Weekend Recap

What a great weekend we had! With the past two weekends being crazy (think sickness, and going out of town for family events) it was nice to just have a weekend with "no plans". Friday night we met up with 3 other couples for dinner at Shogun and then fun at fast lanes afterwards. What would you know almost half of my cheer squad was there, at the lane right next to us. I guess that's what happens when you live, work, and play in the same town. They were beyond delighted to see me outside of school, it was a little awkward for me and Jeremy to be perfectly honest.

In the end we dominated at both laser tag AND bowling!

Saturday, we tried out the new flying fish in bentonville. So happy we have one up here now!
It was very good :)
Then we ran a few erronds and got all the supplies necessary for Jeremy to make me my new jewelry organizer. Thanks Pintrest!

Sunday was spent at church, lunch, and just enjoying the day. A perfect kind of weekend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Since I've been gone

Life became incredibly busy with my new job, coaching, and.... The best part, an incredibly special someone in my life. Let me catch you up on the moments that have captured my attention these past few months...

I have made it through football, basketball, and competition seasons. Through in an impromptu sleepover with 18 crazy 15 year olds and it's easy to see why this blog has been neglected. I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls to introduce me to the coaching world, they never cease to entertain me and have worked SO hard to come this far! I was so proud when they won their competition at HHS.

I can't believe it's almost time to welcome a new group of girls. Without a doubt, these will always hold a special place in my heart as my first squad.

I'm on the downhill slope of my first year of teaching! I've learned so much and still love going to work each day. That has to mean something, right? I've also had a pretty incredible first group of students.

We celebrated Heelyn's first birthday. She's becoming more of a little girl and less of a baby every day. Makes me so sad!

Now for the best news :) I met the most amazing man... He is EVERYTHING I hoped, wished, dreamed, and prayed about.

He keeps me grounded, spoils me endlessly, and loves me unconditionally.

He came out of the blue and my life has changed drastically since :) I love having him by my side and cannot wait to see what the future holds. The Lord is good, y'all. He is good...

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Since I've been gone...

Life seems to get really busy when you have a new job and a special someone in your life... Let me catch you up on life lately!

I made it through football, basketball, and competition season with my cheerleaders. I can't believe I'm about to welcome a new group of girls for the next year!

I'm on the downhill slope of my first year of teaching. I've learned so much and still love going to work every day. That means something, right? For the most part, I've had a great group of kids for my first year.

Sweet Heelyn celebrated her first birthday, 2nd Thanksgiving, and 2nd Christmas.

Now for the best news :). I met the most amazing man... He is EVERYTHING I hoped, wished, dreamed, and prayed about. He keeps me grounded, spoils me endlessly, and loves me unconditionally. He came out of the blue and my life has changed drastically since :) I love having him by my side and cannot wait to see what the future holds! The Lord is good, y'all. He is good...


Lessons from a First-Year Teacher

Obviously I wouldn't consider myself an expert at teaching, or even close to one.  However, there are some lessons I've learned in my first month or two that I would like to pass on to any future teachers out there :)

  • Set a time for yourself that you will leave the school and STICK TO IT.  Teaching is one of those jobs that there is ALWAYS work to be done and it's so easy to stay at school into the late hours of the night.  It's important to have a life outside of your job, so set a time that you will leave for the day and stick to it!  My school lets out at 4 pm. so most of the time I tell myself I'll leave by 5:30.  That doesn't mean I don't go home and work a little more, but it's a nice change of scenery and gives me the time to go meet friends for dinner or catch a quick workout.
  • Don't grade papers at school.  Now, I've actually been told just the opposite from several teachers and I'm sure once I have a family my stance on this will change.  For now though, I like to grade papers while catching up on my favorite tv shows.  This just allows me to have my planning time to actually plan, or have conferences.
  • Coffee, Ibuprofen, and Dark Chocolate are your friends.  If you're having a really rough day, take all three :)
  • Get involved in school activities outside of the subject area you teach in.  Coaching Cheer, while very time consuming, has allowed me to meet people in the school that I would not have normally met.  It also allows my students to see me outside of the classroom, and gives me the chance to be involved in every pep rally and other fun school events.  Helping with Miss BHS allowed me to get to know some of the Senior girls, whom I normally don't see since I teach on the opposite side of campus.
  • Make your presence known.  Don't just assume your administrators will know you're doing your job well.  If you have a great lesson that day shoot them an email about it.  If you're on duty, make sure you find one of them and say good morning.  Stand in the hallway in between classes.  Make yourself stand out!
  • Make teacher friends!  I'm lucky and several of my best friends from the MAT actually teach at my school.  It's great to be able to talk with them and know they know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's nice to have buddies at staff-development and faculty meetings, and someone to let me back in the building every time I lock myself out :)


