another day, don’t give up.  Press on.  Tell someone.  Be honest.  Use your voice!

2014 was the year I looked at my children and felt the most incredible pain because I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving them and also felt the best thing for them would be for me to disappear.  Physically, I couldn’t bear their hugs, looking into their eyes, hearing them laugh, and seeing them smile.  Can you imagine that kind of pain?  Torn between not wanting to leave your children but believing that would be the best thing for them, believing that neither choice would really be what they deserved, wishing they had been given a different mother?  That was unbearable.  And parenthood comes with it’s own struggles anyway.  I’m thankful that wasn’t something that lingered long.  It lasted about a week then those thoughts faded.  It was a week too long and not something I’d wish on anyone.

2014 was the year I sat in my Tuesday morning Bible study, in my own little world, with thoughts of a plan running through my head.  That plan was a plan of peace, of hope, of mountains and warm sunshine.  It was the idea of peace and hope of leaving this world and being with God.  As I stumbled across the verse below, I knew God was saying, “Put your hope in me.  In your darkness, I am the light.”  God was telling me, He is that peace.

A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it.
Joel 2:2

2014 was the year I learned to finally open up…to share things I’ve never shared, to break the silence, to allow myself to have a voice, to speak up for what I believe.  It’s also the year I’ve felt most passionate about making sure others are encouraged to have their voice.  I learned to trust and I learned about boundaries, setting them, and keeping them.  I learned that I don’t have to tell everything to everyone but it’s also not good to keep everyone shut out.  I learned it’s okay to share…and it can be safe, that there are people who will stand by me through even the most difficult moments.  I’m still learning.  I have a lifetime of lessons I’ve learned wrong that I’m slowly relearning.  It’s a process.  I’m thankful for the people God has brought into my life in 2014.  Some were already in my life but it was 2014 that I really let them in.

All in all, I’m glad to say goodbye to 2014 because I believe that 2015 will bring with it, it’s own amazing stories to go on my timeline of life…of living.  I’m choosing to live.  I’m choosing to live for God.  I’m choosing to believe there is purpose in my suffering, and that through this, there is a greater plan.  I realized even more, just how strong my desire is to write, to speak up, to use my voice to give others a voice.  I need to write, to share my stories, to explain things, to help others, to raise awareness for depression, self-injury, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts.  I want to use my voice to help others find their voice.  2015 won’t magically make life better.  It won’t make the nightmares stop or the memories fade away.  There are things I have to face, things I have to share and talk about, things I have to heal from…but I am healing.  I am choosing to move forward in spite of the fear and worry.

Will you join me in 2015?
Will you encourage me to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight, to press on?
Will you walk this journey with me?

I hope you will.  I’m looking forward to what 2015 has in store for us all.

What has 2014 meant for you?  What are you hoping for in 2015?

 

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It’s been a while…an imperfect update!

First, I have to say, I sure have missed this place!  And it’s been great to hear from some of my readers checking in with me.  I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things around here.  So, let me update you…

My last post was back in May.  Since then, with three kiddos out of school and one mama in school, we’ve been swamped with summer fun and school work.  I started back to school after an almost twenty year vacation.  Over the summer, I was enrolled in our local community college for two classes.  What I failed to realize is that summer classes run on an 8-week schedule vs. the standard 16 week schedule which meant I had double the work so it was basically like taking a full load … that plus having three kids to entertain.  Thankfully, we managed without any major drama or boredom.  And I’m happy to report I made A’s in both my classes.  I’m registered for full-time in the fall :)

This fall, we’ll begin not only a new journey with me going to school full-time, but also with our oldest and youngest.  Our oldest son will be heading into high school – yes, freshman year!  He’s excited about it, for now.  Our middle son will be in 4th grade and is very much ready to get back into a routine.  Our youngest, the sweet baby girl, will be heading off to preschool.  I never did preschool with the boys, but since I’m going to school this year and with her having a late birthday and missing the cut-off for kindergarten, not only does it give me flexibility for school, but she’s so ready to be in a classroom setting with new friends and fun adventures.  Just hoping the hubby can keep up with us being all over the place!

