Writing Prompt #55: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 17)

Week #17: Something You Take For Granted.

The first thing that came to my mind is my health. I’m incredibly grateful that I am relatively healthy. I see my doctor every year; I go to the dentist twice a year. I don’t have any chronic conditions, with the exception of my generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The last time I was truly sick was back in February, when I was diagnosed with the flu and a sinus infection simultaneously. Luckily, I was given Tamiflu and an antibiotic, and I was basically back to normal in four days. It was incredible.

I try really hard to stay healthy. Al and I work out at the local gym nearly five days a week – We get up at 4:15 a.m. I’m currently walking the treadmill for 30-45 minutes, but I want to get back to weight training soon.

My new FitBit that Al got me for Christmas has been very helpful in holding me accountable – I try for at least 5,000 steps per day, if not more. I also log my water intake – My goal is 75 ounces per day. It feels really good to surpass those goals!

Eating healthy/healthier has been the biggest challenge – I’m constantly looking for better, easier recipes! I’ve tried really hard to limit how junk food I eat, but that’s not easy with my stress levels sometimes! We’re trying to eat more salads at dinner, and eating out less frequently. I want to keep up the routine of meal planning and prepping on Sundays – It makes the rest of the week a lot smoother.

If you have any tried-and-true recipes that you love, I would love to hear them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #54: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 16)

Week #16: Simple Things In Life.

There’s too many to list!

A few of my favorites:

  • Having a cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Forehead kisses.
  • A long hug after a long day of work/school/meetings.
  • Seeing the beautiful roses right outside my house.
  • Having a car that I can drive almost anywhere, any time.
  • Reading almost every night before going to sleep.
  • Experimenting with essential oils – Lemongrass is the current favorite (for the diffuser in the living room and the wool dryer balls).
  • Singing along in the car.
  • Getting together with friends for monthly dinners, and game nights!
  • Discovering new podcasts.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #53: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 15)

Week #15: Things You Like About Spring.

I love the warmer weather. I’m grateful that the daylight sticks around longer, and I don’t have to drive home from work in the dark!

I’ve always loved nature. In the spring, the trees and flowers come back to life! It’s a beautiful sight.

Spring brings back memories for me, too. I think of the spring breaks I had from school. As a kid, I spent most of them in Florida with my family. My dad’s parents took the whole family on a Princess Cruise during spring break and Easter when I was nine!

In college, spring was when the semester started to wind down. It usually snowed right before spring break, but then the temperatures rose into the 70s, sometimes the 80s. A lot of the girls broke out their bikinis and started tanning on the lawns. I’m not a huge fan of hotter weather, but feeling a cool breeze as I left The Rotunda office or the library at night was amazing!

Easter is one of my favorite church celebrations. The sanctuary is adorned with gorgeous flowers, the hymns are beautiful, and butterflies are released after the service to signify Jesus coming back to life.

It’s a time of more sunshine, warmth, transition, and feeling happier!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #52: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 14)

Week #14: A Talent You Have.

I’m grateful for being able to write well, as well as edit. I loved being the Copy Editor of Longwood’s newspaper, The Rotunda, for nearly two full years.

Now, I’m the “resident proofreader” at my work, and I love being able to help when called upon. It helps keep my skills sharp!

In addition, I’ve helped edit a children’s book, several resumes, and one dissertation.

I’m grateful that I’m able to share my talents with others!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #66: April Goals

Welcome to April! It’s hard to believe we’re already in month #4 of 2017!

Here are my goals for April:

  1. Complete my Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam Prep class.
  2. Take, and pass, my CPC exam (a.k.a., boards).
  3. Buy my desk!
  4. Tackle the garage, once and for all.
  5. Finalize plans for our second wedding anniversary getaway!
  6. Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation!
  7. Celebrate birthdays!
  8. Start designing my custom shelving system for my American Girl dolls.
  9. Read at least three new books.

Here’s the breakdown:

Complete my Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam Prep class.

  • I only have two classes left!

Take, and pass, my CPC exam (a.k.a., boards).

  • I take the exam one week from today!

Buy my desk!

  • Thanks to Wayfair.com, I’ve finally figured out what I want. Once I pay my credit card bills this month, this is one of the first things I’m buying!

Tackle the garage, once and for all.

  • We want to empty the garage, finally. We want to find places for everything!

Finalize plans for our second wedding anniversary getaway!

  • We have a good idea of where we want to go and what we want to do, but we want to call Jody at AAA. She helped us plan our honeymoon, so we want her input!

Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation!

  • I’m going to call the academic advising department next week to make an appointment!

Celebrate birthdays!

  • My dad’s birthday is on Monday!
  • Our friend Michaela Leigh’s birthday is also on Monday, so we’re seeing Beauty and the Beast tonight with my parents, her mom, and we get to meet Michaela’s boyfriend, Chris, for the first time!
  • My Uncle Richard’s birthday is next week, so I definitely want to call him and catch up.

