Friday, March 27, 2015

He Makes All Things Beautiful

I felt a nudge to blog this morning. This story has been on my heart and I love to share things on this blog. The good, the bad, the sad and the happy. All of it.
I woke up today realizing how much my life has changed in the past 6 months. Its truly God showing me that He had a plan. And His whispers to me throughout the day telling me- 'see, it all worked out'.

As Christians, we are always told to Trust. Trusting in God's timing is easier said than done. It's not easy- I can attest to that.
My career as a teacher was not a quick one where you graduate college, and have your dream job. This did not happen. Actually, during that time I thought it would NEVER happen...but I trusted.

I started teaching when I was 20. I was in college, and working part time at First Baptist Church Orlando's Moms Day Out program. This is where I met Julie, the director of the program. I learned so much from her during my time there, and when she went to direct Delaney Street Baptist's Early Learning Center, I quickly followed. I was there for five years, teaching prekindergarten. Oh how i loved that little school. I became friends with a lot of the moms, and we were all so close. I still keep in touch with them to this day.
This school was wonderful to be in, but it was not a place I could survive financially. Actually, I wasn't surviving- I still lived at home and everything was paid for. I prayed that once I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in education, I would get a job at Lake Highland Preparatory School. That was my dream.

I prayed and prayed that I would find a teaching position in a private school. In 2011, I got a voicemail from The First Academy's special needs division, First Hope. I had experience with special needs children and took some classes, but I did not have a degree in this field. I am not sure how I got this job, but knew it was God. 
I cried when I got the offer call, mostly because I didn't want to leave the comfort of my little school. But I knew it was necessary. I met so many great people at this school. People who I didn't realize at the time would be in my life now in a very important way. That was God working.

I stayed at First Hope for only two years. I was also working on my masters degree at this time. It was tough, and I hung in there the best way I knew how. I knew that again I had to trust. It became so hard on me that I needed a way out.
I called a former coworker who was working at a small Christian school and I immediately got a job as a prekindergarten teacher. I was thankful for this, but in a way I felt like I was going backwards. I didn't want to be a pre-k teacher, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher in a school where I have great benefits and made enough salary to survive. Again, God said no. This was His plan at this time. 
I took the job with a happy heart. It felt nice to teach pre-k again in a typical classroom environment. I then taught Kindergarten the following year at the same school. It was ok, but I knew deep down this was not where I was supposed to be. I also graduated with my masters degree during this time.

I talked to one of my co-workers from First Hope about my plans. She was our occupational therapist who worked with our students one on one. She and I became close while working at the school- mostly because we needed someone to lean on. It was tough. She told me that I should look into getting my certification through the state to become a pediatric developmental specialist. I looked into it, and was overwhelmed with the to-do list. I started this list in spring of 2013. I knew something was going to come of this, I just didn't know when. There was too much to do to prepare for certification. 

I prayed- I prayed all the time, even in the middle of the day on the playground while my kindergarten students were running around playing. 'God, send me a sign. Tell me what to do'.
He answered. He answered with- you need to tell the school you might not be coming back. 
I didn't even have a job lined up! You are telling me to tell them I am not coming back, and I have no place to go?! Well, I told them. I may not be coming back. The last day of school, I was told that my contract was not going to be continued. They knew I wasn't coming back and did not want to wait on an answer. I was sad, and scared. What was I going to do? I was terrified. 
I went to Amelia Island June of last year right after this happened. It was a week long vacation that I needed for sure. I felt a sense of peace. God was speaking to me. I had no job, no income. But felt peace. I had 2 months of working at my mom's summer camp at her school for not even half of what I made at my teaching job. I was not surviving. And I kept praying. 
I planned on getting my certification for therapy approved by late summer, and I called daily to check the status. This was my only hope. Therapists do very well. And I was excited at the possibilities. 

I kept calling all summer. Setbacks after setbacks with the paperwork. I was getting so discouraged. In late July, I got a call. It was from The Christ School. After I listened to the voicemail, I sat in my car and cried. I was overwhelmed with God's perfect timing. I called back. After many interviews, I got the job 2 weeks later. 
Full time benefits, vacation time, and a wonderful school. It was all I have been praying for. God answered, but He wasn't finished. 

