Back-To-School • A Rainbow of Advice!

Hi! School just started again (NOOOOOO), so I thought that I’d better post before things get TOO hectic and crazy! 🙂

If you’re a student like me, you know that going back to school – especially if you are starting at a new school – can be really stressful and even a little (or a lot) scary!

I’ve done girl power posts in the past, but always about famous girl power stories – never any about your own girl power. I just want you to know that it’s there! It’s inside you! Everyone has power and strength inside themselves, and it’s just a matter of digging it out and letting it show!

So this post is going to be a mashup between girl power and school. Girl power at school! Advice on how to be confident and not stressed, even when going to a new, scary, or difficult school.

That’s it for the introduction. Oh, one more thing: I hope it helps! 🙂

RED – the color of power!The color red can make you feel strong and powerful. When you see the color red, remember that YOU are strong and powerful. The color red can make you feel like your energy is renewed. Red is the strong desire to work hard and persevere; red is self-empowerment; red is the blazing fire inside of you, the voice telling you not to give up. At school, if you can’t seem to get a math problem correct and want to give up, if you have a huge project and not a lot of time to complete it, whenever you’re feeling a little hopeless, be like the color red, and don’t give up!

ORANGE – fun!I like this description I read of orange: “Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow.” It’s true! Orange can represent joy and sunshine. It can also symbolize enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, and determination. Those are all such great qualities! The one that sticks out to me the most is creativity! Even though you may not think so, creativity is actually super important in school. Even if you’re not taking art classes, you can see creativity in pretty much all subjects of school. Science: see God’s amazing creativity in action as you learn about His creation! History: look at others’ creativity in the past, and learn from it! English: creativity is definitely prominent in writing and literature! Math: use your own creativity to think of a new angle to look at something, or a better way to solve a problem. So like the color orange, be cheerful and creative!

YELLOW – the color of happiness!The color yellow can evoke pleasant and happy feelings. Bright yellow grabs your attention immediately. It makes me think of sunshine! The color yellow can remind us to be happy and joyful. Yellow is cheery and warming; it can make you feel happier. Use yellow to help you out when you need to smile. Yellow can make you think of smiley faces. Whenever it seems like there are clouds and no sun, yellow can remind us that the sun is still there, shining just as brightly as ever behind those clouds. Try to emanate joy and friendliness at school, like the color yellow, even when you’re feeling down! Just smiling can make you feel happier. Acting happy, joyful, and sunny, like the color yellow, can make you feel that way inside!

GREEN – the color of growth and new life! Green is Mother Nature’s personal favorite – it represents plants, flowers, growing, freshness, fertility, and living things! Wow, that’s a lot! Since green represents growing, it can also remind us of improvement. School might feel boring and pointless sometimes – or A LOT of the time – but remember that YOU are learning! You’re growing! You’re improving! Just like green plants are growing. Green can also represent life. Remember that life is a gift; enjoy it! Time spent at school may seem wasted, but it’s actually not! You are alive; living, breathing, and thinking! Every moment you are alive is a miracle, a gift from God! So the next time you’re sitting in math class counting ceiling tiles, focus on every breath that goes in and out of your body. Be grateful and happy to even be breathing, even if it is in math class! So go through school (and life in general) with a mind open to learning and a heart grateful and happy to be alive!

BLUE – the chill color!Personally, blue is my favorite color! It is so calming and soothing! Blue is associated with tranquility, trust, wisdom, and confidence! It is suuuuuuuper relaxing. At school, it’s a really good idea not to be uptight and tense all the time. Being relaxed and going with the flow a bit will be very beneficial. Blue can remind us not to freak out if we have a problem, like not being able to get your locker open, forgetting a book at home, or worrying about being late to class. If you freak out, the problem will only get worse! Taking deep breaths and remaining calm helps you to keep a clear head so you can solve the problem quickly. The Bible tells us not to worry, and to instead pray! Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The color blue can be a fantastic reminder of that! Like the color blue, we should be relaxed, calm, and confident that it will work out. So the next time you get a HUGE amount of homework, remember that you didn’t study for a test, or don’t understand something in class, breathe deeply and don’t stress. You got this!

PURPLE – the noble, royal color!Purple is another one of my favorite colors! It’s kind of like a mesh between blue’s stability and red’s energy. It symbolizes power, nobility, and dignity. Purple is largely associated with royalty. Purple can remind us that we have power, nobility, and dignity! It can remind us to be confident, and that we are dignified. We should hold our head high and walk with confidence. The Bible says that we are God’s children. (John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”) God is the creator of the universe, the king of all existence, and we are His children! That means that we are royalty, too! Purple can remind us to carry ourselves with dignity and confidence – we are royalty!

