The ED in Higher Education

When preparing to head to college the most common piece of unsolicited advice you receive is to get ready for the freshman 15, referring to the approximate 15 pounds the typical freshman gains during their first year of college as the begin to acclimate to life on their own and learn that the perpetual availability of Cane’s at 4 A.M. definitely does not mean you need Cane’s at 4 A.M. I could pay for grad school if I had a dollar for every time a well-meaning adult told me to “beware the freshman 15” by watching what I eat and always taking the stairs no matter what floor my dorm was on—though, let’s be real Brenda. Neither of us are walking up 9 flights of stairs in a humid stairwell after getting our asses handed to us by a midterm. That is an ice cream in the elevator situation.

No one warns of the opposite effect. Every adult concerns themselves with your potential weight gain at the hands of the only all you can eat Chick-fil-a in the world, but few, if any at all, take issue with the students either in recovery from or at risk of developing an eating disorder.

Until recent reflection I hadn’t considered just how much easier it is to maintain or develop an eating disorder while in college. Food is expensive, time is scarce, school is stressful, and for those with managed ADD or ADHD, stimulants almost always significantly if not completely deter appetite, a dangerous side effect for anyone with an ED. It’s typically easier to just decide you aren’t hungry, keep studying, and ignore the feeling in your stomach.

Any weight loss visible on trips home from school is usually greeted with a “Wow! College sure is treating you well!” or humorless quip about avoiding the freshman 15, and any weight gain is addressed as simply a symptom of college that will drop after the summer and a few dozen trips to the free gym on campus. Every mention of bodily appearance, especially regarding weight fluctuation, can be dangerous for someone with disordered eating tendencies, and for many students the problem isn’t noticed until it has become a crisis.

Campuses go to such extraordinary measures to prepare freshman for what could potentially be the most difficult year of their life thus far, with the advent of alcohol training and sexual assault awareness courses reaching colleges across the country.

But I think we can do better. For the startlingly high number of college students handling an eating disorder in some form during their freshman year, we can do better than the current 2.5% of colleges offering year round education and prevention programs for eating disorders. There are so many small ways to make students aware of the signs of an eating disorder and provide adequate knowledge of the resources available on or near campus for students who are in need of a little help. At least in my own experience, college students will at least attend just about anything if you provide a free t-shirt and/or some food—As a side note,  I can’t even begin to tell you just how many t-shirts I have for organizations I have never been even remotely involved in. As long as it doesn’t have an outwardly offensive message or image on it there is a 98% chance I, and so many others like me, will listen to anything you say, register for emails for whatever extracurricular you’re representing, and then wear the shit out the free t-shirt you hand me, thus providing easy advertising. As I’m writing this I have on a “Relay for Life 2015” shirt. I did not participate in the 2015 relay for life in any way shape or form.

A simple screening of students for eating disorders paired with students having the knowledge of how an eating disorder develops and progresses as well as what an eating disorder can look like can significantly help the hordes of students attending college, especially those attending a university for the first time.

College students have enough to worry about all on their own. Let’s help them only melt into a stress puddle about what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives and how they’re going to pay back the thousands of dollars of debt they have, not if, when, and what they deserve to eat.

 

Best of OU Create 9/11-9/17

The OU Create community made over 200 posts last week, about everything from study tips to study abroad. Without further ado, please enjoy the best of OU Create from 9/11 – 9/17!

And now for the weekly roundup…

First on our list is Caroline, who is enjoying her time studying abroad in Arezzo. She just took her first weekend trip away, travelling to Sorrento and the island of Capri.

Caroline’s photo of the Mediterranean

Haley wrote about her thoughts on the Baker Mayfield’s “flag plant” from last weekend. Haley shares an analysis of the even not only as an OU student, but also as a PR student.

The OU Community is the best resource for new Sooners to get acclimated to the university setting. We had two great posts this week about how to succeed in college. The first was from Ryan, who shared six tips for freshman. Any freshman looking for some advice, or even upperclassmen looking to engage more on campus, should check out Ryan’s post.

A screenshot of Ryan’s blog

For more general life advice, check out this post on “how to adult.” This list is full of practical advice, as well as some not-so-practical ideas for decompressing.

And that’s all for this week! Keep writing posts, and stay tuned for the next Best of OU Create roundup!

