3 Ways to Wrap Up the School Year

Schools out for summer! The teachers have done an excellent job this year (I hope) and so have your children. As a former classroom teacher, this time of year gets super busy- closing out grade books, determining summer school needs, conferencing with parents, field day, graduation. The list goes on and on and on!

Many parents have summer plans laid out for their children to include summer camps, vacations and trips to grandma’s house. But as an educator, I urge parents to take some extra steps before school officially ends. These three steps are crucial to helping your children avoid the summer learning dip and to stay on target for the next school term:

  1. Have an end of the year conference with the teachers. I know you think this is crazy and not necessary but hear me out. The final report card will give you a grade point average, some computer generated comments and school info. It doesn’t tell you the skills your child may be lacking to prepare for the next grade level. Chat with the teachers to find out what your child can practice over the summer. Ask for free resources as well. Believe me, they are throwing stuff away this time of year. Find out what your child’s standardized test scores are and what do they mean as it relates to progressing to the next level.
  2. Ask what type of books your child likes to read and set some goals for summer reading. I know schools give out extensive book lists for required reading BUT your child may have his/her own interests and those are important too. Make reading a priority as a home. Turn off the tube, social media and engage in reading. Yes, you too. And don’t forget about math practice. There are so many ways to keep math going during the summer through cooking, gardening, sports, weather predictions, charts and graphs, trips and much more. Be innovative so that math is fun.
  3. If you don’t know the Principal, meet with him/her to discuss any concerns and offer to assist when you have time. Not only will you give back through service but you’ll get a chance to be a part of the school community. Ways to volunteer include serving on a school improvement council, joining the Parent-teacher organization, putting up or taking down boards for teachers, helping in the media center, reading to classes, assisting at sporting or extracurricular events or lending a hand wherever you may be needed. Offer your support and watch the impact you’ll have.

Wrapping up the school year is much more than just receiving a report card, going to field day or handing out tasty treats on a field trip. With the current state of education we all have to jump in and be a voice for our children, teachers and education as a whole. As the saying goes, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.” So, look at your calendar and start on this list. I promise you won’t regret it and you’ll be much appreciated by my fellow educators.

Remember, no matter where you are in the hustle of life, you must have faith!

Tamika W.

PS. Let me know what you think or what else should be added to this list, especially if you’re an educator or very involved parent. And…feel free to share with someone else. 😉

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Be Still….

It’s Wednesday and last week I promised to post my reflections from The Best Yes. Well if you checked your inbox you know they never came. It’s not that I did not want to encourage you and help you reflect on ways to say NO or how to figure out ways to empty your “plate”. This week I simply needed to give myself some space. I needed to spend some time not thinking too hard. I needed to be still.

I read a post from a fellow blogger about not being so hard on yourself. She recommended some great strategies. The one that sticks out for me as I rest this week is to box up your negative thoughts. I had been thinking too hard about blogging, podcasting, products, and life in general. My mind was wrecked with a bunch of questions, doubts, fears and what ifs. I wanted to spend some time away from everything and just relax in me. I needed to take all of those things flooding my mind and put them away in a box. I didn’t want any negative thoughts to follow me. So what are you doing Tamika? I’m taking in some of these tips so that I can recharge and be ready for the weeks ahead. Read 6 Ways to Fight Your Inner Critic.

The other thing I’m doing is organizing my workflow so that I can provide more content that connects to my readers. I’m a strong believer in developing your skills personally and professionally. I’m reading up on successful ways to engage readers. I’m taking some crash courses in successful side hustles and coaching services. I don’t plan to spend the rest of my life working for someone else. Why wait until I retire to start enjoying life? I’m starting now by tapping into my gifts and talents and seeing where I’ll land with them. If you’re trying to find where you fit, let me know. I’d love to chat with you and send you some free tools.