Aside from school and summer fun, I’ve had a great deal of changes just with myself.  Back in March, this crazy notion to stop drinking Diet Coke came up one day when standing in the middle of my kitchen.  I don’t know if it was God telling me or what, but in that moment, as I went to refill my cup with my constant soda of choice, I knew I needed to opt for water instead…so, I did.  I haven’t had another drop of Diet Coke since (sorry to the Coca-Cola company for any loss in profits my sudden rebellion may have caused).  The next day, I started a journey of changing my eating habits, making better food choices and eating less.  That same day, I went for a walk.  That walk led to a habit that brings us to today.  Just 5 months later, I’ve lost over 45lbs.  Physically, I feel much better and I’ve enjoyed replacing my old clothes with new ones.  It’s definitely been a journey and I’m so grateful that God put that desire in me back in March.  Now, to keep it up!

Here’s a recent picture of us minus the 14 year old who was away on a mission trip to Morehead City, NC…
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On another note, mentally things have been quite the struggle.  Many of you probably gather that I’ve spent a lifetime struggling off and on with depression.  This year has been no exception.  The roller coaster of emotions, thoughts, feelings, ups, and downs, has been one wild ride.  It’s a battle but one I’m just gonna keep on fighting!  I have noticed when my eyes are focused on the world around me, things are much harder but when my eyes are focused on God, even though my circumstances may be the same, my outlook is much better.    Prayers in this area are greatly appreciated!

And last but not least, I have a techy tip/review for ya!  Most of you know I’m a gal who loves technology.  I’m a huge fan of all the new gadgets.  I’m pretty quick to learn my way around the latest and greatest.  With school starting back soon and me having a couple classes on campus, I was a bit leery of hauling my regular laptop to and fro with me each day.  Little funds to spare on new electronics had the hubby and I looking at 2-in-1’s and Chromebooks.  At the local super gadget store, we made our way around all the coolest compact options.  I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to be able to do with a tablet or laptop, what I’d need and what I didn’t need.  The prices on the smaller laptops, tablets, etc. were a little more than I wanted to pay but on the plus side, they offered the option of Microsoft Word programs.  I was unfamiliar with the Chromebooks for the most part but the price sure was right.  After several “geeks” discouraged the purchase of any Chromebooks, I was still undecided.  We finally found an employee that was knowledgeable with the specifics of the Chromebook and he was able to answer all my questions…

Chromebook

Can I edit Word documents?
Can I save documents in .docx?
Can I create documents with hanging indents and edit headers and footers?
Can I save to the hard drive or to a thumb drive?
Do I have to be connected to Wi-fi to use all the features?
Can I print from it?

The answers all came back positive for my needs and he also assured me I had 14 days to play with and make sure it would do everything I needed it to do and if it didn’t, I could bring it back, no questions asked.  That sealed the deal and we came home with a new addition to our family – a nice little Chromebook that will be accompanying me to college.

The pro’s…

It does everything I need it to do.  Several of the guys who tried to steer me away from the Chromebook said it was very limited because you can’t add programs, can’t do Word stuff, etc.  That’s all true.  You cannot add any outside software.  You also cannot add Microsoft Office.

But to correct them, you can add some things.  There is a Chrome Store which has items in it much like the Google Play Store.  You can add apps from there and use them.

One of the apps just happens to be Word Online.  Using this app, you can in fact type Word documents.  The biggest difference is that instead of it being an actual installed program, you’re using an app that runs off the Chrome internet browser.  There may be some limited features that are lost this way but it does everything I need it to do.  And, if I don’t want to use that, the Google Docs seems to be an okay alternative.

I can also save my documents as a .docx file which is what most of the college professors have requested.

I can print from it.  Setting it up to work on my cloud enabled printer was a breeze.  It took less than a minute to get that working!

It’s size is small and it’s lightweight – both appealing to me since I didn’t need another full-sized laptop.  I have a regular 15.6″ laptop that does everything and then some.  I didn’t need that made over.  I wanted something compact that would just get me by.  This is exactly that.