International Event #1: Pasta Making with Luccio

For my first international event,  I went to a pasta making class taught by Luccio, OUA’s student service coordinator. Pasta was surprisingly easy to make and I was amazed by how simple the recipe was. Even the ravioli wasn’t too difficult! This past weekend, I went home and made pasta for my mom. This time it was much more difficult than how I had remember ed it in class. Although my pasta pieces were rather misshapen, my mom made a great sauce to go with them. It was a great meal, overall. I enjoyed learning something at OU that I was able to bring back to my home. I will definitely be attending the pasta making class again next year, if I am able!

Quit Insulting Teachers

I am pretty unimpressed with some recent articles from the New York Times on Education, and this one is not an exception: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/technology/silicon-valley-teachers-tech.html 

This article outlines how teachers who participate in ambassador programs are as a bad as doctors that prefer drugs that were promoted through free lunches. How Insulting!

I was insulted by the article on multiple levels.   First, teachers are intelligent professionals and they can make intelligent choices (I know this is the doctor argument).. but how they came to the technology they promote is not accurately represented.

For example, I am not a FlipGrid ambassador but I could see doing it.. Why, I explored a free trial of the software and it filled an educational need.
Have I told other teachers about it? You betcha!!!
Did I need someone to give me a t-shirt to promote to others – No.. because I am a professional that understands how people learn and the transformative power of technology, so I made an instructional choice that I am jazzed about.    I tell others about it because it works for my classroom and I am excited about what it does.

There are lots of programs that I tell people about:  Flipgrid,  Twitter, Explain Everything, BookCreator, Clips, Adobe Spark Suite, Canva, CoSpaces, Remind, Doink GreenScreen, Code.org. Swift Playground, Botball Robotics and Badgelist etc..  Am I member of any of these promotional programs? No, because I am lucky enough to have the resources of a University and I am not starved or completely reliant on my own funds to get tech for my class. (But I do spend a bunch of my own money – for example I paid for Flipgrid because the paperwork was not worth my time).  I have rejected technologies and do it all the time – because I am a knowledgeable professional and can make choices.

But here is the big point of this- I care about the education of children and college students – and you insult me to think that I quit being a professional when someone gives me a sticker and all judgement flies out the window when someone gives me an endorsement.  I am a professional, a thinking and  ethical professional.   Educators are professionals.

We are starving our teachers, so yes, some of them are pimping themselves out for t-shirts and stickers so that they can get access to the tools that they know work well with kids and helps to supplement their curriculum.  I would consider being an ambassador for access to some of the free professional development they get.  Some of these ambassadors are great member of my professional learning network – (PLN) and they show me things about these tools that help me be a better teacher – things they sometimes learned through the access of the ambassador programs.

As far as being an Apple Distinguished Educator – the article has it backwards.  It is not an ambassador program, and I did not join it to get free Apple stuff.. I was doing Apple stuff and I joined it to get the ability to make the Apple stuff I was using better, interact with the development teams, and work with other educators that are doing amazing things. (They do talk about this)  There are Apple fanboys in the group, but honestly there are real conversations about workflow and what works best.. (which is not always Apple products). I know there are Apple people who tire of my criticism and critique.   I am insulted that the article infers that by being part of this group I have lost my ethical compass. Let me be clear,  I am part of this community to make my teaching and student experience better – through my learning and advanced knowledge.  This was a very ethical choice!

The way that we fund our schools has created this ethical dilemma. If we continue buying devices and then said – you can’t get any apps or programs for them, we force our teachers to be creative and try to get what their students’ need in different ways. From the Tulsa teacher panhandling for school supplies to the constant barrage of teachers asking for copy paper on Donors Choose – we have cut these professionals off at their knees. They know what is best for kids, because they are trained educators, and in our deficit educational economy, I too would get a free program if I wore their t-shirt a few times. If you don’t want teachers to have hustle and be scrappy- then fund them fully and provide them with a rich environment where they continue to learn and are free to innovate themselves.  Right now we are not doing that.

We need to trust our teachers to use their best judgement and we need to allow them to explore the professional tools available to them – like any educated career. Back to the Doctor argument – we don’t keep Doctors from prescribing other drugs, but they may not have the time to fully explore them.  What we see with teachers, is that they having to hustle to provide the basic classroom resources, if we supported them appropriately,  with both the tools, resources and time – they too could have more tools available in their pedagogical toolkit to help all learners learn.

In the end, the ethical dilemma is ours as a society and community.  We have the power to support and fund teachers and they deserve our respect, support and thanks -each and every day!