GOLD! – treasure!Image courtesy of freecreatives.com

Gold is associated with wealth, quality, and value. It can remind us that we are of value! We should know that we are treasured! Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” We were, and are, worth enough to God that He would send His own son to die for us. We are worth that much to God! So therefore, there is no reason for us to tear ourselves or others down. We should treat ourselves and others like they are valued and worthy. God created us in His image! Genesis 1:27 “…God created man in His own image…” We are made to be like the creator of the universe! And He claims us as His children! How amazing is that?????? We should always remember that we are worthy, treasured, and of value to the ruler of the entire universe.

I think that the key to succeeding at school is having a combination – a rainbow – with all these character traits – colors!

  • Red: perseverance and passion
  • Orange: creativity and cheerfulness
  • Yellow: joy and happiness
  • Green: open-mindedness and gratefulness, enjoying the miracle of life
  • Blue: calmness
  • Purple: confidence and dignity
  • Gold: knowing our own worth and value, and treating others like they have worth and value

Bye for now! Good luck at school! Now I have to go tackle my own schoolwork… 🙂

MUST…NOT…GET…A…BAD…GRADE!!!

 Who likes tests? Nobody? That’s what I expected. Even if we don’t like it, this week at school we are doing standardized testing. I may not like tests, but I do like this dress I drew that is inspired by all the tests we have to do. Speaking of tests…

What if your teacher reminds your class that there is a huge test today…and you completely forgot to study?! What should you do?

Try to stay calm. During a test, once you start to hyperventilate, your brain slows down, and that wastes time you could be using on the test. Of course, if your teacher gives your class free time or study hall, don’t just sit there twiddling your thumbs! Use the time to study! If you don’t have time, relax! Like I said, freaking out only makes it worse.

Once the test is passed out, take deep breaths and try to concentrate. If the test is multiple choice, eliminate the answers that you know for sure are wrong. Once you narrow it down, it will be easier to choose and you have a better chance of picking the right answer.

If there are questions you don’t understand, skip them and come back to them. If you spend all your time on one question, you won’t finish the easier questions, and you won’t get points for those. Next to the hard questions, make a line, a star, a question mark, or anything that will catch your attention when you are looking over your test and remind you to do the problem. If you are allowed to ask your teacher questions during the test, then of course you should do that!

The most important thing you can remember is that God gave you a really cool muscle in your head. It’s called a brain, and it has more power than you might think. If you stay calm and think through each question, I know you’ll figure it out!

The Rumor Weed (No, not the Veggie Tales Movie!)

Here’s some advice on gossip and rumors. Do you gossip? Pretty much everyone does at some point. If these circumstances happened to you, would you feel differently about it? Read this story, imagine yourself as the victim, listen to the advice, and at the end, think about gossip one more time.

Imagine you stroll into the school cafeteria, and notice something is wrong. Everyone is either staring at you or giggling and whispering. There’s only one person not doing that. When you notice the guilty look on their face, you realize what must have happened. What you really want to do is run out of the room, but your feet seem nailed to the floor as you stand frozen in place.

If someone is spreading rumors about you, you need to tell them to cut it out. If they continue doing it, tell an adult what is going on. Even if the person does stop, the damage has been done. If people ask questions about the rumors, answer politely that they are not true. If people treat you strangely because they think the rumors are true, ignore them. It’s not your problem. If they are judging you based on false stories, then they are the ones with poor judgement, not you. And the next time you are tempted to gossip, remember how it felt for you.

School-itis!!!

Hey everybody, I know that over the few days before Spring Break ends, you’ll all be thinking the same thing that I am, which is “Do we have to go back to school?” The answer is, sadly, that you do have to go back, but hopefully these tips will make it a whole lot easier! (For you and me both!)

Super Amazingly Incredible Awesome Tip #1: Set your alarm (for the normal time you wake up on a school day) the day before you have to go back to school. Then the next day, when you actually have to go to school, your body will be a little more prepared to wake up at that time.

Super Amazingly Incredible Awesome Tip #2: Trust me, in the morning, you will not want to wake up. My prediction: Beep! Beep! Beep! Yawn. Snooze button. But you don’t want to be late to school on the first day back from break! 

