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 🙂

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 🙂

Writing Prompt #50: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 12)

Week #12: Your Favorite Personality Trait

After much internal deliberation and debate, I think I’m most grateful for my compassion. I was raised that way, and I’m also grateful that it’s stuck with me all these years.

There have been several times where I was at a crossroads, and having compassion was one of the choices I could make. Although difficult sometimes, usually I’ve chosen to take the high road, and show compassion to others.

Compassion, however, does come with a bit of a price. I was a literal doormat for years, especially when I was younger. I was so naive. I would give so much of myself, only to have a few select people walk all over me, and straight up take advantage of me.

Example: I tried to be friendly and sweet with some of the popular girls (cheerleaders, etc.) in middle school – Boy, did that backfire.

It happened with my ex-boyfriend, John – I was so compassionate towards him, that I ended up in an abusive relationship with him for the better part of four years.

It happened more recently with another former friend, J. – He saw my compassion immediately, and that turned into an ugly infatuation situation (meaning him being infatuated/obsessed/in love with me/wanting to kiss me, etc.) that I couldn’t break free of for a good long while. He blocked me on Facebook almost a year ago. It hurt a little at first, but to be completely honest, I’m far happier this way.

I still give a lot of myself now, but I’m much more knowledgeable about people being mean-spirited and using others for their own gain.

I’ve scaled back a few friendships because of this. It was tough making that type of decision, but I’m grateful that I stuck to my guns. I’ve found that I’m far happier when I’m aiming my compassion at the people, places, and things that I truly care about!

I leave you this Wednesday with a quote from Nelson Mandela:

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly – but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #13: The Blogger Recognition Award – Number 4!


Image Credit: icebreaker694

Thank you so much to the incredible icebreaker694 for nominating me for The Blogger Recognition Award for the fourth time!

Here’s the link to the post where I was nominated:

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How Hot Shot Headlines Started

The origins of Hot Shot Headlines started in 2009. As part of my Communication Studies, Mass Media major at Longwood University, I was required to take a class called Computer-Mediated Communication. To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited about it. I was a junior, I was feeling a bit burnt out. Junior year is notorious for being the worst! I felt it was more geared toward the other COMM major – Public Relations. And, I had never had the professor before – Dr. Bill Stuart, a.k.a., Dr. B.

Luckily, I started to come around, and eventually warmed up to the class. One of the assignments was to create a blog – It could be about anything that we wanted – And have it peer reviewed by our classmates throughout the semester. I ended up loving what I picked – Movies that people had never heard of / never seen – and I continued that blogging effort for several months after that semester ended.

Fast forward several years, and a few other failed blog attempts along the way, and I landed here. I came up with “Hot Shot Headlines” early on – I knew wanted to carry on my journalism efforts / contributions after deciding to not pursue it as a career. I missed working on The Rotunda, Longwood’s student newspaper, so much after graduating in May 2011. It was something that I basically lived and breathed during my four years at Longwood.

My posts officially start as of March 2014, but over the last 18 months, this little blog of mine has skyrocketed. I’m deeply appreciative of everyone who has taken the time to read, comment on, like, and spread the word about my posts. I am a very humble and happy blogger here in Virginia.


  1. Write for yourself. – What I mean is, your blog is YOURS. Don’t feel pressured to fit a mold, or to write what others are writing about. Write what you feel is important to you. That’s all that matters.
  2. Reach out to other bloggers. – One of the biggest things I do is I read other people’s blogs. It’s expanded my world significantly. There are so many people in the U.S., and around the world, that are talented and articulate writers. Personally, I’m attracted to book blogs, and those who write about writing and publishing. When I find a post that I like, I like the post, and I also try to comment on it. It’s a great way to interact with others! I’m delighted when bloggers email me, too!


  1. Candace Robinson
  2. social underground
  3. The ThinkTheorist
  4. Teri again
  5. Holistic Wayfarer

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