 

Wednesday, September 20

Today is Wednesday of WEEK 5. The second part of the reading is due today, and I hope you are getting some good ideas for a story you want to tell this week! Here is a link to this week's assignments.

Class Procedures and Reminders

Project Stack. I made a lot of progress through the stack yesterday: if you turned in something by 4PM on Sunday, you should have comments back from me. I'll keep working on the Sunday assignments today. While you are waiting on comments back from me about your Project assignment, you can check the stack to make sure I received your email.

Extra Credit. As you are doing the reading, you might find something you are curious about: look it up at Wikipedia, and follow the Wikipedia Trail! Find out more in the extra credit section of this week's assignments.

The following items are for fun and exploration:

Class Twitter. I thought this was so cool! From yesterday's Twitter @OnlineMythIndia, here is the earliest surviving painting of Stonehenge – a watercolour by a Dutch traveller, Lucas de Heere, circa 1574.


Word from Mythology. The word today is HYPNOTIC; Hypnos was the Greek God of Sleep.


Storybook Archive. This project is from the Indian Epics class, and it's the follow-up to the Myth-Folklore project that I shared yesterday: My Brothers Grimm: India Edition. Just what do the Brothers Grimm have to do with India? Meet John, the husband of Charlotte, sister to the Brothers Grimm... and see what happens when John finds himself in the midst of Indian epic adventures, with Charlotte and her brothers not far behind.


Free Book Online: Today's free book is Sumerian Mythology by Samuel Noah Kramer. See the Freebookapalooza blog for links and the table of contents. The Sumerians lived in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago; you can find out more at Wikipedia.


Story of the Day. Today's story is from Aesop's fables: The Milkmaid. It's a warning about building castles in the air: don't count your chickens before they hatch!


Video: I know some of you in the Myth-Folklore class are reading stories from Egypt this week, so the video for today is another of Amy Burvall's mash-up videos: King Tut ("Walking on the Sun" by Smash Mouth). Find out more at Amy's YouTube Channel.


Growth Mindset: Today's growth mindset cat is not giving up: I will try again! You can find out more at the Growth Mindset blog.


Event on Campus: There will be a Mexican Cooking Class in Farzaneh Hall from 2:30PM-4PM (details ... there is sad news out of Mexico after the earthquake, but I am assuming the Mexico Week events will continue as planned). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.


September 20: Rosh Hashanah. Tonight at sunset marks the start of the Jewish holiday of the New Year, Rosh-Ha-Shanah ("Head-of-Year"). According to Jewish tradition, this is the day of the year on which God created man. One of the rituals on Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar, the ram's horn. You can read more about the holiday at Wikipedia, and below you can see the blowing of the shofar in an illuminated Hebrew manuscript:



Check out the Twitter stream for information and fun stuff during the day, or click here for past announcements.

Investigating My Client Through The Media

As I concluded the beginning stages of my client research, I had the opportunity to dig deep in investigating my client’s presence in the media and what that meant from a public relations perspective. I performed a media audit and S-W-O-T analysis on my client, and made many insightful discoveries.

In the media audit, I searched and analyzed the amount of hits I received when searching my client by name, leader name and field/industry. I started with local search engines such as The OU Daily and The Norman transcript and then broadened my search by using Lexis Nexis and analyzing my client’s social media accounts. Lastly, I searched for my client through an ethnic medium focused on the Native American culture.

Overall, these diverse searches helped me to gain insight on not only my client but PR as a whole. I was able to form new perspectives and I believe that I now have a good understanding of my client’s current media standing and how I can strive to improve it.  

As for the S-W-O-T analysis, it was extremely helpful to be able to analyze and break down the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how they will affect my client.

Where does my client currently stand?

This past week’s assignment included scanning different mediums to see how much public exposure my client has in different areas and to conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis. I’ll be honest- I’ve learned about the S.W.O.T. analysis in different classes, but I’ve never been required to complete my own.

Needless to say, I was slightly hesitant on how well this assignment would play out for me…

 

The S.W.O.T. analysis allows a business to assess its current status in relation to internal and external factors. (https://financenewmexico.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SWOT-Analysis.jpg)

However, I found both parts of the assignment very rewarding for my client research process. I now have a clearer understanding of where my client needs more exposure, what its strengths and opportunities are and, conversely, what its weaknesses and threats are.

 

I plan to use the data I have gathered to improve my client’s representation, especially on LinkedIn, within local ethnic mediums and within the OU Daily newspaper.

Through my work on this PR campaign project, I intend for Castle Row Studios to be a name that the Oklahoman music industry, along with the general Oklahoman population, will know and love.

 

Media Analysis

Hello World!!

This week we were taught how to do a media analysis for our current client. My client is Beautiful You With Mariah Lenee. We searched for various different forms of media on various available databases and archives. We also did our best to find not only local, but national media footprints that our clients might have left. This would allow for us to be able to know what shoes we needed to e sure to fill!
I think that this was a good exercise for us to be able to do! This helped us see what kind of media presence was created in the past as well as what kind of media presence we should make sure our client resembled according to past experiences. This is incredibly helpful in Public Relations. It helps us to place exactly where our client is at and allows for us to create media strategies that will help our client get the absolute best results! I think that this will allow for us to be more prepared when doing actual client consultations in the work space and give us the opportunity to be one step ahead of our colleagues! I am excited to see what we do next in this class!

Image result for media
Source: Odyssey

Using Apple Distinguished Educator Books in Preservice Teacher Education

So I have been asked by local schools to quit teaching smartboard.  I am on the fence about this because my ed tech classes are a mix of Early childhood, elementary and secondary students.  So this semester, I instead made smartboard a choice, not a requirement and we will see how that goes.

Instead I made interactive whiteboard apps a requirement.  (they have been for several years) but I have always struggled to think of a way to have students use them in a meaningful way and not waste important content time.  Also, slimming smartboard bought me more coding time, a chance to visit our connect ed school in OKC, and more time for interactive whiteboards.

  • Previous Attempts:
    I have had them make tutorials (snoozeville) and then it also only focuses on the tech not content.
  • Last year I tried to have them report on Horizon report and the National Ed tech plan – and that was problematic for two reasons. Dry content and then they tried to use the IWB as powerpoint -which they are not..

So I had to redesign the assignment again.  Additionally, on my evaluations, I always have complaints about not doing enough allow enough content choices (ie.. secondary want to do secondary, early childhood want early childhood etc..) And all my students have iPads so how do I do it?

This summer I realized I was not using a great resource – the Apple Distinguished Educator Books available in the iBooks store.  They can be hard to search for but there is way to link to them.
https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewMultiRoom?cc=us&fcId=1107473595&mt=11

This listing gets you to all the books that have been published by Apple Distinguished Educators where they associated it with their account.   These are stories from the classroom,  of how they are using Apple tools in the classroom and different Apps.

So to teach interactive whiteboards, I divided students up into groups and assigned them a interactive whiteboard ish app (Baiboard, Notability, Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe,  Paper by 53, and NearPod)  Then I let them pick any book from this list.. It was great because they triaged the books for me and could share with their classmates a few that are really good.

Lessons Learned
I am pretty happy with the assignment, they picked things they liked and were able to demo the apps well. I learned some new tricks in different apps and students were creative in using the tools.   They also had strong opinions which is what I wanted them to have so they can influence choices as a teacher by their school.

They needed more than 10 minutes for sure to present though.  I need to also add a youtube tutorial watching requirement (I could tell the groups that knew the apps better than others). Finally, I need to make a dibs google doc. ( Ie.. I need to have people call “Dibs” on a book), because after three classes, Bea Leiderman, I love ya, but if I see the Aphid story one more time, I am going to wig out.  So not allowing a duplicate book is more for me than anyone else.  Also, I could have directed them towards some that I really like – for example no one read Peter Esperanza, Brendan Kelly, Letty Batista or Dustin Carlson,(to name a few there are so many  more..)  and those are some good books for my preservice audience.  However, in the end their choice was important for me both to learn what mattered to them and to give them ownership.   Also it seems there are books that I know that are out there do not show populate the ADE directory in iBooks – different Apple ID maybe?  (For example Letty, Samantha and Jim ‘s heart book which is published under UGA – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-heart-lungs-corazon-y-pulmones/id1047843039?mt=11 )

Here are some of the books
I did not get an exhaustive list,(and I fudged the titles a bit as I went – my apologies but use the links)  but here are some of the good ones that students really liked.. If you are not checking out Apple Distinguished Educator books on the IBooks store, you should be.