So the night before, set your alarm clock somewhere away from your bed. If you have to get up and walk to it, you’ll be more awake and less likely to want to press the snooze button. Then in the morning, when your arm goes off, do as much as you can to wake yourself up. Walk around, take a sip of water, splash your face with water. And don’t press that snooze button! 

Super Amazingly Incredible Awesome Tip #3: Do everything the night before! If there’s anything that you can do the night before, instead of in the morning, do it! Choose exactly what clothes you’re going to wear (and don’t change your mind)! If you like to take a shower in the morning, take one at night instead. You can make your lunch for the next day and put it in the refrigerator, or even breakfast, which you can heat up in the morning. All of these things will help you be ready on time for school, even if you wake up a little late. 

Good luck making it to school on time!

Words

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

WORDS

What are they?  According to my good friend Mr. Webster: “a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing…” (noun)

During Spring Break, are you having so much fun that you lose track of your words? Do you even remember what words you used in that conversation with your parents an hour ago? What words do you use? Are they harsh? Are they soft? Are they kind? Are they loud? How do you use your words? To hurt? To help? To encourage? To insult?

No matter what any old saying tells us, words can hurt – a lot. But they can also work the other way around. Just like words can be used to break someone down, they can also be used to build someone up. I have seen people broken down by words, and I have seen them built up by words. The reactions, for the most part, have been vastly different. The examples I will describe next are not real events that I have witnessed, but illustrate how great words’ affect on people is.

To set the stage, imagine a crowded school hallway flooded with students, noise, and activity. A young girl, about twelve, stands timidly to the side of the hallway, visibly nervous. This is not unusual, because it’s the day of the year the children of America probably dread the most, of all the 365 days in the year: the First Day of School. The girl in question has chosen to wear a belt buckle. But not just any belt buckle. A BIG belt buckle. Imagine the biggest belt buckle a person could wear without falling forward because of the weight, and then imagine one twice that size. Suddenly, the girl is surrounded by a group of older kids. The popular crowd. You should have seen it coming. The kids begin to jeer the girl about her enormous buckle. “Hey, you should probably return that to whatever dumpster you got it from,” one of them says. The girl’s face begins to heat up, growing red and blotchy. She is about to cry. She stammers out an explanation of getting the buckle as a gift, then rushes off into the crowd, disappearing after only a moment.

The Rest of the Story

What happened after the girl ran off into the crowd? Well, she ran, crying, into the bathroom and locked herself in a stall. A few minutes later, another girl walks in. She is surrounded with the confidence of a middle school veteran. It is obvious that she has gone through the whole First Day of School charade before, and is at least a seventh grader or maybe an eighth grader. She cocks her head as the sound of crying reaches her ears. “Is anyone there?” she asks.

“Nobody.” Sniffs the young victim.

The older girl chuckles. “It doesn’t sound like nobody. Why don’t you come out?” The younger girl reluctantly emerges from her safe haven. The older girl’s eyebrows go up when she sees the belt buckle, but she quickly rearranges her face into a friendly smile. “That’s quite a belt buckle you’ve got there. Why don’t you tell me where you got it?” Warily, the sniffling girl begins to explain how her grandmother was a six-time rodeo princess, and how, in her will, the buckle had been given to the girl. When she is finished with her story, the older girl says, “That’s a very special buckle. Now if anyone says something to you about it, just remember, they weren’t lucky enough to have rodeo-princess-grandmas to leave them special buckles in their wills.”

And with that, the young girl wipes her eyes, dries her tears, and strides confidently out of the bathroom without another word.

As you can see, people’s very lives can be changes with mere words. What would you say if you knew that the young girl had often been bullied and teased in elementary school, because of her family’s lack of money? Or if you heard about how she was adopted when she was eight after both her parents and her grandparents had died in a car crash? Or even if you knew that, never again, the girl was subject to bullying. Why? Because if anyone dared to try, she held her head up high and kept right on walking. The next day, she would start a friendly conversation with the person. And it was all because of a few little words.

Poor Pet!!!

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Today’s post was inspired by a comment I received from a reader named NAMELESS. And, of course, it includes an adorable mousey outfit. NAMELESS asked for advice on a problem that a lot of people I know have had, and I’ve even experienced it myself.

How many of you love your pets? How many of your pets love you? (Of course they do! You feed them, don’t you?) You love your pets, they love you. That’s why you feel sad when you lose a pet. You may even feel like the world should be ending. How dare it continue to spin???!!! How can the people around you keep on with their lives, acting as if nothing has happened??

