Featured Blogger Codi from Codi Is Her Name - We are Girls, Hear Us Roar

My oldest daughter will be three next month. The last three years have gone by extremely fast, almost in a blink of an eye. She has taught me so much and we have grown so much together. She is beautiful, smart, powerful, and has done super hard things in the last three years. And she never ceases to amaze me completely.

The last couple weeks she will walk up to me, rub my face, and say "mommy you beautiful"-talk about my heart being completely melted and I tell her right back that she is beautiful as well. And then she will run over to baby sis and tell her she's beautiful! This week we added to that positive affirmation she came up with.. We will look in the mirror and say "I'm beautiful, I'm strong, I'm powerful, I'm smart, and I can do hard things". Her speech is getting better every single day and I can really make out what she is saying these days, so these positive affirmations are sticking with her more and more. She is starting to understand what we're talking about. She gets that these things that we're saying are good for us by our tone of voice and the smiles we have while saying them.

Good for our soul. Good for our brain. Good for our self esteem. Good for our body. Good for our health. And most of all, these affirmations are excellent for our mental health.

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In today's society it is extremely important that we raise our young daughters this way. I only know how it is to be a girl mom, so in no way am I bashing the boy mom's out there because these affirmations can be said to them as well! But as a Mom to two young girls, these things need to be said to them starting at a young age so they know they are capable of anything they put their little minds to.

And with everything that is out there on the internet, on televisions, billboards, store shelves, etc, it's important for us parents to teach our daughters to love every single inch of themselves. The stretch marks, the dimples, the freckles, the beauty marks, and the scars. We as parents have to break the mold that society has somehow instilled in all our minds about how it is to be a girl.

I'm raising my girls to know that yes, you are beautiful but beauty does not define you. You are also smart, powerful, strong, and you can do hard things. We all have stories to tell. We all have things in our past that have broke us down and we could have been out for the count because of those things. But I want my daughters to know that even though life is hard and it is scary sometimes, as a girl you are so strong and you will have so many opportunities that you should take along the way.

So right now I'm pushing the positive affirmations on an almost three year old and 15 month old. I want these things so lodged into their brains that if anyone ever tells them they aren't smart enough or strong enough because they're a girl, they automatically will know that that isn't true. They will know they are beautiful but that just because they are beautiful doesn't mean that will tell the world who they are as a person. And that they are so powerful beyond belief because they trust in the good Lord to help them walk their every day journey down here on Earth, and that He will light their way.

As a Mom who struggles internally every single day with anxiety, I'm taking this page out of my parenting book and putting it into my self love book. If I tell my daughters every single day that they are beautiful, smart, powerful, strong, and that they can do hard things, I better be telling myself that. We are never too old to change our way of thinking about ourselves. And as a person who struggles with looking at the positive side of things about myself, these affirmations can apply to me so much.

I need every single person that has read this to stop, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful, you are strong, you are powerful, you are smart, and you can do hard things. And I want you to believe yourself when you're saying these things to yourself. You have to believe yourself. You deserve to believe yourself.

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If we are going to make small changes to the future of society, if we want our daughters to believe these things about themselves that we are engraining in them, then we as their parent need to believe these things about ourselves as well.

Listen up society-us girls are so much more then we've ever been. We're breaking the molds. We're breaking boundaries. We're going farther and farther every single day. We are girls, hear us roar.

We are Beautiful.

We are Smart.

We are Powerful.

We are Strong.

We can do Hard Things.

And we will continue to do all of these things. We will continue to change society everyday. Let's keep saying these things to our daughter's and to ourselves. Let's keep pushing the boundaries because they are only going to change if we push for it. And let's be strong together. We can do a lot of things as one person, but imagine what we can do if we all band together and help push girls farther and farther every day?

The sky is the limit.

Check out more from Codi here!