Finally, I’m doing some extra spring cleaning. My space feels a little cluttered, especially in my daughter’s room. I can’t believe next week she will be 9 months. And she is moving around like busy bee. So space she will need and I’m on a mission to de-clutter. I know giving away her little clothes is going to be hard so y’all pray for me ☹️

My advice for you this week is the title of the post- Be still. Gather up the courage to throw away the to-do list. Don’t plan this time. Just do it. It’s so peaceful. Resting in my positive thoughts. Dreaming and envisioning the future. Not worried about what is going to happen if. Take a day or two and enjoy peacefully walking through your space, your thoughts. You’ll come out with lots of clarity. During this time, write a note to your future self. What’s happened to you? What have you accomplished? Where do you see yourself? I am working on my letter to me in 2020. And….I’m taking a week to bask in me so until Sunday, be still and have faith!

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all!

Tamika W.

PS. The reflections will be a week in June. Next week I’m podcasting with some random interviews and I PROMISE you will enjoy this! 😉

3 Vacation Money Saving Tips for Summer Travel

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Mom & daughter on pexels.com

Vacations are fun but let’s be honest, they can be quite expensive.  Depending on where you travel and how long you will vacation there, families can spend close to $3000 including transportation, food, souvenirs, tours, and hotel.  But there’s hope.  Whether big or small, start saving money for your next vacation with these tips!

  1. Enroll in a frequent stay program with your favorite hotel chain.  For example, Hilton has the Hilton Honors program where you can collect points for every stay at a Hilton brand hotel.  You can use these points later towards future stays and enjoy perks such as late check out, free snacks, or premium wi-fi.  I’m a Hilton Honors silver member so my points values are high, and I get at least two free stays per year through the amount of points I collect.  My favorite Hilton hotel is Embassy, where I enjoy a delicious free breakfast, afternoon social and the best comfortable 2 room suite.
  2. Travel to a nearby city and enjoy some of the local tourist attractions.  Often we think our vacations have to be to some place exotic or some exclusive destination when there is so much to do and learn right in our own backyard.  This year we are taking a two day trip to Helen, Georgia, a cute little quaint town located in the mountains of Georgia with good food, a good river for tubing and some relaxation.
  3. Plan one day adventures.  You can take the family to a drive-in movie.  How about visit the lake for a family picnic and games.  There are so many adventures that you can do in one day whether you travel 5 or 50 miles outside of your city.  And guess what, you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy them.

With these tips, you are bound to have a great time with your family or friends all while keeping some cha-ching $$$ in your pockets.  Summer time is always a fun time to embark upon a new adventure. However, don’t forget about traveling during the off-peak seasons where places like the beach resorts offer super low rates and shopping at outlets and boutiques are so exciting.

What are your summer plans and how do you save money on travel? Leave us a comment and help someone else.  Don’t forget to share & like.

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all!

Tamika W.

P.S Many of the reward programs offer vacations at 60-80% off.  Yes, you’ll have to watch a presentation and answer a million questions about buying a timeshare (do NOT buy one) BUT hey, who wouldn’t enjoy Disney for $165 for 3 days/2 nights.  I know I did AND I received 5000 points for attending as well as some discounts on food and future travel.  BAM!

Your Plate is FULL. Please Tell Them No.

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This past weekend my cousin came by to visit and we chatted about careers, love, church and life.  Lately, I’ve been reflecting on everything that I’m involved in and looking at revising my schedule to make time for things are a priority in my life.

I remember attending this workshop many many moons ago where the presenter asked us “how full is your plate?”  We actually had a paper plate and had to write everything we were involved in on that plate.  I remember looking at my plate and it was FULL.  Back then, I didn’t know what to prioritize because I felt all of those things at that time were important.  Someone needed me to do this because no one else could do.  Someone asked me to help with that because I had the experience.  But I didn’t think about the time, effort, and responsibility of having multiple tasks while trying to live life.

Do you remember the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus came to visit.  Martha was so distracted with cleaning, serving, and household duties that she failed to see that none of those things were important as a visit from Jesus.  Sometimes our life is so busy, we can’t see some important things that God has in store for us.  Sometimes our life is so busy we even neglect the One who is most important to us.