Start designing my custom shelving system for my American Girl dolls.

  • My dad’s offered to help me!
  • He found some nice quality birch wood at Lowe’s recently.
  • I want to make the measurements soon, and then go pick it out.
  • I’m so excited!

Read at least three new books.

  • I’m six chapters into my latest book!
  • But, I also want to visit the library at least once this month to pick out a totally new book.
  • Look for these Book Reviews soon!

Do you have any goals for the month of April?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #65: March Goals Recap

what-can-be

Image Credit: Live, Love, Simple.

March flew by so fast, it almost made my head spin!

Here’s the link to my March Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Complete my Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam Prep class. – Semi-Achieved.
  2. Take, and pass, my CPC exam (a.k.a., boards). – Did not accomplish.
  3. Be a volunteer for the 2017 District Orchestra Assessment at my alma mater. – Accomplished!
  4. Write at least 1,000 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. – Semi-Achieved.
  5. See Kong: Skull Island. – Accomplished!
  6. Positively geek out over Beauty and the Beast. – Accomplished!
  7. See Power Rangers. – Accomplished!
  8. Finally implement my receipt organization system. – Semi-Achieved.
  9. Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation! – Semi-Achieved.
  10. Celebrate birthdays! – Accomplished!
  11. Move at least my American Girl dolls from Mom and Dad’s to our house. – Did not accomplish.
  12. Make progress with emptying / organizing the garage. – Did not accomplish.

Here’s the breakdown:

Complete my Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam Prep class. – Semi-Achieved.

  • I’ve learned a lot in this class! It’s been a really good experience.
  • Due to some class members not signing up for their required membership in a timely manner, the test had to be rescheduled from March 25th to April 8th (Argh!).
  • The good news – The class was extended for two more weeks, so I have class sessions through the first week in April.

Take, and pass, my CPC exam (a.k.a., boards). – Did not accomplish.

  • I only put this because the test hasn’t happened yet!
  • Say a prayer, send good vibes, wish luck for me on April 8th!

Be a volunteer for the 2017 District Orchestra Assessment at my alma mater. – Accomplished!

  • I had so much fun on this Saturday – I want to volunteer again next year!
  • I absolutely crushed my FitBit goal that day – I logged 11,000 steps!
  • It was great seeing some familiar faces – Students, teachers, and some parents, too.

Write at least 1,000 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. – Semi-Achieved.

  • I wrote approximately 100 new words!
  • I feel great with those 100 words. I’m planning to set similar goals from here on out. It’s a good motivator!

See Kong: Skull Island. – Accomplished!

  • We went out with our friends Mike, Shana, and Austin. Austin was home from college on spring break, so it was great to see him.
  • It was a really good movie – It’s a true adventure / survivalist film!
  • There were a few moments where I had to close my eyes, but mainly because I’m a visual person and didn’t want to have nightmares!

Positively geek out over Beauty and the Beast. – Accomplished!

  • I proudly wore my “Beauty is found within” shirt!
  • We went to see it with Kathryn, Christine, and John at Paragon in Newport News.
  • I thought it was going to be a shot-for-shot remake of the 1991 animated film, but I was pleasantly surprised with what they did.
  • Emma Watson was an awesome Belle, but the cast as a whole was great!
  • We’re seeing it again this weekend at the Commodore Theatre to celebrate Michaela Leigh’s birthday!

See Power Rangers. – Accomplished!

  • Al and I saw this last weekend, just the two of us.
  • It’s a nostalgia trip, updated for 2017!
  • If you have memories of the TV show, I recommend seeing it. It’s a fun ride!

Finally implement my receipt organization system. – Semi-Achieved.

  • I labeled all my envelopes. I need to get a bulletin board now.
  • Stack of receipts – Vanish!

Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation! – Semi-Achieved.

  • I took a Friday off of work to go out to the Virginia Beach campus. I knew it was spring break, but the college was scheduled to be open.
  • I got to the Student Center right after 9:00 a.m., and there was only one person working on the Academic Advising floor. That wasn’t a good sign.
  • I asked, and she said that all the Academic Advisers were in training! Noooooo. Major bummer!
  • Small consolation – I discovered, after I left, that I didn’t have my transcripts folder. So, I’m getting better organized now and planning a return trip for a Thursday or Friday in April! And, I’m definitely calling ahead to make an appointment!
  • The day was not lost – I went shopping at the local Goodwill, met Al and two of his coworkers for a delicious Mongolian BBQ lunch, and enjoyed return trips to Barnes & Noble and LUSH at MacArthur Mall!

Celebrate birthdays! – Accomplished!

  • Al’s mom had a good birthday – She’s almost fully recovered from her knee surgery. We’re hoping to go see them in either April or May.
  • The birthday shindig at my parents’ house on the first Friday was fun, although I didn’t feel well through most of it. We were there until 10:30 p.m.!

Move at least my American Girl dolls from Mom and Dad’s to our house. – Did not accomplish.

