Just Tuesday

We have lots of routines in our classroom.

One of my favorites has to be calendar time.  We fill out the date, count the days we have been in school this year, and discuss what day of the week it is.

Early on in the year, we added funny little nicknames to each day.

Manic Monday
Hump Day
Ninja Thursday

Ya know, your typical kindergarten silliness.

“But Miss Hollis,” one of my students said one day, “What do we call Tuesday?”

“Ummm…” I said, with no good answer for him, “Just Tuesday.”

In fact, just last week I was talking to a friend and he asked, “How was your day?”

“Ah, nothin’ special,” I replied, “Just Tuesday.”

Just Tuesday.

There are lot of just Tuesday‘s in our lives.

Those days where nothing special happens.
Ordinary, regular, normal days.
Those days where we get up, get dressed, go on with our daily routine.
Nothing terrible, but nothing terrific to report.
No sad stories, but no side stitching hilarious stories to tell.
No moping, but no jumping for joy either.

Just Tuesday.

We don’t romanticize the just Tuesday’s very often.  They rarely get any credit.

And that’s okay.  It’s much easier to look back and remember those “big” moments throughout our lives.  Often, we consider these as the moments that shape us.  That “twist” in history when you knew you’d never be the same again.

The first day of a new job.  Your 16th birthday.  College graduation.  The night you got engaged.  When you heard your baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

Or maybe you’re not so lucky and your “big” moments are not so precious.  Maybe they’re moments that haunt you daily, causing you make an extra effort to push those dark feelings away to your hidden place.

The day you lost your job. A loved one’s funeral.  The night your heart was broken.  When you lost the baby you were carrying.  The moment the doctor uttered the C-word.

Our lives can turn on a dime.

Maybe you haven’t experienced that life shaping moment, but I can guarantee you experience those just Tuesdays.

Sometimes just Tuesdays make us feel like we’re in a slump.

I often compare life to a treadmill.  We’re running just as fast as we can, but we’re not going anywhere.

I feel like I’ve used this analogy several times over the past five years since I graduated college.

It’s easy to feel this way when we live in a world centered around social media.  When people are constantly posting the highlights of their lives, and very rarely the just Tuesdays in between.

That girl with the swimsuit pictures showing off her abs? She didn’t show you the strict diet and hours at the gym.
That family with the big house? They didn’t share all of the money saving and overtime put it in to build it.
That valedictorian? He didn’t post all of the late nights studying.


Because just Tuesdays aren’t very pretty or particularly interesting.

But they are where most of the work is put in that lead to those big moments and those events that we tend to romanticize.

Change happens on the just Tuesdays.
Differences are made on the just Tuesdays.
Testimonies are built during the just Tuesdays.

Goals aren’t accomplished and dreams don’t come true without those just Tuesdays.

While I have met many fantastic people during “special” moments, my strongest friendships were built on the foundation of, you guessed it, just Tuesdays.  Those people who stick around for the ordinary, the mundane, and the in between?
They’re precious.

But whether it’s relationships, careers, ministries, fitness, or any other goal you’ve set – they rarely come into fruition without the dull working parts.

Even the Bible talks to us about our just Tuesdays.

Romans 12 starts out like this,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (NIV)

Now, that doesn’t sound much like the same thing UNTIL we read The Message version of this verse!  It translates as,

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (MSG)

Upon further reading, you’ll find that 2 Thessalonions 1:11 tells us,

“Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time – pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something.”  (MSG)

You see, friends.  It’s just Tuesdays, when you feel complacent or ordinary or even like you’re driving on autopilot that the good stuff comes into fruition.  This is when God prepares you for the big things.


We were all born with a purpose.

Some will learn theirs early on.
Some will stumble upon theirs on accident.
Some will have to work harder than they ever imagine to discover theirs.

And some of us?  Well, we may never know this side of Heaven.
And you know what?

That is okay.

Because our faith is not in this world, this life, the big moments, or the just Tuesdays.
It’s not in our purpose or ourselves.

It’s in the One who created us for with a purpose and for a purpose.

Let’s may 2018 the year we make the most of our just Tuesdays.

“…Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

One-Week Meal Plan, Chicken edition

I love food.

Food that is good for you.
Food that is bad for you.
Sweet, savory, salty, spicy…

And I try to be good and cook at home.

To try to save money, and honestly… my waistline.

But I know as a teacher, finding the energy to cook after a long day of work (especially in the month of August)… Well, that struggle is just real.

And teacher or not, I bet you can relate.  Adulting is hard.

I know the older generations reading this are probably LOL-ing at that, but seriously.  You guys who are rocking that full-time job, with 2.5 kids, and a Pinterest worthy life must be superheros or something.

So back to that food predicament… For the past year (with the exception of a few particularly wild weeks), I have successfully meal planned/prepped.

