Tag Archives: personal

A Simple Surprise

An innocent comment can sometimes lead to surprises. Sometimes a negative surprise while other times you’re lucky and it’s a sweet little surprise.

I’m not sure how it came about but the other day I mentioned a particular movie in conversation. Today I received this beautiful little piece.


That was my day. How was yours? 


Flannel Shirts & Camping

Tall and lanky.
Stubborn to the point that at times it was frustrating.
Very straight & to the point.

These are just a few of the characteristic Pap Barrick had. In my Slice on Sunday I focused on Pap G. But now it’s time to talk about Pap B. On that side of the family I was one of five grandkids.  But I was just one of two that was super close to Mam & Pap. For I just lived 2 blocks south of them. And for years that was wonderful. Most afternoons if I wasn’t next door you would find me up the street. While I did enjoy spending time talking about books and sewing quilts with Mam it was Pap I found myself talking about life and more serious things. I don’t know why but we just did.

He was the grandfather who every summer and even fall (up until I entered 1st grade) we would go camping with in Tennessee. It always makes me laugh when I think about how every year as we were leaving Bristol and headed into Pigeon Forge he would be on the CB Radio and just cussing up a storm about the traffic. I would get on our radio and inform him that I’m able to hear him and then break into a giggle fit. The next thing I knew Mam would be saying, “Johnny!” And then more cussing and he would shut it off. They would camp in the spot next to us every time and every morning I would get ready and head out our camper door, across the campfire area and right up to their door. We camped together for many years until Mam fell out of the motorhome in South Carolina when I was 7.

In the years following I always would visit and just like before I would talk to Mam about books & quilts. Pap and I would have the more serious talks and I honestly loved that. It made me feel all grown up. I remember when I was 13 we were sitting there and he looked at me and said, “You and I both had a big world changing event happen at age 13. Mine was Pearl Harbor. I remember it like it was yesterday.” When I went away to college our talks happened less frequently, but I still tried to find time to visit.

Mam unexpectedly passed away in January of 2012. It was only 8 months after losing Pap G and that hit me hard. But not as hard as Pap B. He stayed semi-healthy until 2016. Around June he started declining and I knew it was coming because I had seen it in Pap G. We lost him in the early hours of August 19, 2016.

In 2016 one big fashion trend came back: flannel. Both of Pap G and Pap B wore flannel, but I associated one particular color with both. Red was Pap G’s color. Hunter green was Pap B. If you were to look into my closet you will find six flannel shirts, but I have two that are quite dear to me. That Christmas I received a red flannel and a hunter green flannel. Every time I wear them it makes me miss both of them so much. And at the same time I feel like they are still with me.

Oh if only I could back…



Closing my eyes I start the box jumps. ‘It’s only for 40 seconds,’ I think. I hear the DING again and I pause. Catching my breath I prepare myself for the next round of 40 seconds of box jumps. I do this for a total of four times.

  • Rounds 5-8: Deadlift with a tricep extension
  • Rounds 9-12: jumping jacks
  • Rounds 13-16: Single Leg Hip Bridge (left leg)
  • Rounds 17:20: Single Leg Hip Bridge (right leg)
  • Rounds 21-24: In & Outs
  • Rounds 25-28: Rainbows (Left Leg)
  • Rounds 29-32: Rainbows (Right Leg)
  • Rounds 33-36: Planks

By the time I hit the plank part of the workout my legs I’m starting to give out. But then I get this message:

❝You can do it! Hold 5 more seconds.❞

About that time I hear my timer counting down with the 5 clicks. I grit my teeth and finish out those last 5 seconds. Their encouragement came at a much needed moment.

20180319_191724853658502.jpg20180319_1936311020899922.jpgSlowly but surely I’m getting back to my fit self. I know I can do it-I just need to follow through.  And stick with it this time.

Old Books

Have you ever read a book, fell in love with it, and then misplace it?

I have and this past Saturday when I was looking through some boxes I came across my missing book! It’s The Stone Forest by Karen Harper. I remember I bought it when I was in 7th grade and my family went on a trip to the beach in South Carolina. We had stopped in Charlotte overnight and somehow I convinced them to find a Barnes and Noble. After walking up and down the aisles I came across said book.

