Tag Archives: #determination


This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song…
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes because I’ve still got lot of fight left in me.

Fight Song ~ Rachel Platten

Have you heard it? Are you living it? If you are here and reading this now, you need to fight. Fight for your beliefs. Fight for others. Fight for love. Fight for your life. We aren’t necessarily talking about breaking out the boxing gloves, but we are talking about not going down without a fight. For whatever path you are on.

Hard work and determination can take you places – a lot of places on your winding path. I have spent the past few weeks watching my boys work hard at practice and play all over the countryside…and even yard work in the backyard. I get tired just watching them, but I never tire of watching them. They go all out – whether in an AAU game on the court or in the backyard on the court or pulling weeds for their crazy mother (aka – me).

It amazes me how deep all three of my sons can dig. From running and strength training (Jackson) to breaking boards to pass his second poom junior black belt test (Jonah) to pulling out his own tooth because his dad said that he couldn’t do it (JR) – my boys’ determination surprises me and impresses me.

JV PACE  Jonah jr boards   JR baseball

One example to share about my oldest … He has discovered intrinsic motivation this year at the age of 13. He has grown up to the point of becoming my cheerleader. We used to run together last summer, and he pretty much loathed it. Something happened. This summer when we run together, or rather, start our run together, he speeds off into the sunset and then runs in place while he cheers me on to catch up. He then proceeds to “fist-bump” me and say something to the effect of “Nice work, Mom. Keep it up. I knew you could do it.”

 JV T&F 4

What has happened here?  He decided to fight to be better than he was and change his mindset. He decided to put in the hard work and dedication to get better for him, not me or anyone else. I keep thinking to myself, “where did this new found drive come from?” He just made a decision to get better and work through his discomfort. One of the reasons I think he works so hard is watching his cousin, Carter, fight. He is fighting against Ewing Sarcoma. This life-altering fight has caused many of us to press pause and then push forward and fight harder. If Carter can do what he is doing with a positive outlook, we can do so much more than we did before.

TeamCarter                  Carterstrong

Sometimes life’s challenges can make us reflect on our lives and work harder to be better than yesterday. We just need a little motivation to get us past the initial discomfort and fight harder.

We need to motivate ourselves and each other. It is time to re-energize. To be able to do that again or to do it better or to try something new… It seems the opportune time to do so –summer, a break, a vacation – the perfect time to repurpose, reenergize, renew, and fight.

Work hard. Play hard. Fight. Repeat. Switch up the order as needed. This post has gone a little off its original course, but the moral of the story is to fight.



Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

30 Day Challenge…Done!

Done! Check! We are finally finished! This month seemed to drag on, and it’s only because of this SACS challenge we agreed to. Whose idea was this anyway?? 🙂  We still chuckle when our office administrator said something to us about treats and we said we can’t. She wrinkled her nose and said, “You’re both still doing that challenge? It’s been forever since you started it.” Well, we are done. Tougher than expected, but we survived. This is what tomorrow will look like:

Either google images or Wendy's hidden stash
Either google images or Wendy’s hidden stash 

Okay, just kidding… 🙂  Below we share our experiences with this low/no Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Salt 30-day challenge…

Sonya: Peer pressure is an amazing thing – whether you are 13 or 30-something. Everything in our challenge is somehow tied socially in life. There were times it was difficult because saying “no” to something felt like saying “no” to friends and colleagues. Anyone who knows me knows that no is something of an unknown. 🙂 Got that? Hope so. The easiest piece for me was staying with “no” as I did with caffeine – coffee and soda – and alcohol because I knew exactly if I was taking them in or not. Salt and sugar were more challenging because they seem to be everywhere. Fruit helped curb my sweet-tooth, but I did cave a few times (3 to be exact) and enjoy a treat – usually with the help of peer pressure. It has been a successful experience testing my will power. We are always stronger than we realize and although this wasn’t necessarily moving mountains, it gave me perspective to consider that someday I might be able to… and to appreciate all 30 days of this month. Valuable lessons learned in this experiment…and one lesson learned is I know I will enjoy tomorrow – October 1st very much.

Wendy: This was way harder than I thought. The easiest of the four items for me was giving up caffeine. I had already started to make the transition to decaf way before we started this challenge so it wasn’t like I went ‘cold-turkey.’ The other three items were more of a challenge. During the work week was easier to stay on track. My day usually started with a Green Monster smoothie (spinach, frozen kale, ½ frozen banana, raspberries, scoop of chocolate Slim Fast®, ground flax seed, and coconut milk); grapes and decaf coffee for a morning snack; Mason Jar salad for lunch with range dressing; apple or other fruit for a snack in the afternoon, and then homemade chicken vegetable soup or another protein, vegetable, and glass of wine for supper. Weekends were tough! One of my worst days was when I craved salt. I buckled and ate several Lays Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper® potato chips. I didn’t kick myself too hard for caving though; I did my best to get back on track to the low end of this challenge. The past 30 days has made me really think about what I am eating or drinking; which I am hoping will become a habit—think first before consuming. My end results after 30 days: 5 pounds lost. Not as much as I had hoped, BUT, my clothes are fitting a little looser than they did last fall. I’m pleased with that.

