Flip A Coin: Be Decisive in Your Decision Making

If you have ever struggled with making very important decisions, this post will give you an option to apply on your next big decision.  Don’t think about it.  Just try it.


The only wrong decision is indecision. All others are just a variation of the best decision. –Ronald Allen Smith

 I grew up sheltered, protected, and guided. I am the oldest child of three and as far back as my memory will allow I hung on to every letter of my parents’ words. Everything my parents said to do, whether I liked it or not, I complied. Once applied, their words of wisdom usually led me down the right path, so I never felt the need to deviate from their instructions or find my own way. This was so until I went away to college. Immediately I was bombarded with decisions. From the miniscule task of deciding what to eat for the day, to the mountainous decision of deciding my major and career. My Libra instincts always seem to place me in the middle of a decision because I can easily argue why both sides would be best for me. Even after consulting friends and family on many of life’s dilemmas, it always boiled down to the fact that the decisions (as well as the repercussions) were mine alone to handle. So after many years of fumbling through life (and months in therapy, LOL) I have finally decided on a foolproof procedure for making decisions.


Things are always much clearer once written down. In your head you can argue the pros and cons for an infinite amount of time going around in circles. However, when you write something down it becomes plain and clear and all of the little nuances of a decision are written in black and white for you to analyze.


What’s the best and worse thing that can happen if you choose side A? What’s the best and worse thing that can happen if you choose side B?


Discussing your dilemma with TRUSTED friends and family will give you a fresh perspective and possibly bring up some things that you did not consider. However, at this step BE VERY CAREFUL. We all have our own individual beliefs and ways of approaching situations. So take advice with a grain salt, because what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander.


One of my best friends swears by flipping coins. I’ve known her for forever, and up until a month ago thought she was insane for letting a head or tail decide her life’s delicate steps. However, she introduced me to I Ching or Book of Changes by Brian Browne Walker, and the book has literally changed my life. I am completely anti-hocus pocus but this book is seriously the truth.


Regardless of what decisions we make in life, if you lead a life worth living, there will be no straight and easy path. Once you make the decision that is best for you, don’t let life sway you from that decision. I am not saying don’t change your mind ever, however, be very careful how quickly you change and the reasons for which you are changing. Things take time, hard work, and great effort to work out. So if at first glance it seems like you made the wrong decision, stick it out for a little while and see how things go.

REMEMBER: The only wrong decision in life is indecision. All others are just a variation of the best decision.


Courtney Edwards is a mother, teacher, real estate extraordinaire making her way through life one breath at a time.


Toddler Discipline: Be Ye Always Ready

The Guest Room is filled with amazing women who are sharing knowledge and empowering others through their own personal experiences.  An educator and mother of a busy 2 year old shares some advice on disciplining a toddler.


Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. –Harold Hubert

As a mother of a rambunctious, energetic, inquisitive two year old I am forced to admit that there is no one way to raise a child. I can also reluctantly admit that I do not have all the answers. I can use my Masters Degree in Education to teach my child everything he needs to know to prove proficient in Common Core Learning Standards. I can use articles and different theories to potty train him. I can use my mother’s advice to teach him how to be a kind a loving man. I can call on my pastor for words of wisdom on how to raise a strong man of God. However, all of the education, advice, and encouragement seem to quickly vanish when my son asks for a “pop” (lollipop) at 8am, I explain that he can’t have one, and he reaches up and slaps me in the face. Only God can hold my hand and tongue when after spending 2 hours getting us ready to go out the door my son asks for juice, pretends to drink it for 3 seconds and then launches the majority of the contents drenching me from head to toe.

Anger, aggravation, frustration propel me to give him a “pow-pow”, pluck, or pinch. However, as an aware and educated mother I have to remind myself that my reactions to his negative toddler behavior will shape his actions. I don’t want him to slap a kid in preschool that takes his toy. Or pinch a child in school who spills juice on him. I am not saying that I don’t slip up a time or two and lash out, however, for the most part I try to adhere to the following when it comes to disciplining my toddler.


More often than not you can beat a tantrum to the punch. Knowing what sets your child off and what makes them go bananas is half the battle. The other half is trying to avoid those situations. If you know your child runs around the supermarket, put them in the shopping cart. If you know your child goes straight for the sweets as soon as they enter the kitchen, put them on top of the refrigerator or in the cabinet. Its not being a punk to try and appease or change according to your child’s needs, its called being a great parent.


Most of the time we react to negative behavior physically out of embarrassment, frustration, and anger. However, when you take yourself and your emotions out of the equation you are able to see the tantrum or behavior as a cry for help. Children, especially toddlers, don’t have the same communication skills adults have so often times they resort to tantrums or simply doing what they want despite your objections because they can’t express their desires. Take a step back and look at the situation through kid lenses and I bet you’ll be slow to react with physical punishment.