False Alarm

One of the things you should know about me is I'm a tad bit paranoid... Wait. Have you met my mom?? Haha. I come by it honestly.

When I decided to live by myself, the most important thing to my parents was for me to live in a very safe area. I live in one of the safest areas of my town in a gated subdivision.... But I still get freaked out from time to

So my dad, being the most amazing dad that he is, had a security system installed in my condo.

Plus, every single one of my doors looks like this...

Yes, that is four locks you see. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you ;)

One of my guy friends constantly makes fun of my paranoia, I can't help it!

So lately the only action my alarm has gotten is when I accidentally set it off. Until last night...

I went to church and had left my phone on silent in my purse. When I checked my phone I had several calls/texts/voicemails from my mom and a couple calls from ADT. Evidently someone/something had set my alarm off at church. Since no one could get a hold of me, they sent the police to my house. Yea... I'm definitely the most hated neighbor on the block now...
Anyway, I was a little freaked out and dragged my friend Tom over to my house to look in every nook and cranny of my house to make sure no one was waiting to snatch me! I'm sure I'll never live this one down!
So after getting no sleep because I was so freaked out, it turns out I just didn't shut my door all the way when I left for church. Wow. I probably shouldn't let too many people know that.

So moral of the story is.... Alarms are great, when you know how to use them!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


The Day the World Stopped Turning

Every time I think of September 11th, which actually does cross my mind pretty often, strange enough, I think of the Alan Jackson song...

"Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day"

I was in the hallway between classes in the 8th grade at Cabot Junior High North.  I remember a friend yelled it out at me as I was passing him..

"Hey Jen... did you hear what happened in New York?"

I was very young, and didn't understand the implications that surrounded that fateful day, but I do remember watching, stunned, in English class as the second plane ran into the tower.

I was young, but not naive enough to ignore what this meant for my family.  You see... my dad is a retired Colonel in the Air Force, a pilot to be exact.  At the time of September 11th, he was still active duty, leading a large squadron of men at the Little Rock Air Force Base.  As soon as the planes hit the towers, my dad was called in on High Alert.  My family, as well as the rest of the world, set on pins and needles that night waiting for what the next move would be.  Waiting to know whether or not my Dad would leave immediately to go fight in, another, yet highly necessary war.

He didn't get called out that night... but later, so many young men did, and still continue.  To fight for our freedom, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

 Today as I was watching the News coverage of the 9-11 dedication ceremony, my heart broke for all the families whose lives were torn apart when those planes hit the towers.   10 years has passed, yet I know in their hearts not a day goes by that they don't remember their loved ones.  I'm so thankful for our military, emergency personnel, and government officials who put their lives on the line on a daily basis for our freedom.

I never take for granted the fact that I was born in a country where I feel safe every day.

Yesterday, as a perfect stranger thanked my dad for his service, I was reminded of all that is good and right in our country, and my heart swelled with pride for my dad's selfless act of service.

