career mama {ten changes @ work}

earlier this week, i talked about the difference between a working mama and a career mama. today, let’s look at some baby steps that you can take toward being a better career mama while you are at work:

|1|  limit the amount of "personal" things you do at work (emails, phone calls, errands, etc). if you do a lot of  this, try eliminating just one of them for a week and see how that works.

|2|  think about how you'd want your employee to act if you were the boss. spend one day doing exactly that. no exceptions.

|3|  cut down on the office gossip. you certainly shouldn't be starting/spreading gossip, but try eliminating your exposure to it as well.

|4|  consider your co-workers. think about people at work that may negatively affect your attitude. you probably can't eliminate them entirely from your day, but try to limit your exposure to them (without sacrificing job performance).

|5|  the next time you are tempted to say or think something negative about work or a coworker, force yourself to replace it with something positive. do this once a day.

|6| stop silly dreaming. i am not telling you to squash your dreams. i’m telling you to stop dreaming that you will win the lottery so you can stay home with your munchkins. it’s not going to happen so stop torturing yourself.

|7|  take your breaks!!! whether you have scheduled fifteen minute breaks, lunch hours, whatever. take them!!! it's not always possible, but the mental time away from the nitty gritty will truly help.

|8|  have contingency plans in place. prevent unnecessary stress by having a list of "back up plans" (family, friends, sitters, etc).
|9|  talk to your boss. i know every supervisor and workplace is different, but often times employees simply don't communicate their desires well enough.

|10|  pray. God has this all figured out already. try chatting with him about it.

one thing to keep in mind is that if you are whole-heartedly miserable in your job, changing your attititude will help but it’s not going to fix everything. be realistic. if you are incredibly unhappy, look for another job. create a career plan and start working toward it. lay out baby steps to achieve long term goals.

this post is part of a new focus here at the chronicles:
balancing work & home, while loving it all.


working mama v. career mama

are you a working mom or a career mom?

are you not sure what the difference is? or if there really is one? trust me, there is.

it has nothing to do with the type of job you have or the money you earn. it's not about power, or title, or whether you wear a uniform or a business suit. it's about your attitude.

i went through a period, particularly during my pregnancy and after maternity leave where i became a working mama. i showed up at the office every day out of obligation and as a means to an end. 40 hours a week = food on the table and a roof over our head. that was it. my baby needed diapers and formula. i was bitter that i had to work at all...i sure as heck wasn't going to do it with a smile on my face!

at some point, i was able to adjust my attitude back to a career mama mentality and it has made all the difference. when i'm in the office, i focus on my priorities there. it's the same deal, i give my company 40+ hours a week and, in return they give me a paycheck that allows me to help support my family. but i'm more focused, more engaged, more dedicated. my company gets more from me and in return, my career path will be rewarded.

but the biggest reward isn't about a bi-weekly deposit or title on a business card. it's about happiness.

most moms would agree that it just plain sucks to leave your kids every day. regardless of whether you work because you want to, need to or flat out have to...it sucks sometimes. we love our kids and want to spend time with them.

by focusing on my career while i'm at work, my attitude has shifted, not only in regards to my professional duties, but at home too. when i'm home with my family, i'm focused on them. i'm excited to be there and i'm not dreading going to work the next day. i am able to treat the people i love as if they are truly loved ones, rather than taking out frustrations on them.

it's all about the attitude.

as i said before, it has nothing to do with what you do.

if you are a waitress because the economy is crap and it's the only job you can find, then you are a working mama waitress. if you are a waitress because you love the food industry and aspire to run your own restaurant, you are a career mama waitress. same job. different attitude.

if you have a corner office, wear a suit to work everyday and bring home a 7-digit salary, all while counting down the days until friday...you are a working corporate mama. if you fly first-class and supervise a building full of folks all while wearing prada shoes, and you loved every step up that ladder...you are a career corporate mama.

get it? good.

so, if you are struggling to balance your two worlds or feeling a bit dissatifised in the workplace, i urge you to spend some time thinking about your attitude toward your job/career. how does it make you feel while you are at work? how does it affect you at home? could it use some adjusting?

soon, we will talk about ways to make some changes that will benefit you and your family.

this post is part of a new focus here at the chronicles:
the career mama
balancing work & home, while loving it all.


