September 30, 2015

The Wait.

I've looked at this picture a million times more than twice today.

Coincidentally, or not at all a coincidence, the picture above popped up in my Instagram feed first thing this morning. You're probably wondering why I think that's important at let me tell you.

Here's an abbreviated version: over the last two and a half weeks I've been feeling sick and today was my important appointment; where they either find out what's wrong or refer me to a specialist. I woke up super nervous because who am I kidding- I'm about as neurotic as they come when I'm stressed out. Luckily I made my appointment for very first thing in the morning so I wouldn't have to wait it out.

Unluckily for me, 4.5 hours later I got my answer. They couldn't figure me out! I'm an anomaly. Okay so that's a little dramatic....but they decided to refer me to a specialist. Not really what I was hoping for, but then again what's the saying "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Touche God. I heard you loud and clear on that one.

I constantly find myself planning out the future in my head the way I want it to go, rather than praying about it and trusting in God's will for me. And that's because I haven't mastered being patient, it just isn't one of my virtues.....yet. However- I'm always up for a challenge; especially when I know it's God's way of teaching me a hard, but valuable lesson.

So, Cheers to this new season. It's going to be different and maybe even a little difficult. But hey the rainbow only comes after the rain right?

Lesson learned.


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September 27, 2015

Resources for counselors

Looking for some school counseling/education resources? Look no further! I am going to supply you with a list of my go to books. These are not conventional resources, I like to pull ideas from lots of different places and translate them into what works for my program and my kiddos. However, these are great for counselors, teachers, and parents alike. In no particular order:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
This book is great for anyone to read, but especially anyone with a teenager in their life. We base almost our whole counseling program off of this, teaching our students qualities that will help them be successful beyond middle school.

How to Win Friends & Influence People
LOVE this book. I've read it more than once and made notes translating them into kid friendly language. I think the principles in this book are good for EVERYONE, but especially great for helping middle schools develop better social skills.

The 40 Day Soul Fast
To say I'm obsessed would minimize my feelings towards this book. Character education set on fire. Yes it's for adults, but where do you think you should start when trying to change the lives of others? Changing your own life and transforming yourself from within. This book is amazing.

The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make
This book is in kid friendly language and is written from the perspective of a teenager. I've based some counseling groups off this for 6th graders in previous years. It's a good book to help bridge the gap between being a child and being a teenager.

What Color Is your Parachute? for Teens.
This book is a little more advanced for middle schoolers, but we have been using it to guide us on career readiness lessons we want to provide for our 8th graders. I love the Holland Code section as well as the parachute that students fill in their traits, strengths, weaknesses, and other important information. (I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review).

These are just a few books I like to refresh my memory on before coming up with group activities and classroom lesson plans. I like to bring in a lot of different sources because I feel like my middle schoolers look at traditional sources like they are too kiddy. Do you have any good books that would be helpful for me to draw from for counseling inspiration? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great week!
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September 23, 2015

Things I realized today

I take being healthy for granted. I know that because I went to go exercise today and struggled so hard I was actually sad. I've been sick for the last week or so and I'm waiting for some tests to be run to figure out what's going on, but I'm definitely praying for my good health back.

I really am a fat kid at heart. Food is like my favorite thing and not being able to eat like normal this last week has been a struggle. I just want pizza. Give me all the pizza. But not just any pizza, I'm a pizza snob. I only want Jets, Pizza 2000, or Grimaldi's. My mouth might be watering.

Middle Schoolers are strange little characters. I guess I already knew this, but today I just experienced so many things back to back to back that my mind is boggled. My friend at work asked me if it was a full moon because that's strange stuff got.

House phones are creepy. At least mine is. It only rings when I'm home alone and my husband set a ring tone that makes me feel like I'm in a horror movie when I'm going to answer it. Make. It. Stop. This actually happened while I was mid-blog-post, so I just needed someone else to feel my pain.

My love of all things photoshop is growing and growing. I seriously just love making stuff with it. And to combine this with another tidbit from my counseling groups: we always create a logo for each of our groups and get t-shirts printed that they get to earn with their good behavior. The kids love them and I love making them...and sometimes wearing them, when the kids are still ok with being seen wearing the same shirt as me.

Here is one of the logos I made for this year:

I promise I'm coming back with more about my counseling groups soon. They're just wearing me out and giving me grays. I WILL get my momentum back soon! Watch out!

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September 16, 2015

Did you know?

...being a school counselor is one of the most rewarding careers out there.
It is. Just ask me. Most of the time I love my job. Especially the parts when I really get to focus on the kids.

...I've been binge watching Prison Break with Mr. L and although it's very graphic, it's SO GOOD.
Like we'd get mad at each other if either one of us tried to watch ahead without the other.