My paperwork with the state finally was approved. It was approved after I settled into my new school environment. God knew exactly what He was doing. He knew what was best for me. 

As I sit here and type this, I am joyful. I am in awe of how all this worked out. I have a wonderful kindergarten class in a school that I adore. I have seven therapy clients and the number is rising. I am able to support myself financially, I am able to help my grandmother with her needs, I am able to help children with their disabilities. I am able to teach in a Christian environment. 

Thank you God for all these things. Your timing is perfect.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Best Yes

I am not a New Year' resolution person, but if I do make a "resolution" it's usually a goal or something very reasonable to accomplish. 
This year, I decided that I need to read more books. I have books, love to go to book stores and browse and browse, but I never really read much. Unless you count life and style, US Weekly or People Magazine, I have not been very good about reading. 

While browsing Facebook one morning, I came across a blog that I love to follow, and saw some recommendations for books. It was all in perfect timing! Courtney is one of the moms in my class, and author of In this House We Will Giggle. I just love her giving and gracious heart! 
I looked over her book list and drove to Barnes and Noble to see which one I wanted to purchase for my first read of 2015. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst was the winner. Something about the cover got me, and off I went with my new book in hand. 

I am just about finished with this eye opening book. It teaches us how to say no when our life is already full of obligations. It teaches us to give our Best Yes to the person or situation that needs us most, without expecting anything in return. Two chapters that really stood out for me:

"But what if I say no and they stop liking me?"

"A Best Yes is seen by those who choose to see"

I know I have had issues with these situations, just as most women have. I want to please, and I want everyone to like me. But you cannot please everyone, and not everyone is not going to like you. You have to accept that. 

After reading till almost the end of this book, and realizing that I have to give my Best Yes when I already have a full schedule of teaching, tutoring and soon to be taking  on another job of providing early intervention therapy, my plate is full! I get a text...

"Would you be interested in being one of our volunteers for Whipping Childhood Cancer?". Before I give you details of this, I want to backtrack and explain what this organization is. 
My friend began this organization with another mom who has a child with cancer. This was formed to help spread the word about pediatric cancers and raise awareness of the reality these children and families face daily. My friend Candice has a child who is battling leukemia. 

Now, I am reading about the Best Yes right when I received this text. The book talks about God putting things right in front of you when a Best Yes answer is needed. I believe this was one of those moments. A few of my favorite reminders from this book are:

Today's decisions will become tomorrow's circumstances

Saying no isn't an unnecessary rejection. It's a necessary protection of our Best Yes answers

The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul. 

And I replied to my friend...Yes! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Salt Tasting

This afternoon I enjoyed learning about all the salts that the Salt Boutique has to offer! Each day they have a tasting where you can try out the different salts from all around the world. The chef here at Salt restaurant makes these salts with infused flavors that you would never think to add to a salt!

This one below is a smoky salt, it was my least favorite. But it seems to be a favorite around here from everyone we meet!

While tasting the salts, you put them on bread with a little butter. This is how you get the full effect of the flavor. 

Some interesting ones were Bamboo Leaf and Cherry Plum salts!

The shop also has some wonderful salt cellars that are ocean inspired, along with Himalayan salt blocks that you cook on and lamps that clear the air of toxins.
Himalayan salt has huge health benefits. 

I am definitely going back tomorrow to choose my favorite salt to take home, I still cannot decide! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pool Day at the Ritz!

Today was a pool day! The pool here is lined with tons of Palm trees and is so pretty. I am also glad that the sun came out today!

I took a walk out to the beach and crossed over the dunes and saw this little fellow...

At the pool, there is an oceanfront grill. They serve you right at your pool lounge chair- that's my kind of service! 
For lunch I had a Taco Salad.

This afternoon I also got to check into the Ritz Spa. I am grateful to Suzanne for this lovely addition to my stay! Thank you :)
Today I soaked in the steamed whirlpool and relaxed with cucumbers on my eyes!