27 Life Lessons Learned by 27

26 was a big year with a lot of big changes. But it was also a huge year of growth. Over the years I’ve learned a lot so I figured I’d share that with all of you. Here are 27 things I have learned by year 27. If any of this sparks interest to you, let me know and I can go into more detail in another post! Here’s to my 27th year and taking it by storm!

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  1. Take time to play.

  2. It’s okay to say “no” to something that doesn’t feel right.

  3. I am the most important thing.

  4. Listen to what your body is telling you.

  5. It’s never too late.

  6. But you’re also never too early.

  7. Relationships of any kind take work from both sides.

  8. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

  9. It’s important to constantly be learning.

  10. Do something that sets your soul on fire, daily.

  11. Travel as often as you are able.

  12. Life is too short.

  13. If something feels scary, that’s usually a sign that you need to take action.

  14. Ask for help when you need it.

  15. We don’t grow in our comfort zones.

  16. Show gratitude for the small things.

  17. Reflection is key to success.

  18. Surround yourself with people who lift you up.

  19. Remove people from your life who don’t.

  20. Stay true to you and your soul.

  21. It is okay to not be okay. How you respond is the deciding factor.

  22. You deserve the world.

  23. Everything you need to succeed is already inside of you.

  24. Having patience is hard.

  25. You have to fight for the people and things you love.

  26. Time management is imperative.

  27. No one is you, and that is your super power.

Featured Blogger Kristen from Living Everyday Strong - How Fitness Made Me a Better Teacher

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R E W I N D to 4 years ago . . . I was in the middle of my first year of teaching, pre-wellness journey, overwhelmed and beyond exhausted, running myself ragged just trying to stay afloat.


Teacher friends, have you been here? Are you here now? You are NOT alone.


I was tired a l l t h e t i m e, running on Dunkin' Donuts / / extra cream and sugar, mindlessly snacking throughout the day, and indulging in a cold beer (or 4) every evening -- just to wake up and do it all over again the next day.


Against every best practice I learned in undergrad, I taught from a chair and rarely moved around my classroom for the better half of my first year. My energy was low, my irritability was at an all-time high, and I had, what felt like, a chronic headache.


Side note: A classroom full of 9 and 10-year-olds is quite possibly the l a s t place you want to be when you feel like this.


I had all of these dreams and goals to give my students my very best -- to challenge them, to empower them, to support them, and to love them -- and I was falling short . . . every day. I was letting my students down, and, simultaneously, letting myself down.


F A S T  F O R W A R D to now . . . 3ish years into my wellness journey, 4 years in the classroom, eating well, exercising regularly, F U L L of energy, and showing up for myself and my students every day.


If you've read my story, you know that I didn't make this change overnight. I sort of stumbled into this lifestyle one small change at a time, and my biggest motivator became progress of a n y kind. One of the first aspects of my lifestyle to change was my activity level. I made movement a habit and almost immediately F E L T better. Wellness journey – kickstarted. One small, underwhelming change at a time, I transformed my life.


I wanted to make a change, but I had no idea how/where to start. So, I started walking. A lot. I figured I couldn’t go wrong here. I got obsessed with my Fitbit and was determined to hit my step goal every day. I walked around my neighborhood, around the playground at recess, on the treadmill, etc . . . any chance I could get. You guys – almost instantly, like not even a week later, I started to feel SO much better. I had more energy in the classroom, and I was not nearly as exhausted when I got home from work. Even better? I didn’t even want to eat the pita chips and spinach dip or drink 4 beers [understatement] every night. My eating habits began to change and hellooooo progress! My body was changing, I was feeling better, and I was hooked.”

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Teacher friends, I get it . . . we're B U S Y. We are responsible for an enormous load, and we're engrained to put our students [and everyone else, for that matter] before ourselves. Burn-out is real, and this career we went into because of our love for children and learning is becoming all-consuming and less about passion / / more about checking the boxes.


I realize that what I'm about to suggest may be a radical concept, but just hear me out . . .


Spend an hour on yourself every - single - day.


Make YOURSELF a priority . . . your happiness, your health, your wellness. Show up for yourself first, because, friends, YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP! [insert clapping emoji]


Find a form of exercise you actually enjoy . . . strength training, running, barre, yoga, spin class, rock climbing, etc. and spend an hour m o v i n g every day.


Fuel your body with R E A L food . . . throw out all the processed junk and restock your fridge with a l l the colors! Click here for my top tips on how to 'healthy' grocery shop affordably.


Make self-care a routine . . . find a podcast you enjoy and listen to it during your commute, buy that book you've been wanting to read and decide to read for 10 minutes before going to sleep, call a friend or family member just to chat, etc.

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Pour into yourself so that you can pour your very best into others.


80% of the time I eat fresh, wholesome foods, and I find pockets of time throughout the day to listen to podcasts, read new books, and call my mama, but F I T N E S S was, and still is, my game-changer.

A combination of strength training and high intensity cardio is my go-to exercise regimen, and when I committed to making m o v e m e n t a priority a few years back, here's what happened:

  • My nutrition mindset shifted. I no longer crave the 'highly processed / / full of sugar' foods, but instead actually want to eat fresh, nutritious food.

  • My body began to transform. I was losing fat and building lean muscle . . . a look I never dreamed I'd be able to achieve.

  • I found a sense of confidence that I had been longing for. I became comfortable in my own skin and no longer pick myself apart in the mirror.

  • My clothes fit better, and I don't try on countless outfits before settling on one that I feel 'okay' in.

  • I have more energy, less irritability, and z e r o headaches!

The best part . . .

  • I am able to show up for my students the way I have always dreamed I would. I poured into fostering relationships and creating a classroom community, and my teaching became energetic and engaging.

  • In learning to schedule the hour in for myself each day, I became better at time management and prioritizing. I now leave school shortly after my students do, and I never [ever] take work home with me.

  • I make room for what's most important, prioritize my tasks / / check them off one by one, and I give my students and co-workers my very best during the school day . . . because, at the end of the day, I'm choosing to spend quality time with people I love and filling MY cup so that I can wake up the next day e x c i t e d to be a teacher again and pour into my students.

  • Learn more about my time management techniques and how I boost my productivity here!

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Friends, that hour for yourself is important. Making yourself a priority is important. The strength and confidence you will build through exercise is important. Your happiness, health, and wellness is important.

If you want to give your absolute best to those around you, you must first believe that YOU deserve to be happy, healthy, and well . . . and commit to it.


Here's to allowing ourselves the grace to spend time pouring into ourselves this week so that we are able to graciously pour into others.


xo, Kristen

Living Everyday Strong

www.livingeverydaystrong.com

@livingeverydaystrong


Featured Blogger Kandice from Kandice Gets Classy - 3 Steps to Stay Happy and Avoid Toxic Stress

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3 Steps to Stay Happy and Avoid Toxic Stress

Hello, all! I’m Kandice (wave!) I am thrilled to be sharing with you here on Adventuring Kelsey. I’m a huge fan of Kelsey’s mission to help us find alignment and happiness as we chase our dreams!

Today I’m giving you three necessary steps to help you manage your stress levels while you’re conquering all those goals.  I want you to stay in that happy, healthy zone where you can thrive! We’re going a bit deep, so let’s dive in.

There are truly a million beautiful things about our lives that can bring us happiness; our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs (the good parts), a beautiful day, etc. It really is a wonderful life!

In the midst of this wonderful life, though, there are also a million things that can cause us major STRESS. The never-ending to-do lists, the financial strains, the unexpected setbacks, the jam-packed schedules, the relationship struggles, and the list goes on! Stress is an inevitable part of life, but I have good news! There is a way to process this stress in an emotionally healthy way and keep it from robbing you of your happiness.