The back cover said it ❝had many twists and turns❞ and is ❝an exciting, chilling puzzle, a real page turner.❞

Now when have back covers ever been correct in their description? In my experience it’s kind of rare. Typically they over-hype the plot and it’s only a twist or two at best. But this book was one of those I couldn’t put down. I needed to know what happened next and who was behind what. In the years that I had first bought it I had read it several times over. But a couple years ago I was changing my bookshelf around and happened to place it in a box that was going into the basement. I labeled it on the box but didn’t put it in the right one. Somehow I’ve always missed going through the box it was in and I may have done a little dance of joy when I found it again.

I came upstairs, fired up my reading playlist and dove right back in. It pulled me in once again and even though I knew how it ended that familiar feeling of needing to know returned. There were a couple of twists I had completely forgotten about.  I’ve read other books by this particular author but none of them compared to The Stone Forest.  If you want to read this book, good luck because I don’t think it’s in print any longer in paperback format.


A Small Ray of Sunshine

Support is something everyone needs whether the reason is positive or negative.  Certain situations require a lot of emotional, physical and mental stress. And that’s when you need your friends and family even more.  Support can come in the form of someone calling just to say ‘I’m here for you’ or ‘Is there anything I can do?’

In my experience I have come to find out that I have an incredible amount of support from my family and my church family. But right now a situation that I’m going through doesn’t involve just me. It involves the teachers at my school, in my county, in my state. West Virginia teachers have been feeling the strain of rising insurance premiums but no raise in pay. It hit its breaking point in February. After a rally in Charleston our union told us to walk out on Thursday 2/22 and Friday 2/23. That way all of the Board of Educations had time to prepare for this and so would the parents. It’s March 2nd…and we’re still out. Everyday we either have a group in Charleston at the Capitol or we are standing out in the rain, wind, and on those rare days sunshine, picketing. We’ve had a large amount of support since we walked out. Parents have stopped by dropping off food, hand warmers, or coffee. Retired teachers have come to stand with us like they did in 1990. Drivers have honked their horns, waved, and one even held up a sign that said YOU ROCK!

But that was a week ago. Everyday we grow a little more tired and a little more worried of when the public support is going to fade. Yesterday in the middle of a downpour a small ray of sunshine came glistening through in the form of an elderly gentleman. He pulled up in his van, opened the trunk and brought out homemade brownies, coffee, and napkins. We thanked him many times and he smiled, replied that it was nothing, and left. We started passing the coffees out, grabbing a brownie or two, and reached for a napkin. And that’s when a 1st grade teacher noticed that there was something written on it. It said you are special. We smiled and we told her to set it aside because that little note was sweet. The next napkin had writing on it too and the next one and the next one.

28577725_10213857162735153_5417362509529088_nThis brought on the tears. The morale was boosted immensely and several of us wished we had thanked that man more. We added his name to the notebook to the list of people we will be sending a handwritten thank you note. With our backs a little straighter, our heads held a little higher, and our hearts overflowing with gratitude we grabbed our umbrellas and walked back out into the rain to continue our shift.


Welcome to my “Classroom”

It’s Day 1 of a month long Writing Challenge. Last year was my first year participating & I grew so much as a writer and an educator. There are several of us returning but just like the classroom there are several new faces. Hello and welcome!

My name is Anna. I’m a first year 4th grade teacher in West Virginia. I’m hoping by now you know that we’re a state. We’ve been in the news as of late. I teach at my childhood elementary school in a room that has a great view of the playground. My grade level team works well together and we are so supportive of one another.  I have 23 caring and creative students.

In my personal time you will either find me curled up with a good book, at the gym, or at church for bell choir practice, choir practice or a meeting. I’ve been really excited to begin by second year of this challenge. I think this will help me keep my mind busy by writing about something NOT related to the strike. I will be honest I’m tired (physically and mentally) but I think we still have a long road ahead of us. I’m looking forward to making new connections with new colleagues. Even though we have never met nor probably never will I do learn a lot from everyone. And there’s a bond of friendship behind it too. I always tend to comment on a few Slicers that we’ve come to bond over certain memories, classroom experiences, or our personalities are similar.

Happy Slicing Everyone!


Taking a Stand

I work in a state that is fed up. We are tired of being ranked 48th in pay, being told we would be forced to take part in a health program that if we did not partake in we would be slammed with a $50 monthly fee, and the idea of a 1% pay raise that is wiped out by our hike in insurance fees is quite laughable.