story {easter injury}

our easter morning didn't happen exactly as planned. around 5 a.m. i stumbled out of bed. in the dark. with no glasses on. to use the restroom. despite having taken this route a million times before, i somehow managed to trip over one of the dog beds.

in a moment of no balance and an attempt to keep myself from falling on our poor dog, i grabbed the nearest thing for stabilization. bad idea.

the tall, skinny, and very unstable bookshelf/full length mirror came tumbling down on top of me. the next few moments consisted of me screaming to wake up my husband, being terrified that our dog may have just gotten squashed and that i had probably broken my hand.

in the thirty minutes that followed, my completely ungraceful panic turned into my dry heaving (from the pain? from the fear? who knows). my dear hubby calmed me and got my wrist all iced up. we woke a dear friend & neighbor to come be with the boys. we woke spencer to let him know we were leaving. and we left.

amazingly enough, we managed to get in and out of urgent care, fill a prescription, and pick up breakfast for our family and the dear friends that helped us...all in 2 hours. three stitches later, i realized the world wasn't coming to an end and though we were going to miss church, easter was far from ruined.

and of course, in every (small) trauma there are many blessings...

:: our dog did not get smushed under the bookshelf
:: the mirror miraculously didn't break
:: my arm was not broken (or even sprained)
:: the cut on my wrist was not very deep
:: we have good medical insurance
:: my husband was home when it happened
:: we have amazing friends/neighbors that we can depend on
:: the process did not take that long and we were still able to enjoy our holiday
:: we had a wonderful experience at urgent care with some great nurses

so today i'm sore, but functional. and very grateful.


celebrate {easter}

happy easter
 from our family to yours

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." (1 Peter 1:3 NIV)

celebrate {coleman - april 2011}

110205 Chandlers 05 - Coleman copy

coleman: you play so hard. you are active and energetic. i love how adorable you look when you face is all red from fun overload!

:: your pronunctiation of certain words cracks me up. "yes" sounds like "yos". "heavy" sounds like "hovy". listening to your growing vocabulary constantly makes me smile.

110206 Coleman asleep in car

:: you don't really enjoy being read to. you'd rather hold the book yourself and "read". you are independent in so many ways. you'd prefer to tackle almost any task all on your own. (for the record...you DO like for your brother to read books to you!)

:: your favorite movie is "monsters inc". you call it by name, but also just call it "movie" and think every movie is "monsters inc".

110211 Coleman with Valentine art 04
:: you are always bringing home artistic creations from daycare. love that. i try to do some stuff at home too. but we don't have nearly as much time for creative projects as i'd prefer.

:: you like to get under a blanket and pull it up to your chin. you do this to mimic boo from "monsters inc".
110212 Playing in yard 05 - Coleman
:: you still love, love, love being outdoors. when you get cranky...that's often where we head. the fresh air seems to be a mood changer for you. i love that we have so many boys nearby. it warms my heart that you will grow up with neighborhood buddies.

:: you are always asking "what doing?". some might think it'd be annoying, but i think it's absolutely adorable and never get tired of answering you.
110220 C on iphone 02
:: you are still so very addicted to your pacifer...paci...pop-pop. call it what you want, you love it. we're working towards more and more time without, but when you are unhappy, it's the first thing you ask for.

:: we recently took you to your first live show: mickey's live magic show. you were restless at times, and enthralled at times. you clapped. you danced. for only two years old, i think it was quite successful.
110227 Coleman + Water Table 03

:: you are going through a stage of being completely obsessed with water. you love running water in a sink and just playing. it usually leads to a big ole mess!

:: you still love the mickey mouse clubhouse, but you are now more interactive with the show as you watch it. mickey's your favorite of course, but you also love goofy...which you pronounce "foofy".
110228 Coleman taking drink break at AJ's
:: you love drinking from "big boy" cups or bottles of water. you are getting pretty good at it (though we still rely on the mess-free sippy cup for most of your drinking).

:: you are starting to get really good at your colors and shapes. we are so proud of you.

