With a son going into first grade this fall, my husband and I are learning quite a bit about options. Should our Little buy hot lunch, or bring a lunchbox from home? Do we feel safe with him riding the school bus? Should we come straight home and start our evening as a family early, or allow him to spend a few days after school participating in extended enrichment activities? Also, if we do decide on said enrichment activities, how often should we participate, should we stick to what our Little likes, or try something we think will be more beneficial in the long term?

Whew. 

With school right around the corner, I’m navigating through these decisions, and I’ve reached a few possible conclusions. 

Growing up, so many aspects of my life revolved around swimming. There was team practice, competitions year round, and, best of all, those shopping trips with my mother to buy new swim gear. And then? You guessed it, rinse and repeat. For 12 years. 

With a growing Little, I’ve had an internal battle. Should I teach him to swim on my own, or should I send him to a more traditional summer swim training program? I opted for the latter, and here are a few things I have learned in the process.

At differing times in life, everyone should take time to reflect and be painfully honest: What have I accomplished? What were my mistakes? Where do I want to go from here? And, how can I do better in the future?

Here’s the deal with mistakes: most people think of failure as an enemy to success. It’s not. The only way you learn from mistakes is to make them.

I love July.

Cities display flags along the highways. I always wonder why they aren't displayed all year round. I sit up a little higher in my car when I go by, realizing how lucky I am to be an American. Even in the midst of so much controversy, we should all appreciate the right of choice to debate.

It’s done! I’ve survived my first wedding as "mother of the bride." I was so proud of my daughter, who didn't freak out that day, as rain blasted sideways and the palms framing the walkway to the beach swayed. She was one of the few, along with me and my husband, Chad, who believed God would not let this day be spoiled.

Welcome to summer in West Alabama, where the humidity levels are surpassed only by the number of orange barrels decorating the city. 

A couple of times a year, I dig into the old electronic mailbag for random questions I get from inquiring minds throughout the community. Some of them are serious. Some of them, well, not so much. 

If you are ever inclined, you can shoot me rando questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Maybe one day, if the stars misalign and you are incredibly unlucky, I’ll answer yours for the world (of Tuscaloosa) to see.  So, without further ado 

Stephanie Barrett, a work-from-home mom of two in Cottondale, has a plan for working at home during the school term. 

With all this rain we’ve had lately, all I have been thinking about is planting seeds. A little cold snap a few weeks ago actually made me thankful I had done some procrastinating. 

Every spring, we have the hope of new things to come. 

Fear not, for I have returned from hiatus! I hope you have enjoyed the guest posts the past couple of months in my stead. Those writers did a fantastic job while I was away taking care of my job that actually pays bills (no offense, Druid City Living) and I am very appreciative of them. Thank you for reading them and for returning to find me. 

A catchphrase around Campus Life’s high school programs in Tuscaloosa is “always expect the unexpected.”  It’s intended to build anticipation among students and enthusiasm for what is about to happen next. This may come from a crazy game with a twist. Or perhaps we dive into a topic they are all too familiar with, but we take an approach that makes them look at life, God, or the future with fresh eyes.  

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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