However, the difference in myself and most people is that if I find a super yummy recipe that I like, I can eat it five nights in a row.  I cook a week’s worth on Sunday and eat on it all week…

But that’s always not usually realistic, especially if you’re feeding more than one person.

So, this summer I had some time on my hands, and figured out a slightly different but almost just as easy meal prep strategy.

**Spoiler alert: If you need elaborate and in-depth recipes, turn around now.  My fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants instructions will not satisfy your needs.**

With that being said, here we go!

You will start out cooking enough chicken for you (plus the humans you’re responsible for feeding) for the whole week.  Yes, I said the whole week.  I know that could potentially be a large amount of chicken… But let’s not forget, Callie is only responsible for Callie.

(I usually buy a 3 lb bag of frozen bonless, skinless chicken; I prefer tenders but either tenders or breasts will do fine.)

You will season and bake/grill all of your chicken (I prefer grilled) and store it in the fridge.  You will take out what you need throughout the week.

To season my chicken, I just use salt, pepper, and Lawry’s seasoned salt.  (If you require baking instructions, I typically bake chicken breasts at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, but you may need to alter that based on the size of your chicken.) 

Now, let’s get down to business.

Before I officially begin, I will note that most of these meals are modified versions 21 Day Fix recipes and call for whole grain/wheat items.  So with that being said, if you’re dieting, these recipes can work for you with minor tweaking and will definitely work for you using your colored 21 Day Fix containers for measuring.

Monday – Buffalo chicken wrap and raw veggies

I’ve already written a post on buffalo chicken goodness, so if this selection doesn’t tickle your fancy you can check out some alternatives here.

For this recipe, you will need:

Shred your chicken and toss it in your Frank’s sauce.  Then, add all of your ingredients to your tortilla, making cheese the last thing you add.  Fold your tortilla.

**You can fold it wrap style, or if the tortilla is too small, just fold it over like a quesadilla.**

Heat a frying pan and place your wrap in the pan.  Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until wrap is browned.  Flip and repeat.

Serve with raw veggies (carrots and broccoli are my go to’s and ranch.)

Tuesday – Blue Ridge Chicken and green beans

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Cooked chicken (a serving per person, breast or tenders), heated
  • BBQ sauce (I used this kind)
  • Shredded cheese (I prefer Monterrey Jack)
  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional) – about 1 slice per chicken breast
  • Canned green beans
  • Optional – Goya seasoning

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.  Place your cooked chicken on a baking sheet (lazy girl cleaning hack, cover the sheet with aluminum foil first).  Brush the top of your chicken breast with BBQ sauce and add your bacon pieces, then cover with shredded cheese.  Place your pan in the oven and heat for approximate 5 minutes (or until cheese is melted.

Cook your green beans the way you please, but my own personal recommendations are as follows…

{Drain water from green beans and add to your pot.  Cover with water, adding a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease and a packet of Goya seasoning.  Simmer for at least 15 minutes… The longer it cooks, the more flavorful your beans will be!  *I realize not everyone keeps a container of bacon grease in their fridge like me, but if you cooked bacon for your chicken – BAM you do in fact have bacon grease on hand.*}

Wednesday – Baked/grilled chicken fingers and sweet potato fries

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Seasonings
  • Sweet potato fries (I prefer this brand)

Optional – Copycat Zax Sauce (mix ingredients together and chill in refrigerator)

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  •  1 teaspoon of black pepper

Re-season and heat your chicken… I prefer heating in the oven, but microwaving will work too.  Prepare sweet potato fries as directed on the bag.

**If you’re feeling a little like Betty Crocker on this evening, this is an excellent recipe for homemade sweet potato fries**

Thursday – Chicken Quesadilla

This recipe is for ONE quesadilla, multiply recipe as needed.
For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Place tortilla in heated pan and add your mixture. Fold tortilla and on medium heat, cook for approximately 2 minutes until brown and flip. Repeat on other side.

Serve with salsa.

Friday – Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Note: I have linked the original recipe above.  My version will be all depending on how many people you’re serving, how much chicken you have left, etc.  There will be no certain measurements, so if you need a more detailed look at things, it’s available.

For this recipe, you will need:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your casserole dish. (A smaller one such as an 8×8 is preferable)  Cover the bottom of your dish with your chicken, cover with marinara and stir. Sprinkle your mozzarella cheese over the chicken, and add grated parmesan.

In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and Italian seasoning.  Add about 1 tbsp olive oil to mixture to evenly coat bread crumbs.  (Add more if needed.)

Sprinkle bread crumbs over your cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until crumbs are a golden brown.

Serve with pasta; I prefer whole wheat.  Or for a healthier, but more time consuming, dish.. ZOODLES!