:: you still go on the big boy potty at aj's but not at home!
this post is part of a series highlighting the life and growth of our boys each month. spencer will be featured on the 15th of every month, and coleman on the 24th.



definition {journey}

Halfway to Heaven

when i first began my journey through the Bible, i chose that term because that was what the host blogger had called it. after a while, it just stuck. over the course of fifteen months, i really began to appreciate the word. it seems so perfect.

as you've seen, the last several days have been spent reflecting on this journey. as a result, i thought i'd look into that particular word a bit, as well.

i decided to look up the official definition. the first three were all related to travel. and then, there it was... the fourth definition:
passage or progress from one stage to another
i love that. i made daily progress into a deeper stage of faith. passage into a different state of mind with every word of scripture.

i know it's pretty dorky, but sometimes i just look up words for fun. it makes me smile. i'm glad i chose this one.


tutorial {the journey}


after reading the Bible in a year and sharing my thoughts, i thought it might be worthwhile to share some tips on completing such a journey...just in case anyone else might be interested. a few tips. things that worked. didn't work. what helped me.

:: commitment ::
the Bible is a long book. and it's not always an "easy read". we're not talking nicholas sparks here. in order to make it cover to cover...you are going to need to be committed. basically, you have to want to do it. it was never a struggle for me to get up early because i looked forward to that time. there were many times in my life that i know i wouldn't have been able to make that same level of commitment.

:: scheduled quiet time ::
for me, the biggest key to sticking with my reading plan was having a set quiet time each day. each weekday morning, i spend about 30 minutes (5:30 to 6:00 a.m.) reading my Bible, journaling, etc. something like this may not work for everyone, but this was ideal for me. keep in mind your 'quiet time' could be anytime - before bed, during naptime, your lunch hour, etc.

:: peace & quiet ::
though you can read anywhere that makes sense in your life, i personally would recommend trying to spend your time in place that is peaceful and quiet (thus, my getting up before everyone else in my house each morning). you will be able to focus and get more out of your readings. if you choose to incorporate devotionals or journaling (mentioned below), this quiet will be of even more value.

:: have a plan ::
develop a plan that will help you make your way through the entire Bible. it doesn't have to be formal, structured or even organized. just something basic. the easiest plan is to just decide how many chapters a day you are going to read. if you have a set amount of time for reading, you can base it more on time, rather than length. for instance, i could've said i was going to spend 20 minutes of my quiet time each day reading. whether that was one chapter or twenty. chapters vary greatly in length so if your plan is based on the number of chapters, your time spent reading daily will also vary.

:: be flexible ::
even though a plan is helpful, allow yourself some flexibility. if your plan isn't working for you, change it. adjust it. mine changed a few times during the fifteen months i was reading.

:: prioritize ::
committing to a reading of this magnitude requires some prioritizing. it will be necessary to put aside some other things (most likely) to make room in your schedule for this. there is so much information on the internet, that it was always tempting to start a new devotional plan or project, but i had to make myself stay committed to the reading and not get distracted by shiny things. on several occasions, i went ahead and printed out things that i found and stored them away so i could do them after my journey through the Bible was complete. you will also have to fight distractions such as housework, the internet, and other ways that you could spend that time.

:: be realistic & forgiving ::
life happens. you know that. God knows that. when you miss days...it's ok. one big thing that i learned was not to play catch up. if i missed a day, i didn't try to tackle eight chapters the next day. i just kept chugging along at the four chapter pace. set expectations that work for you. if you have six kids that you homeschool, you probably can't spend an hour each day doing this. ten or fifteen minutes might be more feasible. if you have a more open schedule, you may be able to tackle the entire book in a few months. everyone is different.

:: be organized ::
have all of your reading materials in one place. it may just be your Bible, but if you are using any additional books or journals, make sure those (and a pen) are stored in the same place. and keep it near where you read. for me, i kept everything in a drawer beside my husband's recliner, which is where i spend my morning quiet time.

:: there's an app for that ::
i recommend finding a way to always have a Bible with you, especially if you don't have a specific quiet time. if you are in the carpool, waiting at a doctor's office, on your lunch hour from work... you can sneak in some reading. you can go old school with a pocket Bible, or if you have a smart phone or tablet, i highly recommend the youversion app.

:: additional resources ::
depending on your purpose in taking on this journey, you may want additional devotional material. i didn't really go this route, so i can't recommend anything specific. keep in mind, if you pull in more reading, you will either need more time to devote daily, or you have to be OK knowing it will take you longer to finish reading the Bible.

:: write it out ::
similar to the option of devotional readings, you may choose to do some journaling. again, i did not do this on a regular basis and it will definitely add to the daily time commitment. however, i definitely feel it would help heighten the experience.

