New Word- New Year 2015!

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I was talking with my mom and sister about what words we would be choosing this year and reflection on our words for the previous year. I think it's funny how we just now started our word tradition. But just as I was thinking that, I realized that if I thought about previous years it would be easy for me to reflect on the year and give them each a word that went with them! So before I reveal how I did with my 2014 word, here's my words so far!

2011: Transition
2012: Resilience 
2013: Adventure
2014: Peace

Peace was an easy word for me because many conversations and moments this year have lead to the feeling of peace from within. I have taken action in engaging in courageous conversations, as well as standing up for myself. Both of these actions are extremely important for my growth at this moment in time. I realized this year that to be a peace-filled person I must know peace and work toward it in every aspect of my life. I would say that 2014 was a pretty peaceful year and that it was the perfect word for how the year played out. 

Drum-roll please...the word for 2015 will be intentional

Intentional:  done by intention or design :  intended <intentionaldamage>

This word was a huge buzz word with my team when we went to Guatemala this past year. From that I realized that I need to work on this in pretty much all areas of my little world. I want to be intentional when speaking with people, not being distracted by my phone or other things/people. I want to be intentional when I am working, focusing on completing whatever task is at hand. I also want to be intentional when I'm relaxing. This will be a crazy year and I think that I really need to be cognizant of giving myself time to relax. I want to be intentional with relationships and keeping communication that goes beyond texting. 

I have given myself a couple guidelines that will help with this move toward being intentional. 

1. Take all Apps off your phone; only use your phone for text, phone call, alarm clock and GPS (and calculator because you suck at math)

2. Less multi-tasking

3. Don't check social media in the morning

4. Allow 1-2 hours of non-work/homework each evening (can be during nighttime routine) 

5. Call more, text less 

Cheers to 2015, let's make it a great one! 


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2014 has been an exciting year. From weddings, guests, Guatemala, moving and transitioning into my senior year I feel extremely blessed to live the life that I do. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone, expanded my thinking and relied on God more than I ever have before. It's been a year of bad health for my family but I know that 2015 has to be better! With trial and tribulation there is a great amount of grace. I am ready to see what 2015 has in store because it absolutely has big shoes to fill! Duces 2014!

Book Review: The Alchemist

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The Alchemist was an interesting story as I read the graphic novel version. It was pretty neat to have the visual of the story while I was reading it, the story actually took half the time (I think) since graphic novels are easy reads. It was a good idea to read it in the graphic novel because it was a heavy theme to take in.

The novel discusses Santiago, the main character, a shepherd to find treasure in the pyramids across the desert. Santiago learns about personal legends and how he must achieve his personal legend. This main theme of the book of achieving your personal legend hits home as the book claims that once you know your personal legend and attempt to work towards achieving it, the personal legend will turn into something even greater such as gold.

There were many scenes and quotations that stuck out to me but the following two were the most applicable.

"Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World , and it will one day return there."

Often I think it's really easy for me to focus on thinking too much into decisions and not going with what my heart is telling me. It's easy to seek other's opinions when at the end of the day I should know what's best for me. Like Coelho discusses in this novel, listening to your heart is important because essentially it comes from the person who made us, Soul of the World (in my terms, God). He implants certain passions, ideas, thoughts and intuitions to confirm your own feelings.

"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things," he said to himself. "His way isn't the same way as mine, nor mine as his. But we're both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that."

Everyone has their own passions, goals and thoughts, it is important to allow others to be every ounce of who they are. This is a major life lesson that I have learned in college. I grew up with very like-minded people so when I came to college I was surprised with the diverse thinking, background and perspectives. I have learned and am still coming to terms with the idea that everyone has their own opinion and that has to be ok. this was a huge ah-ha moment for me while reading.

Best of Luck for 22 Years

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In continuation for my birthday Random Acts of Kindness, I decided to go with my roommie and friend, Melissa, to wish Orlando "good luck". I got 22 different scratch off cards and attached them to a little card wishing them best of luck. We hid them all around Target, gas stations and Publix! I so enjoy doing these #RAOK on my birthdays, it allows me to celebrate with 22 other strangers around Orlando! 

