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How to Use The Personalities to Improve Your Relationships with Your Kids

It had been a HORRIBLE day.

Mom pulled our old, maroon Oldsmobile up to the curb, and I flung my 11-year-old self down into the seat, backpack smashing into my lap.

“Bad day?” Mom asked.

“The worst.”

Mom then launched into her best stand-up comedy routine in an effort to coax a smile from her distraught daughter. It was NOT working.

With the hardest glare imaginable, I ground out, “Why do you think EVERYTHING is SO FUNNY??”

The shocked look on her face said it all. Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone, replaced by a smirk. “Girlie girl, I think it’s time you learned about The Personalities.” Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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Women, Change Your Language!

Women have long pushed for equality in the workforce. We want equal rights, equal pay, equal promotions, and sometimes we get those things. Most of the time, however, we do not — and for one HUGE reason: most women need to change their language!

The language we use in our resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, thank you notes, and in interviews can make or break our chances of landing the job.The language we use IN our jobs once we land them is CRUCIAL to our ability to move up in our companies, get raises and promotions, and be generally respected by those we work with.

As much progress as we have made toward gender equality in the workplace, the game is still very much played by a man’s rules and in a man’s language. How we, as women, communicate makes a huge difference for how we are perceived as employees, supervisors, and peers. If we want to be respected as equals, we HAVE to change our language.   Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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How I Want to Be Remembered

Have you ever thought about what someone would say in your eulogy? Would they remember your killer meatloaf recipe? Your business savvy? Your awesome sense of humor? Would they talk about your faith? How your life inspired them? Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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My Secret for WAHM Time Management

Time management is hard. WAHM time management is ridiculously hard! Thankfully, I have discovered one secret to keep me on track lately. Can you guess what it is?

I have struggled with the time management concept my entire life, and the struggle only got worse once I became a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom, for those new to this particular brand of alphabet soup). My baby, C, was 10 months old when we moved out of the 24/7 “Dorm Mama” life to start building my husband’s career and let me focus on taking care of our family. That first year, I’m pretty sure I watched every G- and PG-rated movie and series available on Hulu and spent most every day in my pajamas, letting C play on the floor around my feet and toddle around our small duplex.

Not exactly the best use of my time. But, it seemed like anytime I tried to do anything more productive, like get on my computer for any reason, C was automatically in my face wanting me to play with her or wanting me to let her play with all the fun buttons, too. Sigh… Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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A Refreshing Drink for My Spirit


“Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

~ Proverbs 25:13

As an introvert, I never anticipated needing people to help me feel refreshed. But after transitioning from a busy Resident Director, constantly surrounded by students and other staff, to being a stay-at-home-mom to one bouncy toddler, I found myself growing lonely. No more were there random students popping in just to say ‘hi’ throughout the day. Handfuls of college women (and sometimes a few college men) were no longer piling into our living room to watch “Once Upon a Time” and just enjoy being together for an hour. My lunch dates no longer have boy troubles or girl drama for me to help them process. My world suddenly got very, very small. Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Whitewashed Tombs

 

 

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Matthew 23:25-28 
“I just want it clean, okay?”
I slammed the used micro-fiber cloth into the laundry basket, frustrated with Erik for not understanding the importance of having a spotless house when our guests arrived.

Read More

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

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What God Taught Me Tonight about Home-Building

I dropped Mom off at the airport today and almost immediately felt bereft. It was wonderful having her here for a few days and remembering what it’s like to have someone around who really knows me. After only three months in East Texas, I was beginning to feel the full effect of homesickness. If home is where your mom is, she most definitely was not here.

As I drove home, I realized that for me home isn’t just where my mom is, it’s where I feel known. Moving always seems to disrupt that feeling. I felt very much at home in Virginia the last few years I lived there; I had a wonderful church family, a large social crew, and several really close friends. Now, however, I’m in a new place with new people, and my little introverted self is once again struggling to open up and deeply connect with the people around me – which leaves me feeling very unknown.

And today, I really just want to go home.

Seeking comfort

But, going home isn’t exactly an option for a university Resident Director. So, I go through the motions, sit through meetings, do my best to listen, empathize, and offer encouragement to my students, then finally retreat to my little, on-campus apartment. Feeling empty and desperately in need of a recharge, I shut my door – something I rarely do during the day – head back to my spare room and my big, fluffy chair, huddle up under the blanket Mom made for my birthday last year, and pull my Bible onto my lap.

I know coming to Texas was God’s plan for me. The doors opened, the light shone down, and I knew I was supposed to come here. But knowing all that doesn’t really help a whole lot when I’m homesick. I flip open my Bible, searching for comfort in the familiar words of Jeremiah 29:11. However, I quickly realize my version of The Message doesn’t have the verses marked, thereby making the location of a specific verse a bit difficult. So, I decide to read the entire passage. I’ve forgotten how it started anyway.