You tell me all the time how proud you are of me and all my accomplishments, yet I sometimes fail to tell you how proud I am of you and Mom and for sacrificing having the "typical" family life in order to serve our country.  I know that we will never truly understand the sacrifices you made to serve, nor will you ever earn your full reward on Earth, but I'm so thankful to have you for a Dad.  I TRULY have the best parents in the world.

I love yall...



You cannot learn to be happy with someone else, until you are at first happy being with yourself.

I guess my life lately could be summed up perfectly in a casual thought spoken by one of my friends that has stuck for a while...

"Who would have thought that here we would be, most of us married and you, Jennifer Bradley, single?"

She didn't mean any harm by it, just the honest truth.  I was always the girl who went from one long-term relationship to the next.  I had incredible meaningful relationships with some amazing guys from high school through college that helped shape me into the person I am today.  Alongside those relationships, I've always had a handful of guys who've I've always considered some of my closest friends.  

Being single, while the rest of my friends got married, honestly was a part of life I never thought I would experience.  It's not that the one thing I desired was to get married right away, I just honestly thought there would be no other option for me.  As a girl who was always in long-term relationships, it just seemed like the logical next step would be marriage when I graduated college.  

As I graduated college though, I knew that wouldn't be a possibility, and God had already planted seeds in my heart that would outgrow that teenage desire.  I won't act like it was easy, or still is, attending weddings alone, or being the third wheel at many dinners with my married friends.  Last year, was probably the hardest for that.  I began wondering what was wrong with me. Why wouldn't a guy choose me to marry, when all of my friends were clearly "chosen".  As I began to grow more and more frustrated, I slowly opened my heart and let my Savior speak.  As I listened I could hear Him saying, "I chose you."  I won't lie though, in those moments, He wasn't enough for me.  I wanted a relationship.  I wasn't happy being alone.

Somewhere along the way though, my heart slowly began to change.  I allowed God to work in me, and change my desires to His desires for my life.  He gave me a heavenly peace about where He has me in life.  He helped me to realize that while He chose marriage at this point in my friends lives, the plans He has for me require for me to remain single.  He also eased my worries and fears because He DID place in my heart a desire for marriage and at the perfect time He will bring into my life the one my heart was made for.  I can't explain the incredible relief I have in knowing my heavenly Father is taking care of everything, in not having to search.

I never thought I could ever be the girl who would say that I am perfectly content being single at this time in my life.  My fulfillment and contentedness comes from my job, my friends, my family, and God. At which the time comes that God does bring a man into my life, He will only add to it.... Not fill a hole.  Because I've let God fill that hole.


You Choose

People often assume or tell me that my life is so easy, therefore it's automatically easy for me to be optimistic.  It frustrates me so much. My lot in life hasn't been any easier than yours..  I've had struggles, said things I shouldn't have, fought with friends, lost friends, had my heart broken multiple times.... The list could go on.  It frustrates me that people assume my life is easy and therefore, it's naturally easy for me to be a happy person.  

Yes, I am incredibly blessed I will be the first to admit.  I'm also incredibly thankful for both my blessings and my trials, and that is what I believe is the key to my happiness.  Thankfulness breeds happiness because you realize that you do not deserve anything, but rather the Lord has chosen you to bless, to favor.  How can you NOT be happy about that?

Every single day, I CHOOSE to be happy.  I CHOOSE to see the good in others.  I CHOOSE to take the days stress, frustrations, and menial chores and turn them into something to be thankful about.  Some days I flat out do not want to be happy.  Some days I would rather go back to bed.  Some days I would like to flip off the person who cuts in front of me on the road, snap at my students as they ask me the same question for the thousandth time, or run my little cheerleaders ragged for making the same mistakes....  BUT then I am reminded how God must feel with me as I make the same mistakes over and over, ask the same questions of Him thousands of times, and cut His time with me short because I'm too busy or tired.  So it is with this in mind that I CHOOSE optimism and CHOOSE to see the best in people.  

Happiness is a choice, not a feeling.  

Want more?  Go HERE.