Mary Kemper is a Math Rockstar !  I have had several students create reviews of two of her books. what I really liked that is that elementary and secondary math minded students found stuff they liked.
Patterns – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/patterns/id1195763478?mt=11
Photo Walks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/photo-walks/id1193098306?mt=11

Bea Leiderman – Great story books with her bug photography My students really went to the Lady Bug and Aphids – They loved the independent nature of aphids – cuz they don’t need no man!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-lady-and-the-aphid-a-tale-of-two-bugs/id898064625?mt=11

Rabbi Michael Cohen -Students Teaching Students  This sparked a good discussion on how to group students.   https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/student-teaching-students/id1081721908?mt=11

Mat Pullen – Engaging Parents – students liked this because they feel not especially well prepared.  They also loved Mat’s son in the pictures. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-schools-can-engage-with-parents-using-technology/id1024718761?mt=11

Jodie Deinheimer -Middle School zoo book.  This was a favorite among all three classes. They liked that the students had made the book themselves and found it appropriate for elementary students as well.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/through-their-eyes/id1105593599?mt=11

Cathy Hunt – IPad Art – I had three really artsy students – all different majors and they loved trying out the apps and getting inspired about how they could incorporate art in the regular curriculum.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ipad-art/id706608032?mt=11

John Neal Augmented Reality – This book was great because it made it seem approachable (which it is) and the students had ideas about using it AR right away and they tied it into IOS 11 and how you will be able to use AR tool kit.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/augmented-reality-a-teachers-handbook/id1074499012?mt=11

Joe Allen – this book was very popular because students were hungry for ideas to help students. While it is Aussie, it had some great overviews for the students to think about accessibility and easy to use apps. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/technology-to-support-students-literacy-difficulties/id1068322814?mt=11

Jenny Graibec – Jenny is well known as an expert for kids with learning differences. Many of my students reviewed this book and she took the air out of my accessibility lesson. happy to have that happen.  Students were excited to try out the tools she talked about. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ican-with-ios/id1057967830?mt=11

Natalie Woodward  This is an international book and I don’t think I know Natalie.  but the book was called iFlipped and it really had students debating if flipped learning was a good or bad thing.  Fruitful discussion for sure. Many were unsure what flipped was.. so definitions were great.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/iflipped/id1097347389?mt=11

David Wingler – Gamification for Math.  This book was chosen often for a great cover and gamification. Students explored using this app and liked the idea.  It will be food for thought. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/gamification-made-easy/id1052413867?mt=13

April Requard Keynote for storytelling. Students really enjoyed this book because of the showcase of student work and the creativity. It allowed me to talk about the updated vector shapes in Keynote which was a great teachable moment.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-key-note-to-storytelling/id1058989829?mt=11

Students used Educreations with screen shots to show assistive tech settings. 

Students used vending machine cheese its to show counting patterns. 

 

I flipped had students explore if flipped learning was “good’ 

Students Baiboard as a group presentation with questions throughout.

Let’s Get Real.

Those of you who’ve known me for several years know I’ve blogged here and there throughout my college career. A few weeks ago, my mother mentioned that maybe I should get back into it. I brushed her off, told myself I didn’t have time, nor did I, the least perfect Christian, have time to write about anything, let alone God and His word.

But I kept thinking about it. Various people I follow on social media have blogs: fashion blogs, makeup and hair blogs, Jesus blogs, home decor blogs, basketball blogs. Wow, that pretty much sums me up… anyway, I was constantly reminded of this whole blogging thing.

I was, and still am, afraid it might alienate people in my life. While I have a lot of Christian friends and family, I also have people in my life who wouldn’t necessarily select the “Christian” option on the demographics portion of a survey. (That was a reference to my hard work as a public relations student and I know Calvin Washington read that and laughed, so you’re welcome.)

The more I’ve learned about God, Christianity, Jesus, the disciples, and all of their teachings, the more I know that I’m not alone in my feelings of fear, uncertainty, worry, and anxiousness. These are all very normal things to feel, not just as a Christian, but as a 20-something about to graduate college and become an *adult*. My mom will even admit to you that she feels these as a 29-year-old 😉 with two (almost grown) kids, a full-time job and a strong faith in God.

Recently I’ve gotten back into church. I’ve been serving in youth ministry. I’ve had my eyes opened to what feels like a whole new world. I grew up going to church and knowing about God and Jesus and that God sent his only begotten son and whoever believes in him shall never die, but have eternal life (if you didn’t know 1. that was John 3:16 or 2. sing the song from Sunday school, KEEP READING). But there are so many things that I wish I would’ve understood at 12, not 22. This blog is going to tell you all about those things, so here we go:

One of the 13-year-old girls in my small group at church told me something a couple weeks ago that will forever stick in my brain.