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3 Ways to Keep Your Faith In Check

eye-female-funny-glass-41558.jpegLet’s admit it girls. Some days, weeks, months or seasons get so busy we may forget to check in with God consistently.  I know as a mom, if I’m not conscious about how I’m spending my time, prayer and devotion just might escape me.  Not good. But we are human.  Sometimes we get caught up in the rush of life that we limit our relationship with God to a few minutes here and there just to check it off the to-do list. Done.  But you and I both know when we put God on the to-do list, life seems to get a SUPER crazy. Out of whack. And when the dust settles, we look at how we have put God on a shelf like a book. The thing I like about our God is that He knows and He will definitely nudge us to remind us when we are drifting away.

I keep telling you that I’m working on being calendar driven-some days are better than others.  What is important is that we carve out meaningful time with God.  Maybe you don’t know where to start and honey that is ok as long as you start.  Or in my case restart.  The time we spend with God has be intentional and consistent as it helps us draw closer to Him, grow in our faith, and experience everlasting peace and joy in Him.

There are many ways to spend time with Him-prayer, reading His word, singing His praises, joining a women’s group or even sharing His goodness with others.  If you feel that you are drifting away or need quick ways to keep your faith in check, how about this:

  1. Set aside some time each day to read a devotional or simply open the bible and read it.  There are a million devotionals online and in print that are connected to God’s word and His principles for life. Try this FREE 30-day devotional and bible reading guide created just for busy women like us.  Click here for your FREEBIE ====>> 30 Days with God
  2. Spend the first 5 minutes of your day in prayer and giving thanks to God for His many blessings.  What a great way to get your day going.  But… if the first 5 minutes does not work for you (not a morning person like me), be sure to carve out some quiet time throughout the day-on your lunch break, when the kiddos are napping, when the household is sleeping. You get it.
  3. Share your faith and testimonies of your experiences with others.  Not only will you inspire someone else but you will be reminded of just how good God is to you.  You can do this by joining a group online or in your church or posting your blessings instead of your messiness.  Doing so is a great way to stay connected to the Master and a way to get people connected to Him.

Maybe you are not in a dry season in your faith. Or maybe you know someone who is. Whatever it may be, I would love to hear from you on ways you keep your faith in check.  Leave a comment, like, & share. I’m sure it will inspire others 😉

Remember, it’s a faith journey y’all.  No matter where you are in the hustle of life, you got to have faith!

Tamika W.

 

Are You Busy? You Still Need a Budget!

business-money-pink-coins.jpg“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NKJV

Anytime someone hears the word budget they automatically assume that the person is struggling financially or that they are BROKE. Not always the case.  According to a Gallup poll, only 1/3 of Americans have a household budget yet 80% of Americans are DROWNING in debt.

In 2015, my husband and I looked at our finances and determined we wanted to leave a legacy of financial freedom to our children.  We made up in our minds that we no longer wanted debt to have a lifelong grip on us so tight that we could not enjoy life. After a friend introduced me to Dave Ramsey, my husband and I decided to embark on this journey to financial freedom and peace.  I would highly recommend everyone to take his Financial Peace course to learn the ins & outs to financial freedom.

As consumers, I don’t know what it is about having the latest and greatest but that is the mentality that often puts us deep into debt.  And with the world of entertainment, keeping up with the Jones’s and blowing money faster than we can make it, our income spirals out of control to the sunken place, a point of no return.

Well don’t ever think that there is a point of no return because there is a solution for the problem.  Let me say this as well.  You may not be the person who lives in “the sunken place”.  You may be reading this and saying to yourself, “I have money in the bank and I pay my bills on time and I get to live life to the fullest.” Great.  Round of applause.  Read the list below and if you have any of the items listed, you’re in debt.

  1. Credit Cards
  2. Loans (student loans, auto loans, furniture, pay day loans, etc.)
  3. Mortgage and/or Home Equity Loan
  4. Hospital Bills
  5. Collection Notices
  6. Department Store Charge Cards
  7. Personal Bank Loan
  8. 401K, Retirement, 403b Loan
  9. Business Loan
  10. Do You Owe Someone? Ok, you get the point

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because life is fine, you’re ok.  That mentality will keep us all a slave to the financial system. So here is what I find that works for our household- a monthly budget.  Now you can google budget forms and you will get soooo many hits and links.  Here are some quick steps to get your money designated for specific areas of spending AND doing so will help you find ways to eliminate your debt faster.