What will be our next challenge? Well, let’s just say we are not frantically looking for one to start. Although we have some ideas, we have a whole day to decide, and one thing we learned about this past 30-day challenge is that each day counts. Go ahead and give the SACS challenge a try. We challenge you to challenge yourself! If you do, please let us know how it went for you. Until next time…stay calm and eat healthy.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

30-Day Challenge Update: 3 Ways to Be Successful

google images Blog about a squirrel? Maybe...
google images
Blog about a nutty squirrel? Maybe…

WAHOO…we are half way there. Not time to celebrate yet, but as of today, we are doing very well on our 30-day SACS challenge this month. If you did not read our blog a few weeks ago, we challenged ourselves to 30 days of low to no Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Salt (SACS.) We did not find this challenge in a book anywhere; we just made it up and dared ourselves.

Wendy has been more on the low end of this challenge. Of course when you are trying so hard NOT to indulge in birthday cupcakes, birthday cheese cake, wedding wine, and family gathering potato chips, all of these goodies show up to taunt you. Wendy has done well, though…she has only had a little bit of the wine, chips, and one small bite of banana pumpkin bread—she has stayed faithful to continue on the low end path of this challenge. As for caffeine…so far so good. That culprit has been the easiest for her to ignore. She still drinks her coffee in the morning; however, it’s decaf. The salt is the most difficult for Wendy. Salt is in everything. We need some salt to stay healthy so reading labels has become a must during this challenge. Wendy chooses the lowest salt-content foods possible. Her favorite new product after reading these labels…1/3 Less Sodium & Sugar Skippy Peanut Butter ®. As of today, Wendy has lost 4 pounds.

Sonya has been aiming for the no of this challenge… at first because she just didn’t realize the low was an option. (This really has something to do with following directions and selective hearing.) So far, so good… minus the small pumpkin bar slip up because her mama makes the best there is! Back in college this bar recipe almost caused a meltdown of world war status with college roomies because someone (to this day unknown) decided to consume more than the allotted roommate amount. Anyway – you get the idea of how simply divine these yummy bars are… Sonya caved. There is still no in the alcohol and caffeine categories respectively. It is now just a mission to make it happen, and it is amazing how socially tied these two are and how often. It takes 30 days to truly appreciate this challenge. The toughest part by far is staying away from salt simply because it is in almost everything. We do need it so low is the route to go. As of today, Sonya has lost a little over 6 pounds but most importantly, feels good with energy to spare despite the no cup of Joe.

(If you feel like this has a “weight watchers anonymous” feel to it and are concerned, read on to move on….)

Has this challenge been easy…not one iota. We have found that we are determined, focused, and have our colleagues and spouses cheering us on. These three traits could help our SMSU teacher candidates go from ‘good’ teaching to ‘great’ teaching. These three traits could help all of us to be more successful, really.

Determined: As you enter the field of teaching, future teachers, be determined to be the best you can be, and then continue to work at it every day! Those great teachers have worked hard to become great. If you want to be like them, you have to work as hard as they did to get there. Believe you can get there and strive for it each day.

Focused: A cute scene from the movie Up, Dug the dog is easily distracted by squirrels. 🙂 We just love movies, don’t you? Oh wait… what were we saying? Oh yeah – Try to stay as focused as you can, future teachers. Focus on what is really important…the students and their learning. Stay away from those focus stealers like negativity, high stakes testing, and stinky feet.

Support: Having our colleagues cheer us on has meant so much to us. We appreciate their support. Find at least one person in your building who will support you in your teaching, future teachers. It may be your grade level or content co-worker. It may be the music teacher. It may be your paraprofessional who is your right-hand woman or man. Also rely on your spouse or significant other or even your mom or dad to support you and cheer you on. Even though the challenge is for only 30 days…it seems a lot longer than that when you are right smack dab in the middle of it. Find those people who bless you, not stress you. [Click 2 Tweet]

Good luck to you if you have joined us in this challenge. Wahoo—only 15 more days to go. We CAN do this!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

Growing up I convinced my parents that I must have the educational video program, Where There’s A Will There’s an A. I was just about to enter high school, and thought I needed some preparation for the upcoming four years. I watched the video several times, and took notes like nobody’s business. Did the video pay off? I am not so sure about the video itself, but the time I spent working hard at learning how to succeed in school certainly did. Although my older brother rarely studied and did well, I was determined to study lots and do well in school. I somehow envisioned my life as a professional student. Turns out it wasn’t far from the truth. 🙂 I worked hard and was determined to succeed at school. The saying is quite true after all: Where there’s a will there’s a way. ~SV


Hard work and determination are two peas in pod.  Sometimes it just seems impossible for something to grow out of almost nothing.  Consider the picture of new life growing out of the pavement.  Seems unrealistic, right? Well, there it is, pushing through any barriers in its way, standing tall and proud in the sunshine as if to say “I did it.”

At the age of 4, Lindsey Carmichael was diagnosed with McCune-Albright Syndrome, a genetic disease that affects the bones. Lyndsey experienced several bone fractures and surgeries to correct these breaks. All this resulted in the use of body casts, crutches, and a wheelchair. When Lindsey was 13, her math teacher overheard her telling a friend that her physical education class lacked activities for her and anyone who was in a wheelchair. This math teacher inspired Lindsey to try archery. In spite of more surgeries, Lindsey went on to become a paralympian competing in Athens and Beijing.  While in Beijing, Lyndsey won a bronze medal marking the first time in 24 years that an American female medaled in the singles archery competition in any Olympic games. Lindsey pushed through any barriers in her way, stood tall and proud in the sunshine and said, “I did it.”

When goals seem unattainable…

When people are dishonest…

When wrong seems to trump right…

When the feeling of defeat and the attitude of “I give up” consumes you, put the above picture on your fridge, or your desk at work, or wherever you will look at it often. Then take a close look at it daily and remind yourself that “where there’s a will, there IS a way!”

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.