When asked about the Christian atmosphere of her school, she looked me right in the eyes and said “There’s a lot of Christian Atheists.”

Christian. Atheists.

Doesn’t seem like it should go together, right? I’ve heard that before, but not from the mouth of an 8th grader. I was floored.

I asked her to explain and she said, “Well, you know, they go to church and maybe have a Bible verse in their Instagram bio, but they don’t really live a Christian lifestyle. They cuss and do things they’re not supposed to, like smoke and drink.”

You want to know what I told her?

“It doesn’t get easier. There are more and more of those people as you get older. And I’ve been one of them. I still am.”

We all have, whether you want to admit it or not. With all the worldly influences, it’s hard not to be a Christian Atheist. Society makes excessive drinking seem cool, sex seem casual and provocative fashion seem stylish. Think about it: Victoria’s Secret Angels are #lifegoals, making it on Total Frat Move or Old Row is a college kid’s dream and getting fake IDs is the norm as soon as your parents walk out of your dorm room after move-in freshman year.

(@parents: for the record, I’ve never made it on TFM or Old Row, nor have I ever had a fake ID)

I know only the Lord know what’s in everyone’s heart. But I will say it doesn’t look like any of these people, not the VS Angels who get paid millions to wear lingerie in public, not blackout drunk frat boys who have a fetish for jumping off roofs onto beer pong tables, not college girls who think it’s cool to wear swimsuits that barely cover ANYTHING in hopes of being a Barstool Smokeshow, are living anywhere close to a Christian lifestyle.

Here’s the interesting part: I know college kids who have been on Barstool, TFM, TSM, Old Row, and the like, who go to church, who regularly post Bible verses, who grew up in Christian households. There are plenty of supermodels, professional athletes and celebrities of all kinds (minus Tom Cruise) who regularly “thank God #blessed *insert praying hands emojis*” for what they’ve been given.

So what went awry?

I’m going out on a limb here, and some of you might not agree, but I think kids are being taught a sugarcoated version of the Bible. Maybe I have early onset dementia, but all I remember being taught in my pre-college Christian life was about the Ten Commandments, David and Goliath, the story of Jesus (birth, death, resurrection), and a few random parables. Here’s 5 things I wish somebody would’ve told me at 12, not 22:

Nobody told me, “Hey, excessive drinking is a sin.” Everybody thinks, “Oh, Jesus drank wine, so can I!” Yeah, but in moderation. Remember: Your body is the home of the Holy Spirit, treat it as such. You don’t want the Holy Spirit getting so drunk that it can’t guide you to good decisions.

Nobody told me that homosexuality was a sin. Not at 12, anyway. I learned it on my own while exploring God’s word at about 15. Society makes it seem normal to be gay and teaches us that we should accept these people and treat them equally. I could go on about what the Bible teaches us about homosexuality, marriage and relationships for days. There will be a post on this topic soon.

Nobody told me that the man of the house, the husband and father, was supposed to lead the family in their walk with Christ. Many of you reading this know my parents are divorced. I would’ve thought moms were supposed to lead the family to God based on how I grew up. It was always Mom who drug me out of bed and curled my hair and made me wear *pantyhose* to church as an 8-year-old. It was always Mom that was running late to church because she spent all morning getting Max and I ready to go. It was always Mom that referenced God in everyday conversation. I definitely have Mom to thank for my desire to grow closer to God.

Nobody told me I’m supposed to openly praise God in my everyday life. I spend each morning reading my devotional (Jesus Calling, FYI) and reflecting on that day’s message. I read the accompanying verses and journal about them. While the Bible constantly reminds us to be the Light (Matthew 5), we don’t do this. You can’t go out scantily clad, drink until you pass out, skip class, barely pass every semester and lead people to God. We’re not perfect, but leading the polar opposite of a perfect lifestyle, without even trying to get better, will not grow the church.

Nobody told me to not worry and plan EVERYTHING. A lot of you know I over-analyze and worry and try to plan out my life. That’s so stressful and takes up so much energy. I wish someone would’ve drilled it in my head a long time ago that I’m not supposed to worry because God has my back, He has a plan for me.

There will be individual posts on this and many more topics soon. I just wanted to put this out there to get you thinking. 🙂

-M-