:: pray ::
obviously, the most important part of this committment is to pray about it. i may not be winning any "mother of the year" awards for admitting this, but there were many mornings that i would pray that coleman would sleep late enough for me to complete my quiet time. ask to be blessed with the time you need, the ability to focus on the word and an open heart.

if you decide to start this journey, i'd love to hear about it...


story {the journey}

photo source
the key component of making my way through the bible was my daily quiet time. without this, i may have eventually finished the reading...but it would've taken so much longer, and i know i would not have gained as much from my time spent in those words.

each weekday morning, i wake at 5:00. after beginning my day with a shower and preparing my cherished cup of coffee, i snuggle into my husband's recliner. for thirty minutes i sip and read before tackling the day ahead of me. yes, i could spend those thirty minutes in bed, but i don't.

and honestly, i don't miss the time in bed. at all. but if i sleep in one day...i do miss my quiet time. when the harsh alarm breaks the silence of my slumber, i quietly rise in anticipation. the warmth of the chair, and the blanket, and the coffee, and the words, calling me out of my comfortable bed.

sometimes i incorporate some journaling into my time. sometimes i read other faith-based books or articles. and there is prayer. but i do not allow technology into my time. no tv. no iphone. no internet. i have tried music, but it just didn't work for me. i much preferred the quiet. no distractions.

this time allows me to start my day in the right frame of my mind. things are easier, more peaceful, more relaxed.

i'm not going to lie...not every morning is as serene as the picture painted above. there are mornings when my son wakes before that 5 a.m. alarm even goes off. there are mornings when that alarm doesn't go off. and then there are the weekends, when i only wake when my early-rising toddler calls to me over his monitor.

when i began this journey, my baby was just beginning to start sleeping through the nights. the mornings aren't always easy. and certainly not perfect. but i love them.

and it turns out that my spastic little tot enjoys quiet mornings too. so, my weekends (or weekdays when he rises before the sun) are spent in the same recliner, with the same blanket, the same cup of coffee and the same Bible...but with the company of a snuggling sleepy-eyed little boy on my lap. maybe God's way of saying "you can't always have it your way, but isn't this the best way?"

i've often struggled with understanding what people mean when they say God "speaks" to them. i still struggle with this on a daily basis. but this fifteen-month journey through His word has helped me to hear him a bit more clearly.

the funny thing about God is that he always has a little message for you. good, bad, ugly or just a big 'ole fat wake up call. He's there nudging you with a note that, if you open your eyes to it, will get you through the day just a tad bit easier.

i'm not a preachy person, but if there are two things i would highly recommend to everyone, it would be (1) read the Bible cover-to-cover and (2) begin your day with some peace & quiet.


celebrate {the journey}

Bible on table
photo credit
last january, i began a journey. my goal was to read The Holy Bible. day-by-day. cover-to-cover. chapter-by-chapter. i was inspired by a blog which would be providing daily devotionals and the reading plan. it began as three chapters each weekday, five over the weekend. total time to completion...a year or so.

unfortunately, the devotionals didn't last and my efforts derailed along with it. but somehow, i got back on track. i considered finding my own "devotional" readings online, etc. and then finally, at some point, i realized i was overcomplicating things.

from that point forward, i simply opened the book each day and read. my goal was four chapters a day. if it didn't happen, no worries. i didn't play catch up. i didn't force it on the weekends. i just read.

it's hard to believe that fifteen months later, i closed my Bible and was able to say "i did it. i read the whole thing." i'm not going to lie...it's a pretty awesome feeling of accomplishment.

i'm going to spend some time putting together a few more detailed posts about my experience. more to come...


music monday {summer playlist}

last summer, i created a summer playlist on my iphone. it could definitely use some updating, but with such warm weather down here in south kackilack, i thought it might be fun to share my list of *summer songs*:

here's a good one from a few years ago (there are different versions of this song - this is the clean, country version):