This is the Message from GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and make yourselves at home.
“Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.
“Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.
“Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.
“Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”

 

Make yourselves at home?? Are you kidding me, God? I don’t want to be at HOME here! I want to GO home!

Just like the Israelites

It was at this point that I realized the Hebrew people probably wanted to go home, too. I’m sure they were grumbling against the prophet, just like they always seemed to do when they got into a tight spot. They no doubt wanted to go home to Jerusalem, but God was telling them to stay put, invest in their new land, learn to love it, and consider it home.

No one knew them there. They were the exiles, the slaves. They didn’t even speak the same language. They were ridiculed and persecuted for their ethnicity, their customs, their clothes, and their faith in the one true God. No one in this new land cared if they lived or died. Some probably wished they’d all die or just go back to where they came from.

Settle in. It’s going to be a long wait.

And yet, God tells them to settle in; it’s going to be seventy long years, and He doesn’t want them to just waste away, forgetting who they are and Who’s brought about this exile. He wants them to make their home in Babylon, to multiply there and build up strength and numbers, to pray for the Babylonians and those ruling over them that they might see the GOD-of-Angel-Armies for who He really is.

IF they’ll do all of those things, He makes them a promise:

“As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
 
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed…
 

“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you… bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.”

Ah-ha! If I can learn to view this new, unfamiliar place as home, God will take me home. Yay!

A new perspective on “home”

It’s at this point that I realize that home isn’t necessarily a physical place. God doesn’t have to take me back to wherever my family is or back to Virginia for me to feel at home. (Not that I wouldn’t LOVE it if He did!) I believe God wants to restore me to that sense of home, to that place where I feel seen, known, and appreciated for who I am, where I am loved unconditionally, where I am deeply connected with those around me and care as much for their well-being as for my own.

Homebuilding takes TIME

Though I’ve nearly blocked it from my mind, Virginia wasn’t always home, either. It wasn’t until well into that first year, and probably even into the second year, that I really started to connect and feel completely comfortable with the my co-workers, the ladies in my church group, and the other members of our local young adult group. It took a lot of time and effort to develop those relationships. That sense of home wasn’t something I built over night.

It took my parents nearly 9 months to build our house in Illinois. It was a long process, but one I know they feel was completely worth it. Building relationships can be a long process, too. It takes time to lay a foundation of trust. It takes time to set boundary walls, put in windows to the soul, and hang doors of openness. It takes time to tile a roof of protectiveness and safety. It takes time to decorate with comfort and inside jokes. But in the end, I know the end result of all that time and hard work will be worth it.

Homebuilding is WORK

And I know that’s what God is calling me to do here in Texas – begin building a home. The hard part is that it’s not going to feel like home right away. It’s going to be uncomfortable sleeping in an unfinished house, exposed to the elements of fear and possible rejection. My muscles are going to ache at the end of the day from the strenuous and emotionally-draining labor, and there will be days when I’m going to want to quit. The progress will seem slow, and I’ll get tired of setting studs and nailing on shingles only to have them be blown away in a sudden storm of betrayal or abandonment. Even when I finish the house and move in, it still probably won’t feel like home for a while yet.

Homebuilding is WORTH it!

But it will. God willing, it will. God has proven himself faithful throughout my life, providing family, friends, and a sense of home wherever I’ve been thus far – Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Chile, or Virginia. My God is faithful. He has taken care of me every time before, and I know He’ll do it again. Right now, however, it’s my turn to start building my home here and stop wishing and whining to go back to the home I used to have. It’s my turn to be faithful, to build a home in Texas, and to wait and see how God wants to bless it.