If you haven’t heard West Virginia teachers are taking a stand. There are 55 counties and all of us are fed up. We love our jobs and especially our students.  But this insurance we have has got to be changed. The southern counties are being hit the hardest it seems with pay cuts and the largest amount of the teacher shortage.

This morning my school held an informational picket.  I knew several were coming, but still when I joined in there was an overwhelming sense of pride came over me.  I have read in books (Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, etc…) where people come together and let their voice be heard. But NEVER had I taken part in one.


We stood out there from 6:45 AM-7:20 AM. There were so many cars that drove by and honked their support. Even large semi-trucks honked their horns and that’s when we really cheered.  The woman standing next to me is my mentor teacher and an incredible educator.


If you can, please just keep the state of West Virginia in your thoughts. We’re on a roll but at the moment I don’t see any of the legislators changing their minds in our favor. BUT WE’RE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP!

27545636_10216176856560047_5675122532567439249_n#55strong #wvunited

Welcome 2018!

This morning I woke up to sunshine beaming around the edges of my blind.  Pulling it up I was welcomed with the sight of glittering snow and abundant sunshine. However the sunshine was being quite deceptive. Looking at the temperature on my phone it was a balmy 7 degrees. After getting my coffee fixed and some Cocoa Wheat I sat down to begin writing my Aspirations for this year. But after sitting there for 15 minutes with nothing on my paper I decided that this year I’m doing something different. This year I’m choosing a word-just one word to keep me focused on this year. My word is:

Steadfast-resolutely or dutifully firm. Unwavering. Loyal. Faithful. Devoted. Dedicated. Steady. True. Single-minded. Uncompromising.

What I like about this word is I can apply it in all areas of my life. My job, family, relationship, faith, and fitness. I’m going to attempt to be more steadfast in writing in this blog this year too.

Before I went to work on my room and do some lesson plans this morning I drove on up to the local park and took some pictures.

The photo with the swing set is the view from my window at work.  There was a breeze while I was at the park and the way the snow fluttered off of the branches it looked like glitter. There is beauty in winter, despite the cold, if you’re willing to look for it. I have hope for 2018. Day 1 of 365 is nearly over but I’m happy with what I did today.

Sunday Lately #121

Sunday Lately  is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe, which is led by the powerhouse duo Katy (Wild and Wanderful) & Angelica (Gardening in High Heels).  We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own worlds. We’d love if you could join us!

This week’s themes: Laughing, Suggesting, Reminding, Embracing, Creating.

It’s been a few Sundays since I last joined in on this weekly linkup. Time to jump back into it!

Laughing-I spent a lot of time laughing with the kids during Sunday School today. We were talking about last Sunday of how nice the Easter service was and one of them told me I was left behind. I looked at him and asked, “What do you mean by that?”

“I was left behind in the parking lot.”


“Because of that idiot right there!”-he pointed at his older brother. Older brother just grins.

“He told Nana that I was in the car and I wasn’t!  I just stood in the lot and watched them drive off. They went down the street and turned the corner before I saw her stop and a minute later she was back.”

“Well that’s good she came back for you.”

“She didn’t come back for me! She came back to give the preacher a card. She didn’t even know I wasn’t in the car until she pulled into the parking lot!”

Cue laughter.

Suggesting-Go outside and take a walk. Enjoy the beauty of spring.

Reminding-Myself that it’s okay to do something for yourself. More on that in the next theme…

Embracing-Your inner self confidence and loving the body you have.  Yesterday was my day to go to Morgantown for the boudoir photo session I had booked a month ago. I was nervous but the second I walked into the studio and finally met Jodi it all went away. She was amazing and I felt completely comfortable. We talked a bit while I was getting my hair and makeup done and the next thing I knew it was time to start. I time went by so fast and one thing I found myself thinking was ‘I’m totally owning my sensuality right now.’ And then she let me see a couple of the pictures and I was blown away. I could see my self confidence shining through. I can’t wait to get the sneak peek email from her soon. I did this entire session for me.


Creating-a new playlist full of songs that remind me of someone quite special. He makes me happy and I haven’t been this happy in a long time.

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup presented by the Blogger Tribe.Next week’s themes: Digging, Aiding, Experimenting, Believing, Refreshing

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe