Writing Prompt #63: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 25)

Week #25: Education.

I’m incredibly grateful for the education that I have received. I was so fortunate that my parents picked an excellent school district when we moved to Chesapeake. Overall, I had really good experiences throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I think fondly of many teachers that I had over the years!

After high school graduation, I was one of the very few that didn’t have to take out any loans to be able to earn my college degree. I don’t say this to brag, not at all – I say this out of incredible gratitude to my parents, who worked so hard to help me get a great education from Longwood. I have multiple family members, co-workers, and countless friends that have student loan debt. That makes me sad! It also makes me angry. Higher education has changed so much, and it’s even changed in the six years since I graduated.

Now, I’m grateful that I have a job that offers educational assistance to its employees! I have used it for several semesters, and it has been a significant benefit. I’m almost done with my Paralegal Studies degree after nearly five years.

I can’t say enough good things about the quality of the education that I have had over the years. With that said, I’m inspired by countless others and their stories.

  • The ones that have worked multiple jobs plus loans to pay for their education themselves
  • The ones that raise or have raised children while working full-time and attending classes
  • The ones that work tirelessly for years to educate themselves in the field that they are passionate about.
  • The ones that go for the Ph.D.
  • The ones that simply have a high school diploma and are just amazing husbands/wives, mothers/fathers, hard workers, volunteers, and so much more than their educational experiences.

My hat goes off to you all!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #62: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 24)

Week #24: A Book You Learned From.

I wasn’t a big science fiction fan for a long time, but one book helped change my view.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

I wasn’t thrilled when it was assigned summer reading when I was getting ready to start the IB program in 2003.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading it. The story was so intriguing, that I didn’t want to stop.

As I delved into the world of Ender, Valentine, his family, and the intricate / complicated world of Battle School and Command School, I learned several things. I learned to better appreciate the genre of science fiction, but I also identified with several of the characters. I saw parts of myself in Ender, Valentine, Rackham, and Colonel Graff. Thinking about it now, some of the wars and political themes aren’t so far off from our real world at the moment. I think this book also helped me become a better writer, and to be more considerate of other genres.

I learned later that there are other books with Ender. Eventually, I want to read them all.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #61: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 23)

Week #23: Favorite Physical Trait.

I love my eyes. They’re one of traits from my dad. Most people can tell that I look a lot like my mom (We have the same face shape, and our voices are very similar), so I love the traits from my dad slightly more. I have his hair, eyes, and skin.

I love that my eyes are hazel. I think it makes me unique! Green is also one of my favorite colors, so I’m happy that I have eyes that reflects that part of me.

I can’t say much more than that. Come back next Wednesday for more!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #71: June Goals

June Goals

Image Credit: jenny collier blog

Welcome to June! We’re basically halfway through 2017 – Already! Time is flying by.


Here are my goals for the month of June:

  1. Celebrate our 100th blood drive!
  2. Refresh/update my summer wardrobe.
  3. See Wonder Woman!
  4. Celebrate Nick and Savy’s engagement/upcoming wedding!
  5. Attend the 10-year high school reunion with my IB classmates.
  6. Celebrate Mom’s retirement!
  7. Buy bikes!
  8. Visit the library at least once.
  9. Work to write between three-four Book Reviews.

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate our 100th blood drive!

  • It’s TOMORROW. Wow!
  • This should be relatively easy: Successfully donate, and then party!

Refresh/update my summer wardrobe.

  • I need to go through all my clothes this month – Put away all the fall/winter items still in my closet, sort out the ones that need to be donated, and make sure the rest isn’t hiding in suitcases!
  • I definitely need a few more pairs of shorts that actually fit!

See Wonder Woman!

  • I’m so excited to see this!

Celebrate Nick and Savy’s engagement/upcoming wedding!

  • Their fun and creative “Stock The Bar” party is this weekend!
  • They always put on a great party – Tons of food, loads of friends, and usually shenanigans and live music!

Attend the 10-year high school reunion with my IB classmates.

  • Scheduled for later this month, I’m excited to get together with several of my IB classmates and their spouses/significant others.
  • Lots of us have kept up through Facebook over the years, but it’s really cool that we’re all gathering together in-person!
  • Fun fact: The restaurant we’re going to was the same place where Al and I had our first date!

Celebrate Mom’s retirement!

  • Mom’s cleaning out her classroom, for good.
  • We’re excited to celebrate her long career as an ESL teacher!

Buy bikes!

  • This has been on our list every since we bought our house.
  • Luckily, there’s a bike shop just a few miles from us.
  • We took a trip there a month or so ago, so we want to go back and actually buy!
  • We’re excited to live in a neighborhood where we see families walk, run, skate, and ride their bikes and scooters.

Visit the library at least once.

  • My ultimate goal is to do this at least once a month going forward, but I need to remind myself!
  • Since the library near my house has limited hours, the best time for me to go is on Saturdays.

Work to write between three-four Book Reviews.

  • I have one review in the pipeline, and I’m almost done with another book!
  • I have a good feeling that I can power through at least one more book, maybe even two!

Do you have any goals for the month of June?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #70: May Goals Recap

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Image Credit: My Be AH Vida

It’s hard to believe that today closes out month #5 of 2017. The month of May was very exciting – One of the busiest months yet!

Here’s the link to my May Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Celebrate Melissa’s graduation from William & Mary! – Accomplished!
  2. Attend Tidewater Comicon. – Did not accomplish.
  3. Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation! – Did not accomplish.
  4. Attend PEO Virginia State Convention. – Accomplished!
  5. Research more uses for essential oils. – Semi-Achieved.
  6. Celebrate Mother’s Day! – Accomplished!
  7. Make at least three new recipes. – Accomplished!
  8. Help prepare for our 100th blood drive! – Accomplished!
  9. Figure out a new, effective workout plan. – Accomplished!
  10. Read at least three new books. – Semi-Achieved.

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate Melissa’s graduation from William & Mary! – Accomplished!

  • We took a road trip up to Richmond on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
  • We had so much fun at Marisa and David’s house! Their house is gorgeous, and the renovations/expansions turned out beautifully.
  • There was so much food! Melissa’s mom sent us home with tons of leftovers.
  • We thoroughly enjoyed celebrating with Melissa, and meeting many of her friends and colleagues. We stayed a bit longer because we were engrossed in conversations about Star Trek, and Harry Potter!

Attend Tidewater Comicon. – Did not accomplish.

  • Since Melissa’s graduation party fell on the same weekend, it wasn’t worth the money to go this year.

Visit TCC to review my transcripts, make sure everything is straight, and apply for graduation! – Did not accomplish.

  • I blame my mess for this! I could not find the transcripts that I purchased a while back, even though I searched many places!
  • I just need to buy two more transcripts, and make another appointment.

Attend PEO Virginia State Convention. – Accomplished!

  • This was one of the best weekends I’d had in a while.
  • Cindy was a great carpool buddy!
  • There was so much good food!
  • The business was conducted and the entire weekend went smoothly.
  • We celebrated over 20 “Golden Girls” – Apparently 1967 was a great year for PEO!
  • I was thoroughly exhausted after driving six hours round trip on Sunday, so I came home, got into my comfy clothes, and watched Undercover Boss on Netflix until bedtime.

Research more uses for essential oils. – Semi-Achieved.

  • I want to do more research every month, but I’m happy with what I’ve learned so far.
  • The fabulous woman who got me turned on to oils in the first place – April – sends out emails every week!
  • Thanks to a tip from a friend on Facebook, we put “Purification” on our new air filter, and the whole house started to smell amazing!

Celebrate Mother’s Day! – Accomplished!

  • We had a wonderful Chinese take-out dinner with my parents. The weather was gorgeous, so we ate on the porch! We also brought leftover cupcakes from Melissa’s graduation party from the night before.

Make at least three new recipes. – Accomplished!