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Inspiring Love

* I wrote this post in the beginning of February 2011 on my old website, but wanted to re-post it here. Enjoy! *
As I sat down at the piano tonight to prepare a set list for the worship time I’m leading on Monday, I started looking for songs that talk about God’s love and our love for Him. Since love is on everyone’s minds this time of year anyway, I figured it would be good to refocus those I lead and myself on our One True Love. (Why is it so hard for me to remember how much I’m already loved? I have such short-term memory sometimes.) As I looked through different songs, it occurred to me that nearly every one of the “love songs” in my binder talked about God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as a natural extension of His love for us. I don’t know that I’d ever really thought of it like that: Love always inspires action.
Think of it this way, when a man loves a woman (yes, yes, I’m singing, too – go right ahead), that love inspires him to sacrifice his time, energy, and money in pursuing her. It eventually inspires him to buy a ring, propose, and marry her. When a woman has a baby, and something threatens that child, boy, had you better watch out! Her love for that baby will push her to do insane things to protect him or her. When daddy’s little girl goes out on her first date, you know Dad is sitting on the front porch cleaning his shotgun in order to scare her date clean out of his wits because he loves his daughter; he doesn’t want any boy just playing with her heart.
Yes, love always inspires action. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,” right? He loved, so he gave. That simple cause and effect relationship is giving me considerable pause tonight. What do I love? And what am I doing about it?
A friend of mine shared a video on Facebook today of two reporters going undercover as a pimp and his prostitute talking with a Planned Parenthood counselor about getting STD testing and abortions for his underage, illegally trafficked girls. I sat there watching the video with my jaw on the floor. Who in their right mind would HELP a pimp run a sex-trafficking business and advise him on how to cover his tracks so the authorities won’t ask questions?! Does this woman have no soul? No humanity? That video had me crying for the poor girls for whom this situation is a reality, not just an undercover story. If I love God’s children like He does, if I love the millions of children sold into the sex trade each year, what am I going to do about it?
One of my former RAs caught the vision of doing something about human trafficking last year. She and a group of young believers from her church organized an event called The Cry 2010 to raise awareness about human trafficking, pray that God would hear the cries of the desperate and hopeless people trapped in this industry, and help people like you and me figure out how to get involved and do something. This same group is getting ready to put on the Cry 2011 this spring, and until the new info is up, you can see their video from last year and related links on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=379125064807.
I am incredibly impressed and humbled by the Love that inspired these individuals to create The Cry, and I know my God is calling me to act this Valentine’s Day. I don’t know where, when, or how yet, but I’m listening and looking for that open door. I’m ready to move. I’m ready to experience a Love that pushes me to action. What will your love inspire you to do?  

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Grampa’s Lessons in Love

As my mother-in-law and I were pouring over genealogy tonight, I was reminded of this poem I wrote years ago using only advice from my Grampa Jack and thought I would re-post it here. Grampa Jack, wherever you are, you don’t have to worry about my becoming an old-maid school teacher. I’m no longer a teacher, and I finally got married. I know you’d be proud. 🙂

Grampa’s Lessons in Love
Pride of my life,
I pine, yearn, pray for those good ole days when men were men and women were women.
Teenage boys are like wild mustangs,
But, girls are the gentle-ers of men;
                        The girls who DEMAND civil-decorum, get it.
Let the boys be boys, until they start acting like young men.
Boys respect the gals who maintain some mystique and culture;
            The girl like dear old mom wins.
Go get a haircut—an extra one won’t cause permanent damage even if you don’t need one right then
Wear nice heels and a frilly dress that makes no bones there is a real live girl under there
            Smile, return smiles, engage in conversation if possible
            Don’t forget the power of a subtle perfume
            Remember the rule about skirts—
They should be long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.
Respect all elders, rise when older women enter the room.
Keep your eye on your books, and the other eye on what and who is going on around you;
Have definite opinions about politics, economics and religion.
Cast your net upon the water,
            You might not like what you catch, but you can always throw it back
Just don’t haul in a bunch of suckers.

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

Where I Am

“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life.” ~ Eugene Peterson on 1 Cor. 7:17 (MSG)
God, not my marital status, defines my life. It’s amazing how much easier it was to live by that axiom as a single person. Paul is definitely correct in saying that a married person is concerned about pleasing his/her spouse, and not so focused on serving God fully. Somehow I got it in my head that I could still be as focused on God as a married woman as I was as a single woman. How did I manage to convince myself that Paul was lying to me?
As a single person, all I had to worry about was me and what God was doing in, through, and around me. Now as a married woman, I’m focused on me, my husband, and if there’s enough time, God. (I do realize those priorities are completely out of order, and I’m working on it.) The point is I totally took for granted all the brain power and time I had at my disposal as a single person to really delve into the God world, and I instead spent so much time and energy worrying about and wanting to be married. A “normal” response to the undesired single life, I realize, but not one I’m proud of at this moment.
I know all my single readers out there are about ready to string my up by my thumbs – single people are preached to all the time about not wasting the time they’ve been given AS A GIFT to focus in and serve God. Do any of us, as single people, really want to hear that?? How many times did I hear married women tell me I was “so lucky” to not have a husband and a family to worry about, how “blessed” I was to be able to focus solely on God? Ug… WAY too many!
So, I will NOT use this blog post to tell singles they should treasure this time without a mate to focus on God. That “biblical” advice is NOT helpful to a heart who simply wants to love and be loved. I will, however, draw attention to the part of Paul’s letter where he tells ALL of us, REGARDLESS of our marital status, that we are to be living, obeying, loving, and believing RIGHT WHERE WE ARE. As a single person, I got way to caught up in wanting a husband to really be available to God. As a married woman, I’m way too caught up in trying to figure out this whole marriage thing to be fully available to God. What’s the common denominator here? I’m way too caught up in something else to be truly available to God!
Here’s to a new commitment to keep my eyes open to what God is doing right here, to refocus on Him, and to not let myself become so distracted by where I’m not that I can’t see where I am.  

As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: TEACHING! She writes to educate and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.