Tomorrow I am going to spend more time at the spa and use their beautiful pool area.  I'll be blogging more about the Spa tomorrow!

Sunday, June 1, 2014


This afternoon my grandma and I arrived in Amelia Island. The drive was not so fun as it poured almost the whole way here!

This island is beautiful once you get to it, it is off the Florida east coast right before you hit the Georgia line. The actual island is such a quaint little place, lined with trees and beautiful homes. Sitting right on the ocean is The Ritz Carlton, where we will spend the rest of the week.

The hotel is sophisticated southern charm, that's the best way to explain it! Wooden oak, dark furniture, china cabinets and beautiful gift shops fill the lobby. 

Tonight we had reservations for their fine dining restaurant, Salt.
It was absolutely perfect! It's a true experience, as they give you nicely presented courses and little "gifts from the chef".

You begin with different types of breads that you are supposed to experiment with different Salts. Each salt is from a different region and they taste wonderful! Also very healthy for you!

The black one there in the middle is from Hawaii and is a charcoal salt that aids digestion. It was my favorite! 

Next they brought out a "gift" of Salmon Tartar. Yes, I ate it. Quickly but surely :

For my appetizer, I chose heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella.

My entree was seabass with pepper jelly and vegetable succotash with pesto.

We were recommended to try the banana foster soufflé. Yum! It had white chocolate gelato on the side.

They give you a lot of "gifts" here, they packaged up some of the salts we tried along with macaroons and painted truffles.

This was truly a beautiful, wonderful restaurant! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thankful For Clean Eating Chefs!

I have to thank Stephanie for sending me info about the personal chef I am about to blog about. If it weren't for you I would have never found her! Thank you Stephanie :)

Last week I got a message from a friend who knows a personal chef that delivers wonderful clean meals. I was so eager to learn more! Her business is called Collette's Clean Eats. She is a culinary school graduate and has been a personal chef in celebrity homes. I know when I used to nanny for one family, I LOVED their chef and the food! I can still taste some of those meals!

I contacted her and got more information on how it all works.
Each Wednesday she emails out the menu for the following week's meals. These meals consist of soups, salads, and entrees. You choose what you want from the menu, and then she delivers your prepared entrees on Mondays. Each item is priced separately and the entrees are for one person.

Today she delivered he following delicious meals to my home:
GF-Gluten Free  V-Vegetarian

Quinoa Salad- Quinoa, Tomatoes, Corn, Green Beans, and Zucchini with a Green Goddess Dressing (GF,V)

Tomato and Basil Soup- Organic Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Onions, Garlic, House-made Vegetable Stock, Milk (GF,V)

Eggplant Parmesan- Local Organic Eggplant baked with seasoned bread crumbs. mozzarella, and house-made marinara 

Cucumber and Kimchi Noodle Bowl- Soba Noodles, Tamari, Raw Honey, Green Cabbage, Cucumbers, All Natural Kimchi Toasted Peanuts

Each entree comes with "a little something sweet" that consists of a one or two bite healthy dessert. This week's "something sweet" is Orange Coconut cookies! 

Tonight I had the Noodle Bowl and it was delicious! I cannot wait to try my other meals and I will definitely enjoy my new chef each week :) 
Check her out on Facebook, Collette's Clean Eats, and her website is

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vegetable Frittata

I am on day four of sugar free, clean eating! A few nights ago I made a recipe from my Clean Eats book that I would like to share. This recipe is a Vegetable Frittata and is basically a quiche with no crust.
I added organic eggs, kale, spinach, onion, green pepper, and zucchini with some spices. It was so good! You can serve this warm or at room temp. I think next time, I will let it sit for at least 20 minutes in order for it to form a more firm texture.

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On the side, I made yukon mini sauteed potatoes. I found these at Whole Foods and they are usually in store seasonally. Cut in half, boil potatoes, and then saute' with with onion, garlic, salt and pepper :)

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I am down almost 3lbs as of today. I have gotten through the sugar withdrawals, feeling less hungry and do not feel the need to snack more than twice a day. It amazes me what sugar does to your system!