August 31, 2015

August 2015 in Pictures


 Kidney stone ER visit. Photo is after meds. :) 
 First day of school at our house means you get pancakes spelled like your name. 
Meeting Sentator Ted Cruz.  
 #cruztovictory
 Homeschool at the Park
 Celebrating 10 years at The Southern. With Oysters. YUM!
 Out and about in Chattanooga.

 Sunset Rock
 The walk is worth the view!
 Wonderful evening at St. John's Restaurant. 
 It was a take-the-top-off-the-jeep kind of day
 Dr. Enuf is required for traveling and white water rafting. 
 Hiawasee River
 This is what it's like trying to take a selfie with Mike.
 Me and my best traveler on Southwest. And Carl. 
 GORGEOUS! Water is so calm and clear. 
Pre-dinner selfie with this crew!
 Snorkeling and shell hunting was the highlight of this trip. 

August 2015 Update

This month started off rather interesting when I ended up in the emergency room late one Wednesday night. As you know, I am a firm believer that modern medicine should be used as a last resort. Well, use it I did because me and crippling pain don't mix. Turns out I had a kidney stone, which wasn't even on my radar. I blame the pain and the nausea & vomiting for affecting my reasoning skills. Regardless, we drove about 100 mph to Summit Medical Center because I. Thought. I. Was. Dying. Thankfully, the staff had me diagnosed in about 30 seconds. I'm not even kidding. And within 5 minutes they had me in a room with an IV. The first dose of meds did absolutely nada and I was still climbing the walls. Literally. I was that patient. The moaning and groaning one. So my nurse ordered the end-all-be-all of pain meds. Dilaudid. The moral of the story is that I went from "this is my Last Will and Testament" to "Praise Jesus!" in 10 minutes flat. Modern medicine - no one is denying that the emergency room has the good stuff.

My last day at work was August 7th and Mike was traveling with work for about a week mid-month, so that seemed like the perfect time to start 3rd grade. And it has been wonderful! You may remember that we COMPLETELY switched curriculum this year to better suit tLG's learning style. After just a few days I was already in love with the choices I made, and my girl is doing so well. I also love the freedom of not being tied to my desk all day. August has given us some unseasonably spectacular weather so we have done school at the park, in the living room, and in the front yard. Also, on our very first day of school we went to a Ted Cruz rally and look who got to meet the Senator. :)


Speaking of work, I am so excited to be taking doula clients again. I'm already booked through the end of the year and I have two clients for 2016. I've gotten a few calls for postpartum work as well, which is like icing on the cake. It's good for my soul to snuggle babies. The Lord just continues to provide, which is confirmation that leaving my job was the right thing to do. I mean, following His prompting is ALWAYS the right thing, but it can be a little scary when the rest of the world tells you it doesn't make sense. Since doula work comes in spurts, I'm also looking for new virtual assistant clients so, if you know of someone who needs help, send them my way.

Mike and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this month. In some ways it feels like we are starting from scratch so it seemed only fitting to take a weekend getaway to Chattanooga where we spent our honeymoon. We had a great trip! It was so funny to note all of the touristy things we did 10 years ago. We had absolutely zero interest in those things this time. We opted for adventure and good food instead and this visit was so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

It's hard to say which I enjoyed more...  our white water funyak excursion on the Hiawassee River, the hike to sunset rock (where we also saw a lovely couple get engaged), or dinner at St. John's gourmet restaurant. Truth be told, I may have appreciated our late night run to Baskin Robbins the most. That darn milkshake obsession wins every time.
tLG and I are finishing out the month with our annual trip to the beach with mom. I'm pretty sure I have vacationed on the Gulf almost every year of my life (not even kidding) and I don't ever remember seeing the water so calm, clear, and blue. It feels like we are in the Caribbean. We have snorkeled our little hearts out and found so many shells, which is my girl's favorite beach activity. And traveling with her is my favorite. She's an awesome little jet setter!



We head home in a few days. The State Fair is coming up which signals the end of my favorite season. This summer didn't hardly even seem to get started until this month and it's about to be over. Thank goodness for football. It's fall's only redeeming quality.

More August photos available here.

August 25, 2015

Scripture Memory Hack


One of my 2015 resolutions was to memorize scripture. I started out really well but lost my pace after about 3 months. One reason was because I got stumped by a particularly tough chunk of scripture and lost my momentum.

Then, I went to the Teach Them Diligently conference and ended up in a class taught by Sonya Shafer. She shared a method she uses as a part of the Charlotte Mason Method that was really easy and inexpensive. Her method is here (includes printable cards).

I came home and put this to work immediately, not only for myself but also to help with tLG's Awana verses every week. It never failed that we were trying to memorize that verse on the last day, which means they weren't really being memorized. I'll admit it.