It's Not Good-bye

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I believe that the hardest part of working in the field of education is having to say good-bye. Whether that's saying good-bye to students at the end of the year or students leaving in the middle of a semester. For me, I had to say good-bye to all of my students at the end of this semester as it's time for Ms. Allen to get a new classroom of students. This was not a fun thing to do as I have truly become attached to each and every one of my sweeties. I knew the day was coming and I wanted to not address it with the children. But, my teacher reminded me that it's important to have a good-bye ritual, explaining to the children in a non-emotional way that my time is coming to an end for a specific reason. I had this conversation with my students and of course we did a good-bye hug ritual when my final day came. I teared up a little bit and one of my students asked me why I was crying. I told him that it was because I was sad to leave such a loving class of students and he squeezed me tightly claiming that his classroom would not be the same without me.

As I walked out of my school for the last time of the semester I realized how much feeling accepted meant to me at the beginning but that didn't matter to me anymore. What mattered was that engaging learning was taking place. I wanted my students to walk away from me having learned something new. Whether my students loved me or not was not my top priority, although I hope they did. I sat in my car crying (why is this becoming such a habit?!) because of how beautiful it was to be in a classroom where learning was fun, engaging, and wanted. Each and every one of my students yearned to learn, they wanted to learn new topics and got SO excited when they finally nailed a new topic. This is the reason I teach. I teach to help my students learn new concepts to help them be better, kinder and smarter little human beings. All the while sometimes I feel like I learn more from them.

So, room 209 it's not good-bye, it's see ya later alligators! Thank you for teaching me, loving me and showing me kindness all semester long....always remember, Ms. Allen believes in you.

Food for Thought

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I learned another hard but important lesson this semester… something that I am still working on. My lovely advisor told me her momma always told her, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. This is something that is very difficult for me to remember because I tend to wear all my emotions and thoughts on my face and in my words, having no filter. This is not a very welcoming personality trait. I am working diligently on it but it is still a challenge, on a daily basis. I am reminded that people don't remember what you say but how you make them feel. Working toward a "people first" mentality. 

Going to the Chapel

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My amazing older sister got married to her loving husband, Ryan. Our family is blessed for our newest addition and I could not be happier for this sweet couple. I was my sister's Maid of Honor and thought I would post my MOH speech to truly explain my love for my sister and her hubby!

Maid of Honor Speech:

"For those of you who don't know me, my name is Kayla and I am the sister of the bride. I am incredibly delighted that today has finally come! You see, today turned out so perfectly because my sister and I have been planning our weddings since we were four years old. So even though my mom and dad spent months putting this together, we were really the brains behind it. Only kidding ;)

But, truly, I have been given the most amazing life to be able to grow up with my best friend. I can recall so many nights that we would lay in bed and talk about our futures, who we would marry and what our life would be and how our weddings would play out.

But, out of all the topics over the years to talk about, our favorite thing to talk about was BOYS, of course! We have written down exactly who we wanted to marry, what they looked like, where they would work, what type of shoes they would wear and what they would be passionate about. I am pretty sure that my husband always turned out to be Aaron Carter while Katelyn's was Justin Timberlake. turned out pretty good for Katelyn because she didn't get Justin. She got someone even better. Justin may sing better and have all the lovely boy band swag that Ryan doesn't have but that's about it.

Ryan is more than we could create in our little five year old minds. Ryan truly brings out the absolute best version of my sister. She already has a beautiful soul to start with but Ryan makes that soul shine so brightly. When he started to come around I wondered if he was the one. Then, I realized three huge moments that gave the sister stamp of approval.

1. The guy is funny. He makes Katelyn funny and together they are quite the pair. Always laughing and never taking life too seriously. Ryan and Katelyn know how to enjoy the wonderful ride of life with such laughter and silliness. Sooooo yep, there's the first check.

2. He fits perfectly with my family. Not only could he sit and talk for hours with our aunts and uncles but he will turn right around and play with the cousins or help grandma clean-up the kitchen or play poker with the guys. And from the moment he came into our family's life, he has always treated my brother and me like we were his own siblings. So , there is the second check, the family loves you- you are almost there.

And then here came the moment I knew. The third and most important check of approval. Ryan loves my sister more than anyone I have ever met. The gentleness and kindness that he has when interacting with my sister is so beautiful. This type of love is rare and magical. Magical enough for a fairy tale. A fairy tale that my sister so greatly deserves!

So, even though you aren't an NSYNC boy band singer, you truly are my sister's soul mate and prince charming and there is no way that my sister's heart was prepared to meet you because you truly knocked her off her heals into your heart with such grace. I am fully confident that my best friend is blessed to have a new life long best friend beginning today.

Thank you for allowing me to help write your love story by standing right next to you since we were three.

I would love to toast to the beautiful happily ever after that you two will continue to write, to all nieces and nephews that you will give me and to celebrating this beautiful day together!

To the beautiful Bride and Groom!"