What you are feeling, the sensation of wondering why the world is permitted to continue its annoyingly endless spinning, is labeled as grief. As Mr. Webster states it, a “deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death.”

Everyone handles grief a different way. Some people mask their pain and deal with it by forcing themselves to go on with their normal lives. Others cry as hard as they want, for as long as they want. However you handle grief, you should remember that it is okay. I think this is very important because some people never can quite accept that it’s okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay not to feel like doing what you normally do. It’s okay to show that you feel this pain. Pain is a normal part of human life, and so is loss. But that doesn’t mean that everything’s going to go right back to normal ten seconds later. It also doesn’t mean that you’re going to forget about your pet two days after. You may feel this pain, however normal it might be, for a long time afterwards. And that’s okay. 

A lot of people will be overcome with memories of this pet in the days closely following the event of their death. And many of them will try to ignore the memories, or try to forget about them. Personally, I don’t think that’s the best thing to do. They might think that allowing themselves to have these memories will validate the fact that a member of the family, no matter how furry he or she may be, is gone from this earth. But the truth is that whether you validate it with your memories or not, it has happened. So instead of trying to forget all the good times you had with your pet, just enjoy remembering them! I think you’ll feel a lot better, and remembering the good times is definitely better than allowing yourself to just sit there, feeling upset.

I remember when my cat died. It was actually last year, pretty recently. So I have experienced similar events as you have if you have lost a pet. And I also remember that my cat was about 20 years old. If you don’t know, that’s really old for a cat. Like really old. She was about 97 in cat years. So she had arthritis, and difficulty walking and moving around. When she passed away, I remember being really upset, but I tried to do what I am going to tell you to do. Think about the positive. 

For example, I knew that she had had arthritis, which meant that she was in pain a lot of the time. I believe in pet heaven, because we love our pets, so why shouldn’t they meet us in heaven? So even though my cat had arthritis and was in pain here on Earth, I chose to think about the positive. I chose to believe that she was happy in heaven, and I chose to think about how she was relieved of her pain. That’s a good thing, right? We never want our pets to suffer, so I felt better imagining her running around again like she did when she was young, relieved of her pain. Did I ever tell you how she used to catch mice and bring them to my mom when she was younger? But that’s another story.

So when you feel sad about your pet, think instead about all the happy times you did get to share with them, and how, whether they were getting on in their years or just had an injury or sickness, they are relieved of any pain they were feeling on Earth. And they might just get another opportunity to catch those mice! 🙂

(That was just a metaphor. Don’t literally think about them catching mice. Especially if your pet is a horse. Or a guinea pig. Or worse, a mouse!!)

P.S. Isn’t she cute?

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The Right, the Wrong, and Everything in Between

Imagine that your friends start making fun of someone. You really, really want them to like you and you are desperate to fit in. It would be easy to just laugh along, but what would be the right thing to do?

If your friends (or other people) are teasing someone, do not join in. You may think it’s harmless to just stand there, or even laugh, but it’s not. The people who are teasing will assume you agree with them unless you tell them otherwise. Even if the teasing seems harmless, it could really hurt the victim’s feelings. Imagine yourself in their shoes! Would you feel good if those things were being said to you or about you? If the answer is no, then tell these people that what they are doing is wrong! If they are truly your friends, they’ll understand. As Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” You should speak up, no matter what. If they mind, that’s their problem. If they’re really people whose friendships are worthwhile for you, they won’t mind. You’ll only regret the things you didn’t say. You’ll never regret the times you spoke up for the right thing.

Party Poopers!

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Today’s post is advice about a situation that, based on my experience, is a very common occurrence among girls in the fifth or higher grades. Also, for fun, I included a sketch that goes along with the situation. You’ll get it when you read the rest of the post!

Imagine you are at school.  A group of your friends walks by, chattering about a sleepover that will take place this weekend.  You freeze in your tracks. This is the first you’ve heard about a sleepover, and you weren’t invited.  What should you do?

Keep walking! Stand up straight and and go on with your life. Chances are, the girls didn’t mean to hurt your feelings by not inviting you, and they didn’t mean for you to hear their conversation. Since you did hear it, just wish them well and tell them you hope they’ll have a good time.  From personal experience, I know that most parents don’t want fifteen giggly girls staying up past midnight, especially if there are older or younger siblings trying to sleep, too.  Many moms limit their daughters to choosing two to three friends to sleep over.  This can be difficult, with so many friends to choose from.  But it doesn’t mean they won’t invite you the next time!