1. List all of your debts, smallest to largest. Once you pay off a debt, roll that amount into the next debt.  This is called the SNOWBALL effect.  Read about it here.

2. Obtain a credit report to make sure you have not been a victim of fraud and to make sure you have accounted for ALL of your debts.

3. List all of your household expenses- charities (tithes, charitable giving), mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, clothing, gas, auto repairs, health & medical (i.e medicines, doctor appointments, etc.), outside insurance policies, personal care (i.e toiletries, baby supplies, tutoring/music lessons, child care/babysitters, organizational dues), and debts you pay.

4. List your take home pay and subtract it from ALL of your expenses.  If the number is positive you have money left to start paying off some debt FASTER.  If the number is negative, you will need to look at what you can eliminate from your expenses to ensure that you are not living above your means.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 each month and have a household budget meeting.  Make a vision board and take control of your financial life.  After all, God wants us to be lenders and not borrowers.  He wants us to prosper in all areas of life.  Finally, DON’T LET ANYONE make you believe that because you are budgeting your way to financial freedom, you are broke and busted. Start the journey and keep going if you’ve already started.

There are a thousand ways to get out of debt and to budget your household.  What are some ways you budget?  What are some resources you recommend? Share your strategies and share this with someone.

It’s a FAITH journey y’all! No matter where you are in life, you gotta have faith!

Tamika W.

P.S. I do not get paid to promote Dave Ramsey’s products.  I’m on the journey to financial freedom and peace.  As of today, I’ve stopped using all my credit cards, paid them off, and will be tackling the remainder of my car loan and the BIG student loan.  I’ll keep you posted! 😉

#winning #debtfree #onefaithjourney #financialpeace

 

 

Sunshine Blogger! Yeah, That’s Me

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I’ve been out of commission for the past two days.  Baby clinging to me.  Cleaning my house. Doing laundry. Catching up on work. All that stuff that keeps the every day woman BUSY! So, when I saw this post on the blog I follow, I had to read it several times.  “Like am I reading this?”  Yes. I. Did.Read.It.  For some people it’s small but for a new blogger like me, it was definitely motivating to know someone nominated me for this award, a peer, dope blogger you need to follow now, Mz. Imperfect. Follow her. NOW. I’m so serious!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?  It’s an award presented to bloggers by bloggers for creative and outstanding content that inspires readers everywhere.  And it is a super way to connect with new blogs and be inspired.

A part of accepting this award is to answer some questions about me and nominate a few blogs for bringing some sunshine.  And guess what, you should follow them too 🙂

Blog Nominations:

  1. deannastilwell.com
  2. cherishingsecrets.wordpress.com
  3. mysimplyunique.com
  4. ruthinrevolt.com
  5. sweetandsimplelife.com
  6. unspokenvows.com
  7. tlyncompositions.org

 

Questions to Answer

1. Do you prefer ocean or lake? Ocean- love hearing waves

2. How long have you been blogging? I started a blog in 2015 but never finished.  So since March 28, 2018

3. What is your favorite hobby? traveling

4. What would you do if there was no chance of failing? That’s so hard to answer right now…hhhhmmmm???

5. If you could have lunch with 1 person, (alive or not), who would it be? Why? Dave Chapelle.. I love HIS comedy and I love laughing.  He is a genius folks!

6. What’s the most challenging thing about blogging? Reaching the masses through a passion

7. What is your favorite junk food? Spinach and artichoke dip and chips

8. Where are you from? Columbia, South Carolina, Soda City, The Metro!

9. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? Barcelona, Spain

10. What is your favorite type of music? Anything with a positive message that inspires

11. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Living and giving like no one else because I WILL have financial peace….Shout out to Dave Ramsey & FPU

 

Rules

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog in your post.

2. Answer the questions at the bottom of this post in your own blog post.

3. Nominate  up to 11 blogs with 11 questions

4. List the rules and Sunshine Award Logo on your post.

 

Be inspired & remember, its a faith journey, y’all!