All I Want To Do (Sugarland)
All Summer Long (Kid Rock)
Groovy Little Summer Song (James Otto)
Bartender Song (Rehab)
Boat Drinks (Jimmy Buffett)
California Girls (Katy Perry)
Carolina Girls (Embers)
Coast of Carolina (Jimmy Buffett)
Drift Away (Uncle Kracker & Doby Gray)
Free & Easy (Dierks Bentley)
Good Directions (Billy Currington)
Good To Go To Mexico (Toby Kieth)
I Love Beach Music (The Embers)
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (Jimmy Buffett & Friends)
Looking for a Good Time (Lady Antebellum)
Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus)
People Are Crazy (Billy Currington)
Please Don't Stop the Music (Rhianna)
Senorita (Justin Timberlake)
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
Southern Nights (Glen Campbell)
The Sweet Escape (Gwen Stefani)
Sweet Tea (Cravin' Melon)
Tide is High (Blondie)
Toes (Zac Brown Band)
Under the Boardwalk (The Drifters)
Walking on Sunshine
We Got the Party (Hannah Montana)

i'd love to know what songs make you feel like summer! i need to update my playlist with some new stuff!


celebrating {spencer - april 2011}

after coleman turned two years old, i started to miss the monthly updates i used to post about him. but i also realized i wanted to post more about just spencer. and so that lead me to a new series idea. my plan is to share monthly about each boy on the date of their birthday (the 15th for spencer and the 24th for coleman). nothing elaborate - just a little update on their lives...right now.

spencer, at twelve years old you are in the sixth grade. your last report card was 4 B's in your academic subjects. you do not like math and made your first 'C' in that subject. but you are working hard and we are proud of you!
110205 Colton's 2nd Bday 42 - Spencer + Colton

you are enjoying the art project you're doing in school right now. you are making a penguin from clay. you chose the animal yourself. it reminded me of when you had to make a penguin in second grade. time sure does fly.
110205 Chandlers 14 - Spencer

you are totally into baseball right now (and always). you are playing for a travel ball team and a rec ball team. you are completely devoted and have practice or games five or six days a week. you adore your travel team and it warms my heart to see you "at home" with your new baseball family.
110205 Chandlers 07 - Spencer + Tim

you love the boston celtics and the boston red sox. we aren't sure why, but i love that you are a loyal fan and that you chose the teams you're following. but we also love that you are a die-hard gamecock fan with us.
110207 Celtics Game 01 - Matt & Spencer

spencer, you are growing into such an admirable young man. we love watching you mature and are blessed to share life and laughs with you along the way.

this post is part of a series highlighting the life and growth of our boys each month. spencer will be featured on the 15th of every month, and coleman on the 24th.


celebrating {9 years of marriage}

happy anniversary to this guy...
Matt & Holly

nine years ago, we officially began our life together...
Matt & Holly

and have grown into a family of four...
090224 Coleman's Birth - Family Photo03

i love when you are patient with me...
matt & holly

i love sharing experiences with you...
Matt & Holly

i love celebrating life with you...
matt & holly in the "civilized taxi"

i love that your interests are different than mine...
Holly & Matt at the USS Yorktown

i love that we share the same friends...
Holly & Matt

i love that we have family close...
Aren't we cute?

i love that nine years is only the beginning...
101029 J&J 60th Anniv Party 18

here's to celebrating many more years together...
100414 Anniversary Corks



goals {april 2011}

it seems that some areas are coming easier for me (organization, for instance), while other areas are more of a struggle (scrap + blog). as i mentioned yesterday, i need to remind myself of these on a daily basis! i created an 8.5x11 printable that lists these goals. i will keep this at the front of my life binder to help me stay focused! i'm excited to see if this helps, particularly because april is a busy, busy month!
-- purge downstairs coat closet
-- clean out & organize the kitchen pantry

{time management}
-- select one weeknight for "super productivity"
-- plan out meals for the week on sunday night

{blog improvement}
-- begin making my way through the blog design class (not finish, just start)
-- create an "about the chronicles" page for the blog

{scrap studio}
-- clear off the floor!!!
-- order photos from bridal shower & create album

{weight loss}
-- exercise at least once each week
-- lose at least 4 pounds

{faith + spirtuality}
-- finish reading one thousand gifts (while participating in the book club)
-- read 4 chapters of the New Testament every weekday morning

-- manage the best use of extra paycheck in april
-- contact at&t about strange charges

-- write four journal entries
-- continue the creativity boot camp workbook.
related posts:
goals for 2011
january goals and january end-of-month progress report
february goals and february end-of-month progress report
march goals

inspired by:
3 in 30, as presented by ap freewriting 101 and the tuckers take tennessee