Give words that your child doesn’t yet have to their feelings. It shows them you care and understand what they are going through.


One thing I’ve learned with my toddler is he tunes me out when I talk too much. So a simple, “It is too early for a lollipop. How about a muffin?” will suffice. No need to explain the sugar levels, and how rotten their teeth will be with excessive candy intake. They are not listening!


The attention span of a toddler is nowhere near that of an adult. Usually when they want something, it’s a feeling of the moment. After they get over the disappointment (sometimes coupled with a falling out on the floor) they move on. You should to. There will be many battles over the course of 18 years, don’t drag them out any longer than necessary.

REMEMBER: Children need love, ESPECIALLY when they do not deserve it.


Courtney Edwards is a mother, teacher, real estate extraordinaire making her way through life one breath at a time.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork: 5 Ways to Best Support Your Child’s Teacher

On this second installment of Guest Room, an amazing teacher shares some tips for parents on how to best support their child’s teacher to ensure academic success.


I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. The kids are pretending NOT to see it. Displays for school supplies are popping up and kids are looking down. As we prepare to enter into the new school year, let’s keep in mind five easy peasy (lemon squeezy) ways you can support your child and your child’s teacher.


1. Meet your child’s teacher. Sounds easy enough. But the number of people that send me their baby and have no idea who I am or what my philosophy on teaching is would surprise you. Teachers are people. We get busy schedules. We get conflicting Open House schedules. We get limited job flexibility schedules. We get ALL of that. But we do NOT get not (yes, double negative) placing your eyes on the person responsible for helping to mold your little person. If you cannot make Open House, the ideal time to meet and greet, consider sending an email with a day and time that does work for you. Teachers want to meet you. We want to have a chance to speak with you and hear about your precious child from you. We want to start the year off with an open line of communication. If Thursday is the only day that works with your schedule, most teachers will make a way to meet with you on Thursday despite that being their hot yoga day.


2a. Do not withhold academic information. “Well we just wanted him/her to have a fresh start…” I understand the fear of labeling and preconceived notions. But some information ABSOLUTELY needs to be shared with your child’s new teacher. Accommodations do not mean your child can’t learn. Accommodations mean your child learns differently. If I am unaware of how they learn best, I cannot give them the best. Teachers want to see your child successful. In a class of at least 20 students, we understand someone will not always get it. Someone will need extra time. Knowing how your child learns or struggles your child has helps us to differentiate the material. Parents are often too concerned with the product. Teachers are more concerned with the process. We have 180 days (if government funding hasn’t been cut) to prepare your baby for the next grade. The process to the product is different for most students. Trust the process.


2b. Do not withhold (all) personal information. Unfortunately our kids are seeing and experiencing waaaay more than we did at their age. I am interested in more than just the academic growth of your child. I am interested in their social growth as well. If past experiences could potentially limit your child I need to know. Details aren’t necessary. But a general idea can help me relate to your child. Two years ago I had a student who came from an environment where domestic violence was the norm. Loud noises made him shut down. Loud noises in my class very seldom mean things have gone awry. Generally, we are doing a class cheer or having a little silly transition time. This student shut all the way down and I had no idea why. Thankfully, the older sibling was able to provide insight. He didn’t give details. He simply said, “He doesn’t like loud noises.” That was enough for me to taper class activities he was involved in. (He has since adapted to loud noises and he is no longer in that environment.)Much of the hidden curriculum teaches “life stuff.” We need to know how far to push a child to present a project, are there any sensitive subjects, are they easily embarrassed or frightened, do loud noises adversely affect them? Information about your child helps us to better reach your child. Please share information.


3. Communicate. In this fast paced world, face-to-face communication can sometimes prove to be challenging. (i.e. meeting your child’s teacher) However, communication can be easy IF the lines of communication are open BOTH ways. I am an early childhood educator. I send home some form of communication every. single. day. It may be a note jotted at the bottom of the behavior sheet, a SHOUT of praise in the agenda, or a “we need to talk at your earliest convenience” message on pretty stationary. Whatever the form of communication may be, please acknowledge it. Sign the daily behavior sheet or agenda. Write me a note telling me you all tried the math homework but were stumped with numbers 4 and 7. Write me a note saying she’s checking out early and it would be helpful if she went to lunch with her backpack. Write me a note saying his beloved dog of eight years died and he might be a little sad as he deals with his first loss. Just write me a note. We do not have to wait until parent-teacher conference night to talk about six weeks of school. Let’s communicate throughout the year.