Well, there you have it.  I hope you found this post helpful and useful!  Let me know if you try any of these recipes out and how you liked them.  What would you change?  Did it make your week easier?  What other meal prep hacks are you curious about?

Give me some feedback and stay tuned for more foodie posts!



Putting Christ Back in Christmas

What about put Christ back in Christian?

This thought came to my mind last night in the Wendy’s drive thru.  The truck in front of me had a bumper sticker on the tailgate with the silhouette of a Nativity scene and the message “Put Christ back in Christmas.”  You’ve probably seen these bumper stickers before, or maybe you’ve seen a similar message shared on Facebook – “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” or “Merry CHRISTmas!”

Should we put Christ back in Christmas? Yes.
Is Jesus the reason for the Christmas season? Absolutely.

Of course I agree with these things. I’m even guilty of sharing some those posts myself… (Except maybe that CHRISTmas thing… I can’t help but reading it the way it’s typed.)

But we are missing the bigger picture here.

Isn’t it time we put Christ back in Christian?


(This is where people will begin to get offended.)

I grew up in church.  My grandmother got me up on  Sunday mornings and we went to Sunday school, and she taught me to sit in a pew, and everyone knew me as Evelyn’s granddaughter. And even as a child I took pride in that, because I watched her interact with these fellow church members and she was an amazing woman. And you know what?

When we were NOT at church, she was the same amazing woman.  We spent a lot of time on her front porch swing.  My favorite way to remember her is on that swing, with one leg tucked under her and the other keeping the swing going.  That was the place where she told me Bible stories and we would sing the good old hymns.  (Do Lord Remember Me is still my favorite.)

But then I grew up and ventured out on my own.

And it wasn’t long before good “Christian” people showed me a side of religion that I never wanted to be a part of.

Two-faced. Holier than thou. Judgmental. Always preaching what you should NOT do and never what you should.  Always condemning, never loving.

Keeping up with it all was exhausting and going to church was uncomfortable.  I didn’t feel worthy of sitting in those pews anymore and frankly, I didn’t want to.

It took a while before I decided to try and get back in to organized religion.  There came a point when my own personal beliefs and my love for Jesus was overshadowed by my questions and suffering through Bible reading alone.  (Yes, I said suffer… You totally know there are parts of the Word that leave you scratching your head going, “Whaaat?”)  But by the grace of God I found a church that welcomed me with open arms and has welcomed everyone else the same exact way.

If you’re lucky, you love going to church like I’ve learned to.
But we can’t just be good little church goers on Sunday.
We have to continue to love Jesus every day.
And to love Him, means to love His people.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

So, will they know us by our love?progression

It’s hard sometimes.
Okay, a lot of times.
Yes, I said it.
It’s hard to love others.
I fail multiple times a day.

I’m preaching to me as much as I anyone else.

Which is exactly why I need Jesus.

Jesus didn’t pick and choose when to love and neither should we. 

*This post is not directed toward any one particular person or congregation, just general experiences of my early adulthood.

An Ode to First Responders

Note: This is a post from 2016; it’s just now cycling over from my old site.

I have a confession to make…

A couple of days ago, I was on my way to work, following my normal routine… Just jammin’ out to whatever music was fitting my mood that day, I don’t remember exactly what it was… Classic rock, gangster rap, worship music… Ya know what, that’s not important.

So anyway, I’m driving along, singing to my steering wheel when I pass a dog standing by the road.  I watched the little fellow in my rear view mirror and all of a sudden it takes a step towards oncoming traffic.

In 2.5 seconds, I went from a Mariah Carey wannabe to a maniac screaming at that sweet little pup who could by NO MEANS hear me with TEARS running down my face.

Picture it now. Ugly girl crying while yelling “NO, NO, NO, NO!! Stop! Turn around, turn around, turn around!” as if I was in the most tragic made-for-tv movie to ever hit the Lifetime channel.

The good news is, the fur baby who almost broke my heart, the one I don’t even know, and have never even petted turned around and went back into its yard.

(The other good news is, I was able to dry that mess up before I got to school and no one had to know that I just spent a good chunk of my commute mourning the non-death of a dog who does not belong to me.)

Let’s move along, shall we?
So, here’s the thing:

1.  I am not an emotional person.
2.  It was a dog.
3.  It wasn’t even MY dog.
4.  It didn’t actually get run over.

But I was a big puddle of mush anyway.

So that brings us to today.  First thing this morning there was a wreck on Hwy. 27 and there was a fatality.

Upon hearing about it and considering the whole situation, a whole new wave of thoughts entered my mind.

How do first responders do it?

Policeman, firemen, paramedics, military men and women…
Let me also add nurses and doctors to this list of heroes in the midst of tragedy.

As a teacher, I hear all of the time “I couldn’t do what you do!” or “I don’t know how you do it!”