Did you catch that key word I threw in there? Emotionally. Our emotions have everything to do with our stress levels! You see, stress in itself is actually good for us. It’s how we grow and develop as human beings. But if we don’t know how to process it, we quickly become buried in emotions like pressure, overwhelm, negativity, and the like. This difficult place to be is what is referred to as the toxic stress zone.

I was buried in this place for years and had no idea! I thought it was normal to feel that kind of stress. I mean, we’re all busy, right? We all have a million things going on, and I honestly love being productive. Maybe you feel the same!

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a chronic thyroid disorder that I realized what I had been doing to myself. I was drowning in pressure, felt completely overwhelmed with work, and was allowing my circumstances to control my emotions. What I thought was just “normal stress” was actually toxic for me and was wreaking havoc on my mind, my emotions, and my body. I had no idea!

Perhaps you’re in the same boat. You feel overwhelmed. Exhausted. Extreme pressure. You’re unsure of how long this uncomfortable ride is going to last. It’s no fun at all, and I’ve been right where you are. Over the past few years, I’ve learned how to get off of this terrible ride and find happiness, hope, and contentment in the midst of the stress. I still encounter the same struggles, but now I know how to process my emotions and keep myself far from the danger zone of toxic stress. I want to teach them to you, too!

Here are three steps that will empower you to stay strong, happy, and stable in the midst of stress:

Step #1: Reflect.

In order to manage your stress, you have to understand it. You have to sit down, get quiet, and determine the source of emotional stress you’re experiencing. Spend some time reflecting. Consider your patterns and your tendencies. When does this stressful feeling show up the most? What causes it? Where are its roots?

I want to share with you a somewhat minor example of stress in my own life that will help me paint this picture for you. I used to start my days at work feeling bitter and annoyed. I really did love my job, but I was often already stressed to the max when I arrived. It was an uncomfortable feeling and it set me up for a bad day. It was happening more and more often and was causing me unnecessary stress. In order to figure out why, I had to do some serious reflecting. Why was I annoyed? Was it the act of coming to work? Was it the job itself? Was it the people I had to encounter that day?

Upon reflecting, I noticed that this stress always occurred when I was running late. I didn’t realize it, but my anxiety and frustration about being late was feeding into my mood big time. This seems like a small issue, and maybe it is. But one small issue combined with the countless other ones we face becomes a very big deal! Stress is stress, and there’s only so much of it we can take.

Whatever you’re feeling, determine the root of the emotion. You might be surprised by what you find.

Step #2: Find the lie.

Now that you know the source of your stress, you have to find the lie you’ve been telling yourself. Our own thoughts are a major power player in our battle against stress!

Hear me out. When I was driving to work and feeling all of the anxiety and stress, I felt it because I was telling myself lies the whole way there. I was subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) telling myself that I was irresponsible. That I was immature. That I was unprofessional. And that everyone at work thought those same things about me. I felt terrible! I was on the edge of my seat the whole drive to work desperately trying to be on time so I could prove that I wasn’t any of those things. Talk about stress!!

The things you think about and the way you perceive situations are the key to avoiding toxic stress! If you’re overwhelmed, what are you telling yourself? Are you telling yourself that it’s impossible? If you feel guilty, are you telling yourself that it’s all your fault? Hunt down those lies and get rid of them!

Step #3: Tell yourself the truth.

So, you reflected and found the source of your stress. You identified the lie you’ve been believing. Now it’s time to tell yourself the truth.

Since your thoughts and perceptions hold all the power, you better start relying on some truth! Here was the truth in my situation. I wasn’t irresponsible. I was a gifted and skilled teacher. I wasn’t immature. I was a professional with endless potential. Telling myself these things and actually believing them set me free from the anxiety I felt on the way to work. I could start my day, late or not, knowing that I was meant to be there, and that I was going to do great work that day. The stress disappeared!

Now, I did have to solve the problem of being late, but I was now in a much better position. I was no longer allowing my circumstance to determine my emotions. I could stay on top of my emotions by telling myself the truth, thus allowing me to stay out of the toxic stress zone. Are you tracking with me?