  • Baked Crispy Honey Lime Shrimp – Yummy!! This is one of our new favorite recipes.
  • One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta – Really good. We had leftovers for a week! I won’t make it super often, since it’s loaded with calories (think 6 cups of milk, three types of cheese, etc.). But, it tasted awesome!
  • Pork chops with Smoky Applewood marinade – Amazing!

Help prepare for our 100th blood drive! – Accomplished!

  • This was fairly simple – Lots of moral support, and a few editing suggestions.
  • We’re raffling off a $100 VISA gift card courtesy of the Red Cross!
  • If you’re in the area, come out on Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.!

Figure out a new, effective workout plan. – Accomplished!

  • Thanks to bodybuilding.com, I have a new 30-day workout plan in place!
  • After just two days at it (yesterday and today), I’m super sore and I struggle to climb the stairs, but I’m sweating more at the gym, and I’m even starting to sleep better!\
  • I’m excited to learn some new moves, and re-build some strength!

Read at least three new books. – Semi-Achieved.

  • Book #1: Book Review #31: “The Da Vinci Code”
  • I finished Book #2 recently, so I’m planning to publish Book Review #32 by the end of this week.
  • I’m just a few chapters away from finishing Book #3, so I expect to publish Book Review #33 some time next week!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to six out of 10 goals. Yay!! I feel super productive, and proud of myself!
  • The two goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m pleased with my progress with these goals. Looking forward to doing more in June!
  • The two goals that I didn’t accomplish: There were multiple circumstances that prevented me/us from achieving these goals.

Did you have any goals for May?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for June!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #60: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 22)

Week #22: Something You Use Every Day.

I’m incredibly grateful to have a safe, reliable car! I’m glad that my dad helped me choose my Camry. “Sandy” has been with me since the summer of 2010.

She’s been on many adventures with me in the last seven years. She was with me during my senior year at Longwood.

She’s been there throughout my entire history with Al, with the exceptions of our first date and our wedding day.

She’s been on many road trips, through multiple moves, ability to get me to several different jobs, years of continuing education, and more. Her wheels take me back and forth to the gym, to work, to meetings – All around Hampton Roads, and beyond.

I try really hard to take care of her. I’m able to change the oil myself. When she had a flat tire in April, I was grateful that I have AAA and they came to change it in the rain.

She’s about to cross the 200,000 mile mark in a few months (We got her with 66,000 miles). I sincerely hope she lasts several years longer!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #59: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 21)

Week #21: Things You Like About Summer.

For the longest time, I always proclaimed that summer was my favorite season. It makes sense – My birthday is in August, and I have many fond memories of being out of school and enjoying family vacations.

As an adult, the heat and humidity here in Virginia is very annoying, and my favorite seasons have shifted to the spring and fall.

But, I’m grateful for all the summers that I have had on this Earth. I remember numerous trips to Florida to see both sets of grandparents, and friends of my mom and my dad. All the amusement park visits – Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and Tampa Bay, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, Hersheypark, Kings Dominion, and a variety of aquariums and museums. We went to West Virginia several times to see my mom’s extended family. Every summer until I was 16, we went to New York City to go back to the hospital where I was born, sight-see, and visit Mom’s cousin Sherri. Several of our friends had beach houses in North Carolina as well.

My church hosted Russian children for three weeks almost every summer, starting in 1999. It was so much fun – They always loved the beach, going to the mall, swimming, and exploring what our small part of the U.S. had to offer. They were absolutely fascinated by the ocean and swimming pools. They begged to go back to Virginia Beach multiple times – I think one year we took them five or six times in the three weeks they were with us. When summer starts to arrive, I always think of them.

Summer also makes me think of fresh-cut grass, watermelon, BBQ, being around water a lot, swimming, riding my bike, roller-blading, endless library trips, traveling, the beach, going to the movies, Super Soakers, water balloon fights, and catching fireflies.

This summer, I hope to make more library trips, buy our own bikes and take many rides around the neighborhood with Al, take a few days off from work to enjoy the outdoors, watch the fireflies, and listen to the crickets.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