4. Trust the teacher. This is general but it applies to many areas. Trust the teacher is a professional who is trained in child pedagogy and current on best practices. Trust the teacher wants the best for your baby. Teaching is a labor of love. We are trained professionals. Some of which have student loan debt that far exceeds yearly income. We are not here for the money. (Not here to be poor but that’s another topic for another time.) We are here for the kids and need you to know we are NEVER rooting against your child, we are hoping and praying for their growth and advancement. “We never have this problem at home.” I believe you. But you also don’t have twenty-one other students at home. Your child treats us the way they see you treat us. Trust us and treat us with respect. If you promise not to believe everything they tell you happened at school, I promise not to believe everything they tell me happened at home.



Cherelle Jones is a public school educator in a Title I school in Georgia. She is the proud leader of Jonesville, a small, quaint community of learners being positioned to change the world.

5 Tips for New Moms

Being a mom of 3 children and married for 13 years, I was asked by Irnise if I could contribute what I thought was important for new moms to remember as they watch their children grow. As a new mom, everyone’s experience will be different. However, being reflective, these are 5 things that helped me.

1. Pray. I didn’t know how much praying and talking to God I could do until I had children. My relationship with God grew stronger when I had to pray for someone other than myself. My conversation changed with God when things became out of my control and I was forced to realize who had everything in control. Not my husband, not the doctors, not even me. God did! Pray over your home, your family, and be thankful daily that God has chosen you to be the mom of that child. He could have chosen anyone, but He chose you!

2. Be confident in the decisions you make for your child. As a new mom, everyone will have advice and/or input. Learn to take what you need and anything else you don’t need, let it go. There’s pressure from other moms, family members (especially the elders), and advice from doctors. Ultimately, you are the decision maker. You have been tasked to advocate for a human who is not yet able to do so for themselves. Things will come up that you won’t have an answer to. It’s o.k., don’t panic! At these times, seek advice from those closest to you and who you trust and, more importantly, do your own research. After all that, you make the final decision. Do not second guess yourself. Be confident in your choice(s) for “your” child and go with what your “mom gut” tells you.

3. Take the help when it’s offered! There will be times when a family member or close friend will want to help out in some way. At these times….let them help! As new moms, we often feel like we can do it all. Guess what, you can’t. It’s impossible! If someone offers to come hold the baby while you nap, sit with the baby so you can do laundry or run an errand. Accept that offer! If someone wants to buy the baby diapers, wipes, or offer to cook a meal for you, say yes! Those moments where you can rest, run that errand, or not have to cook for the evening are priceless. This show of support from your support system is no accident or coincidence. You can’t do everything and if you think you can, you’ll wear yourself out and make everyone miserable. You can’t be good for anyone else when you are no good for yourself. This is a great Segway for my next tip….

4. Be good to yourself. There’s a lot of pressure being a new mom. There are expectations from everyone, including you. Trying to meet everyone’s expectations will have you sounding and looking crazy (I’ve been there). Make and take time for yourself to reenergize, gather your thoughts, and just be good to you! You need time daily to remember that you are a person too. Not just a mom. Do something daily that’s good for you and your soul. It may be working out, walking the aisles of your favorite store, getting a mani/pedi, going to that church meeting and/or activity, or just sitting in your bed and reading a magazine or cruising the Internet. Whatever it is, take that time. Be selfish with your “me” time! If you don’t do it, no one else will. Baby, hubby/dad/partner, siblings, and even the family pet will be all the better for it. I’ve learned when you’re o.k. (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally); everything else will fall into place.

5. Take time to take it all in. As a new mom, things happen very quickly. Pregnancy seems to last forever then next, the baby is here and your life seems out of control. Then you look up and your planning the first birthday party. A few more birthday parties and BAM…you’re sending your child off to kindergarten! Please take time and try and slow down and just enjoy your child(ren) and take time to take it all in. We are all guilty of having routines. Whether it’s work, family, or a personal routine that can distract you and take a large portion of your time; slow down and take time and appreciate that you’re a new mom! Journal or talk to other new moms about all you’ve learned in this new role. I see my children and long for the days to just hold them in my arms, see a small toddler crawling then running towards me as I picked them up from daycare, to even ending the day with bath time and smelling that “baby smell” as I placed them in their crib. Time flies and waits for no one. While being a new mom is obviously hectic, take moments to just stop and take it all in. These moments are fleeting and you don’t want to look back when your child is graduating from high school and say, “Where did the time go?” Live in the moment. Teach your children to live in the moment and to just be. With life moving so fast, you be the timekeeper and prioritize what’s important. Find balance. Take time to let those close to you know you love and appreciate them. Stop the clock and “be”. Take it all in and be thankful for each moment, the good and the bad.



Guest Profile: 
My name is Linsey. I’m a wife of 13 years, mom of 4, teacher (by profession), and chose to live my life in living color. I’m constantly learning and try to keep it all in perspective in this thing called life. Should you have any questions, comments, or even concerns, let’s chat. I’d love to hear from you!

Linsey can be reached at linsey3t@gmail.com.