Anyway, we didn't have a lot of verses to start with so I had to come up with my own little twist to Sonya's method to get this working for us. So, here's what we do.

SUPPLIES NEEDED
  • File Box
  • Index Cards
  • Pen
  • Bible
  • That's it!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
  • Write down verses that you know or are working on.
  • Read them together at the same time every day.
  • Read the reference. Read the verse. Read the reference again. 
  • Takes less than 3 minutes. Seriously!

DETAILS

We read our verses together every morning at breakfast. The little box just stays on the table. Even on the most rushed mornings, we still manage to read through them.

Now that we have a little stash of verses memorized, I have them divided into 3 categories.
  1. Verses we know by heart including the reference. Read these once a week. 
  2. Verses we know but may struggle with a word or number in the reference. Read these twice a week. 
  3. Verses that are new and we are working on memorizing. Read these every day. 
I'll be honest, some mornings tLG isn't in the best of moods to read through our box even though it literally only takes 2-3 minutes. However, I have figured out that she likes to "test" me. She holds the cards and I say them to her to see if I can get them right. Guess what. She has to read the card to make sure I get it right. It's like sneaking veggies into smoothies. She gets the good stuff without realizing it. 

BONUS HELP

I've also recently discovered Quizlet. It's a free flashcard app for web and mobile. I've been adding our scriptures to this with the verse on one side and the reference on the back. It includes a game that mixes up all the cards and you have to match the reference to the right verse. This has really helped make those references stick and tLG loves playing the game. I'm a sneaky mom!  

RESULTS

So far I have memorized 38 verses this year including several large passages. My original goal was 50, which I should achieve no problem. tLG is not far behind me. She knows every verse that I do minus the Beatitudes and The Love Chapter.

I have really enjoyed learning scripture this way together and I'm excited to continue to add more and more verses to our box. The best part is that there isn't really any rush to learn the verses. We just keep reading them day after day until they become natural. I also love that there is weekly review even for the verses that we know by heart. It keeps them fresh!

The only hard part (and, truly, it's not that hard) is to write down new verses and to be consistent. That's why we leave the box on the table with blank cards inside and it's also why we have a set time to read them every day. It keeps me accountable. Currently we are working on Philippians 4:4-7 alongside our pastor's sermon series: Do Not Be Anxious

I'd love to hear how you do scripture memory in your home. If you don't currently have a program in place, do you think this method would be something you could try?






August 18, 2015

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Do I Need One?


What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is a skilled professional ready to tackle a variety of projects as defined by you. It's like having a personal assistant who's already trained to know what you need so they can get started quickly. 

Why do I need one?

Virtual assistants work for individuals and businesses and help to give you more time by handling the tasks that either a) you don't like doing or b) take up too much of your time. A good VA helps to streamline these processes to make the rest of your time valuable and productive. We want to see you grow your business and/or improve your quality of life! 

What does a virtual assistant do?

A virtual assistant can help with most anything you need, but here's a list of some common tasks assigned to VAs. 

How much does a virtual assistant cost?

Not as much as you would think. For starters, most VAs work as independent contractors meaning you are not responsible for employee taxes, insurance, benefits, or social security. In fact, you can claim the amount paid to an IC on your taxes as an expense. In addition, you are only paying for the hours you use or by the project. Virtual assistants also provide their own equipment so there is no start up cost to you. 

Where do I find a virtual assistant?

Look no further. You've found Staci Bishop. I've worked virtually for over 9 years and am known in my industry for having great organization and attention to detail. I have the ability to anticipate needs (AKA read your mind) and am very sensitive to meeting tight deadlines. I have excellent professional references who can attest to my work ethic and quick study. 

What are some of your favorite tasks?

I love working on new projects and meeting new clients. Details are my speciality and I don't mind mundane or repetitive tasks. However, one of my favorite tasks is desinging images for social media and blog posts. I think it builds brand awareness and makes the post more attractive and engaging. I particularly love quotes! I also enjoy sprucing up documents and forms to make them more professional and user friendly. Most of all, I love helping with the projects that you've always wanted to get to but never could find the time to do. I've done everything from graphic design and billing to planning an event with an $800K budget and pretty much everything in between. Being a VA allows me to put my "Jack-of-all-trades" abilities to work..... for you!

How do I get started with a VA?

Contact me today and let's discuss your needs. No project is too big or too small, too short or too long. I handle projects as quick as one hour or extended tasks that repeat on an ongoing basis. You can email me at bishopstaci@gmail.com or fill out this quick inquiry form and I will get back to you within 24 hours. I look forward to putting my unique set of skills to work to help benefit you and your business.