Whatever stressful emotions you are dealing with, uncover the lie and tell yourself the truth. This is the key to overcoming toxic stress! If you need some help uncovering those lies and declaring the truth, I’m here for you! I have a five day email course Self Care from the Inside Out with tons of examples to get you started. Each day you’ll get a new email dealing with a particular emotion. You’ll get action items and thought replacements to help you process your stress in a healthy way and get you out of that toxic stress zone for good!

You deserve to feel happy. You deserve to feel peace and contentment. Take this free course and start telling yourself the truth!

I sincerely hope these steps will be helpful for you as you live out your truly beautiful life.

You got this!

XOXO

Kandice

www.kandicegetsclassy.com

Featured Blogger Allie from The Gypsy Teacher - Lessons Learned from Teaching Abroad

I have been teaching in Tanzania, East Africa for four and a half years, and it has been an ADVENTURE to say the least! I applied, had a Skype interview, and got my plane ticket a month before I would fly across the world by myself. It not only was my first time living abroad, it was my first year teaching!

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I truly believe that teaching abroad is one of the best ways to grow both personally and professionally. Traveling allows you to see things from a new perspective and learn from people around the world, and it gets you outside of your comfort zone! Today I’m going to share the top lessons I’ve learned while living and teaching abroad!

 1.    Be Flexible

I always thought of myself as a flexible and adaptive person but teaching abroad has stretched my muscles and made me even more flexible! You never know what will happen – maybe the power will go out right before you get to the copier and you can’t prep any of your lessons, or you go to the shop down the road to purchase something for a lesson but they don’t have it in stock and don’t know when they’ll have more, or it starts downpour raining during the dress rehearsal of your outdoor Christmas play. These are just three out of hundreds of situations I’ve had to be flexible in! Blessed are the flexible for they won’t get bent out of shape!

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2.    Be Creative

This lesson took time to take root. My first year in Tanzania I taught first grade. I found so many amazing, engaging, and creative lessons online to go along with what we were learning, but I could hardly do any of the because of the lack of resources we had. At first, I was really discouraged. We can’t just run to Walmart or Target and grab what we needed. We have a supply closet of a small amount of craft supplies people bring over in suitcases from America and the limited number of supplies we can get in town. So, I had to be creative! I have made eyedroppers out of Coke bottles, homemade playdough, cornstarch cloud crafts, and much more! 

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3.    Be Courageous

Moving to Tanzania was SO exciting, but it was a bit scary too! I didn’t know anyone there and had only talked to my directors via a blurry Skype call one time! I had to take a leap of faith, leave all I loved and knew behind, and make this new place my home. But, the reward of doing that was so sweet! Tanzania really is my second home now – with friends who have become like family, a beautiful environment that I always love to return to, and an amazing school that I get to be a part of growing and teaching in. I’ve had to be courageous in the classroom too – teaching first grade, kindergarten, and fourth grade, with parents and students counting on me.

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4.    Be Willing to Learn

Oh man, have I learned a LOT!! Being open and willing to learn new things has so many great payoffs. I have learned how to have a conversation in Swahili (and order my produce at the market!), how to teach in an international school with so many cultures coming together, how to live with roommates, how to cook Tanzanian dishes like chapati (their flatbread), and I’ve learned how to love and serve people better. 

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I LOVE teaching abroad – and truly feel it is my “dream job” and calling. To anyone who has even considered teaching outside of their passport country, I say GO FOR IT! Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will be scary. But I wouldn’t trade my experiences abroad for anything! They are what has made me who I am today!

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Just like any teacher, I have my FAVORITE THINGS for my classroom. I wrote a blog post all about my Teacher Must-Haves for Teaching Abroad and would love to continue the conversation with you there!

 Allie

Exploring and Loving the World through Teaching and Connection

@alliethegypsyteacher