...running counseling groups is one of my favorite things to do.
I can't wait to start sharing more about what my counseling groups do. For the first two meetings we've been talking about core values and how they contribute to the success of a group. Then I let my kids choose what the core values of our group will be. I suggest confidentiality. My favorite response: "What language is that?".

...I can officially speak to what it's like to be 30 because I've been 30 for a whole 72 hours now.
And let me tell you, the beginning of my 30's has been rough. I've been sick all week! It is so much harder to be sick in SW Florida than Indiana. I feel like when I get a cold it should be chilly outside so I can wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, and be wrapped up in a nest of blankets. But noo... it's too hot. Wah. Wah.

...I taught my first classroom lessons of the year this week and they were so fun.
In the counseling world sometimes we get so wrapped up in dealing with misbehavior and chaos that we run out of time to invest in the kids who don't have those types of issues. I refuse to do that this year. It was nice to get in a classroom full of kids who genuinely want to learn.

...this picture has given me the energy to keep going lately.
Sometimes I tend to get in God's way. And by that I mean I worry myself sick about stuff and don't truly turn things over to Him. A very wise lady I like to call Aunt TT said to me, "Why pray about it if you're not going to give it to the Lord and let him handle it?" Touche Aunt TT. Touche.

And that's all for today. I'm sure I will think of more things you should know at a later date.
Thanks for checking in! I'll be back more often soon, just recuperating from the beginning of school madness a little. (More like trying to catch up on my to do list that has roughly 895 things on it). I can't wait to share our new youtube channel and counselor videos with y'all!

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September 08, 2015


This morning while I was sitting in a dental chair, practically getting my whole face drilled off I had some time to think about random stuff.

I won't even get into all that, but I did want to share a thought I've had more than once in the last few weeks. It's the beginning of the school year and we always have so many new kids. I don't know if it's some epidemic in Southwest Florida or just an East Zone thing, but our kids and their families are NOMADS! They move around so often. I hate it. We're working against so many other things to provide our students with a good education, but right when we finally break down the barriers and build connections with our students, they're gone. It's heartbreaking.

But since we're all focused on positives in the world (or at least we should be) there is a positive that comes with this. When we get new students, we get a brand new chance to make an impact on someone's life. Remember my mission? To spread love to those who may not get it elsewhere.

So that being said, I have one student in particular that I'm thinking about when it comes to getting this brand new chance. We'll call her Sally. I know, generic. But hey her name isn't the point. Anyways, Sally is a new student this year and she was super timid and scared the first few days of school. Sally got assigned to be one of the student office aides and she stopped me in the hallway to ask where to go. I point her in the right direction and move on. Next thing I know I'm being called to the front office because a student was there crying. Little did I know, it was Sally. Sally just moved to Florida and knows very little english. She used what she did know to ask me what direction to go in and I never thought twice about it. She panicked because she was scared to be an office aide.

There wasn't anyone available right that moment to help translate so I could speak with Sally, so I did all I could think of. I gave her a kind smile and a gentle hand on her shoulder. In that moment I realized that spreading love is universal. Sally almost immediately quit crying and I was able to rack my brain and spit out enough random french words to find out she knows french and that I'm super rusty at it. Fast forward to the 3rd week of school (now) and every day I see Sally walk down the hall way. And Every. Single. Day. that child smiles bigger at me than the day before. She also gets a good laugh out of my awful french.

So I got the feels...
I love my job.

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September 01, 2015

Where they do that at?

This is the first installment of where they do that at. (Inspiration from an old friend). I can't imagine that there won't be 100 more of these to come in the future. Ready?

Mother comes in to school in a mini skirt that has lips graphics all over it.

6th grade student (boy) gets angry because kid sitting next to him on the bus thinks boys rule and girls drool (He actually said the kid was sexist. We decided together he wasn't 100% sure what that word meant.)

Student is asked to sit down in the cafeteria. Proceeds to jump up and do the whip and nae nae between the tables. Can't that go away yet?

Student from last year (somehow?!?!?!) finds out my middle name. Now anytime I correct a misbehavior she says "Okay JEAN!!!" and walks away.

Say it with me. Where they do that at????

One more thing. For all the educators out there who pour your hearts into your students and start genuinely caring for them just like they are your own children: today my "school daughter" as I so fondly think of her, finally reported to school after missing the first 6 days and basically being off the grid. Initially she refused to come in, but by the time I got to the front office she had signed in and was actually happy that I was there. (This is coming a LONG way from previous years). My heart smiled today. It hurt for her, but it smiled too because I know she's safe.

Just remember:

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