  • Every weekend was basically booked solid!
  • I’m going to take a few days off work in April, so I’m hoping this will happen on a weekday soon.

Make progress with emptying / organizing the garage. – Did not accomplish.

  • We did everything else with the house this month – Moved some furniture, cleaned out some clutter, did a deep clean, and a few more odds and ends.
  • The garage is on our list for April – Starting this weekend. Al’s tired of it, too.

Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to five out of 12 goals. Woohoo!
  • The four goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with them. A few were completely out of my control, but I’m happy that I made progress!
  • The three goals that I didn’t accomplish: This was far better than a month ago! Wow. I’m very pleased with myself!

Did you have any goals for March?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for April!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #51: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 13)

Week #13: A Challenge You’ve Overcome.

Wow, where to start?

Some of you know that I was born at 25 weeks, so I had to fight for my life at the very start!


But, thinking about this post over the past week, one of the biggest challenges for me was deciding to leave my friends and school district to pursue something completely different.

When I was in eighth grade, a new magnet program had just started in one of Chesapeake’s high schools called International Baccalaureate (IB). It wasn’t new to the Hampton Roads area at the time, but it was fresh and brand-new for the City of Chesapeake and Chesapeake Public Schools.

Several of the freshmen came to my middle school to give us an overview of the program and how we could apply. After much consideration and discussion with my parents (and a good bit of prayer), I decided to apply.

I still remember how nervous I was. I even left my purse and house keys at Oscar Smith on the day of my interview and test! (Luckily, I got them back with nothing missing!)

After what seemed like waiting forever, the guidance counselor pulled me out of orchestra to tell me I had been accepted. At that moment, I felt pure joy. I was excited for something new!

However, once I started telling my friends, my joy and excitement started to erode. I was leaving them behind at Western Branch, according to them.


Going in, I knew this program was going to be challenging. I knew I was going to be taking college-level courses throughout my four years of high school. The summer assignments were enough to make me croak! I started questioning my decision, but I knew I needed to try it first.

I was the only student from the Western Branch district that first year; I was alone. Several people at church teased me incessantly – They said I was a “traitor” for leaving, especially since Oscar Smith’s football team consistently beat the snot out of Western Branch’s!

For the first six months of freshman year, I cried almost every day. I wanted to go back to Western Branch; I wanted to be with my friends again. My grades tanked! It was a struggle. Math sucked even more. Spanish was a nightmare! Even orchestra was harder!

Making friends at Oscar Smith was hard, but keeping friends at church and Western Branch was harder. I wanted to try out for the school softball team, but ended up not because I realized I couldn’t juggle IB, orchestra, and softball. It wasn’t possible.


Fortunately, once I adjusted (along with the other 49 kids in my class), it started to get better. After Christmas, my grades started to improve. My brain just needed time to adjust to the increased workload, managing the higher-level concepts, and being in a completely different environment. It got easier during sophomore year. It got harder in junior year, when we transitioned to full IB, with our assessments, Extended Essay, and preparing for our exams. We were all nervous wrecks for half of senior year as we prepared and took our exams, but we were done by the end of May. We were able to relax and enjoy the last few weeks before graduation.

The teachers were amazing, in my opinion. They were experts in their fields, but they were also willing to bend over backwards to help anyone with anything. The IB coordinators, Mrs. Ingersoll, and later Mrs. Lancaster (who’s still the coordinator today), were counselors, shoulders to cry on, and a support system. I think of Mrs. Lancaster (Biology, now the IB Coordinator), Mrs. Cofield (European and U.S. History), Mr. Degnan (English – Now one of the high school’s assistant principals), Mrs. Zwemer (Geometry, Math Studies – May she rest in peace), and Mr. Allen (20th Century History) often, to name a few.


This year marks 10 years since high school graduation. Although I clearly remember the struggles, the griping, the crying, the frustration (I still don’t fully understand the Federalist Papers, hardly anything with Algebra II, or why the Visual Arts teacher was so harsh with certain levels of interpretation), I also remember that I accomplished something – I earned my IB Diploma. I earned college credit. I went into Longwood with a much better understanding of most freshman college courses (with the exception of math – I still got a C in Honors Statistics!).

Because of IB, I was able to go on a 17-day trip to Europe (England, France, and Spain) in the summer of 2005. What an experience! Because of that trip. I decided to take a class at Longwood that took me back to France for a week in 2008, being able to further appreciate the museums of Paris and everything that the City of Lights offers.

I learned so much in four years. All because I took a chance on a new program, and I decided to stick with it, even when I thought I was going to fail everything.

Now, I’m proud to say that a current IB freshman is from my church. Many students from Western Branch have gone through the IB program in the last 10 years – Liz, Jeremy, Alyssa, Steven, Lindsey, and more.

IB was a great challenge for me, but one of the most rewarding in my entire life. I hope it’s still around when my future children are ready to go to high school!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