If you’re looking for something small to type on, play with social networks, a few games, blogging, etc., then this little guy is perfect and you can’t beat the price at less than $200.

The con’s…

For me and my needs, I haven’t found any yet.  For some, I would say the inability to add outside programs will be a drawback.  The inability to use other browsers, some games, loading Microsoft Office, etc. may be frustrating.  There are ways around those but if that’s what you’re looking for, then pass this little guy by.  And for the photographer in me, I have to say, this is not the machine for editing photos.  First, you can’t add Photoshop or Lightroom.  Second, it’s just not meaty enough for that.  If you’re serious about photo editing or photography, you’re probably not looking at these anyway – at least not for that :)

All in all, if you’re just looking for a small, easily portable companion for Facebook, email, music, browsing and maybe a little writing or blogging, this guy can’t be beat.  In fact, this little update is being brought to you directly from my new friend, the Chromebook!  (I did edit my photos on my main laptop, but saved them to the cloud and poof, they made it here!)

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With all that said, I hope life is treating you okay.  I look forward to bringing you more of my imperfectness soon and until then, may you find many blessings in your day!

xoxo,
Jen

 

Discerning Direction…

Discernment

Several months ago, what I thought was never an option became a reality.  I checked into the idea of going back to school and went through all the steps.  I looked at many different options, local community college, online college, etc.  After tossing between options, I had finally decided to do online school.  It was settled.  I finalized everything and registered for classes but something wasn’t right.

As excited as I was about the idea of going back to school, the closer it got to all the fall deadlines, the more a storm was brewing inside.  I just couldn’t find peace about it all.

I had already been leery and hesitant from the beginning but because doors kept opening flawlessly as I delved further into this whole process, I figured it was meant to be.  After all, I was going back to school to do exactly what I want to do and to do it in a way that would give God all the glory.  It had to be what He wanted me to do, right?

Well, without peace, I began doubting and questioning everything.

This morning, I called and dropped the classes I had registered for and declined any financial aid.  I am officially not going back to school.

I didn’t think I would feel sad about it but I am, kind of.

The thing is, now I have peace.  I had to figure out what I really want to do and where God can use me and how to put it all together.  What I realized was I was going to have to spend 6 years in school for a Bachelors Degree followed by a Masters Degree – all to do exactly what I’m doing now.  I was going to pay out a lot of money, put my family in debt and create financial burdens all while my kids are still small or nearing their own college days and I was going to do it when what I really want to do, I can do without going through all of that.

I want to help.

Plain and simple, I want to help.

I want to be an ear for women. 
I want to be a shoulder to cry on. 
I want to be a testimony to others who are struggling to overcome. 
I want to be proof that we can really get through anything, maybe not alone and maybe not how we imagine, but we can get through it. 
I want to be a voice, for those who feel they don’t have one. 
I want to put words to paper that tell stories through my eyes, God’s stories.

I want to write, teach and speak.

I can do all of those without stirring up so much turmoil in my own heart and without putting such a burden on my family.  I won’t have pretty little letters that follow my name but I will have a lifetime of experience and a heart that bleeds love, empathy and understanding.  And, I have God on my side.

While I still feel a little sad, I am at peace and the exciting thing is, I can take a few classes here and there to help me with learning but without the pressure of finances or degree completion.  I can simply focus on the places where I feel God can truly use me and not worry with making an A to pass a class.

When I considered going back to school, I didn’t think of the things I would be giving up or putting on hold in order to dedicate time to school.  When it finally hit me, all the things I was giving up were exactly the things I wanted to do … teaching during Wednesday night classes at church, helping with our Women’s Ministry, lending an ear and encouraging support to others, writing, blogging, reading – oh how I have developed a new love for reading!

It seems kind of silly now, looking at how much time I have put into the past few months of preparing to go back to school and suddenly deciding not to go – it’s all been worth it.  I learned a lot through the process.  Every day that I can learn something else about this thing we call life is just one more day filled with blessings.  Just because I won’t officially be going back to school doesn’t mean I won’t be learning.  As long as there is more to learn, there is more life to live!

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