But don’t we all see some profession or another like that?

They say that teaching is calling and I believe that a little more with every day I spend in the classroom.

But I also have no doubt in my mind that these precious souls that are able to keep their sanity in the middle of an emergency were called to do what they do.

To wake up each morning carrying the images of yesterday and not knowing what you might see today, but pushing on nevertheless – now that is a calling.

I boohooed this week over an almost puppy fatality.

There was a brave soul that responded to a wreck this morning.
There was a brave soul who tended to the wounded and another who dealt with fatalities.
There was a brave soul that made a phone call to deliver news that no one wants to make.
There was a brave soul who directed traffic.
There was a brave soul who came in the aftermath to clean up the mess.

Just God’s earthly angels doing what they were called to do.

Thank you, first responders and emergency workers for your service!
My prayers are with you.

Commitment… And Everything That Goes With It

*Insert Leann Rimes jam session*

Okay, back on track.  What were talking about? Oh yeah.  Commitment.

News flash, y’all – we live in a busy world!

Busy is my favorite way to be (except the exact opposite, when I enjoy my coffee in silence as I binge watch Netflix.)

As far back as I can remember, I’ve ran a busy schedule.

My mama will quickly tell you, “I used to wake up every morning and ask myself, ‘Where does Callie have to be today?'”

Cheerleading practice this day, dance classes that day, softball game here, church service there, sorority fundraiser this weekend, school function that weekend…

Rarely have I ever been one to just pick one thing to do.

My mama also will tell you this – she had a theory.  The more activities I was committed to, the less trouble I would get in.


That’s kind of a funny word.
You don’t hear it much these days.
It feels weird rolling off the tongue and it doesn’t always taste good.

But you see, I was extremely lucky growing up.

I have a daddy who was committed to a business that demanded every second of every day.

I have a mama, who saddled up and joined him in his endeavor as a restaurant owner.

And you know what?

When the time came, they did what they needed to do, made the adjustments they needed to make, and called in the help they needed to get me where I needed to go.

That’s right.  Read that again.

They always made sure I got where I was supposed to be AND that I was prepared AND that I was on time…

… even when I didn’t want to go.

Even though they had responsibilities of their own.

And my friends’ parents were the same way.

They all had that “team work makes the dream work” mentality.

There were some days when one of our parents would have a car full of 4 or 5 children pulling up at cheerleading practice.  And then a different parent would show up and take us all home.

Those precious parents of ours INSTILLED a sense of responsibility in us because they never gave excuses.

So, when the time came and we were grown, or at least at the age we could drive ourselves, those values didn’t waver.

Fast forward ten years and I find myself well into my career as an elementary teacher and a dance teacher, and I get to observe today’s children and their behaviors in different settings.

While today’s society has changed greatly – everything from schooling to parenting to discipline and everything in between – do you know one thing I notice the most?

Lack of commitment.

There’s that word again.

In the classroom, we see a lack of commitment (and involvement) from parents when it comes to homework, studying, PTO, and activities in general.

At dance, kids drop out left and right.  Attendance is often a problem.  Why?  It’s consistently a lack of commitment.  (And just a little Callie-ism for you – a lack of responsibility on the parent and child.)

And it’s not just our dance studio.  Or dance in general.  It’s in sports and organizations across the board.

Parents, I am fixing to step on your toes.

First and foremost, YOU are the adult.

You are the adult that decided to fork over GOOD money to send your child to dance.  Or play football.  Or whatever your kid’s niche is.

And *POOF* three weeks into the season, your child is tired or doesn’t feel like going or would rather watch Netflix than to get his or her little self dressed and go to practice.


I don’t care if there’s tears.
I don’t care if fits are pitched.

It’s time to saddle up.

Vicki (my mama for all of you newbies around here) would have given me a response that sounded something like this:  “No baby girl, I spent good money for you to learn how to dance.  You’ve got 5 seconds to get your tail in that room and get dressed or I’m gonna give you a reason to cry.”

I don’t mean to be harsh, really.  But sometimes, the truth hurts.

“But you’re not a parent.”

No, I’m not.  But I’ve had some excellent examples in my life that have shown me what effective parenting looks like.  (I also spend 7+ hours a day with other people’s children.  Come at me, bro.)

I’ve already told you that my parents and my friends’ parents instilled what it means to be responsible, committed, and hard working in us.

If you don’t remember anything else I’ve ever written, I want you to remember this – it takes a village to raise your child.

Starting with you… The precious mamas and daddies, the grandparents, the family members… As a teacher, I appreciate you!  I know your job is hard and when you do what is best for your babies, it makes my heart smile.

But along the way, your village will grow tremendously.  You will welcome many people outside of your household into your village and they will impact your child just as much as you will, though in different ways.

These people will include teachers, coaches, instructors, youth pastors, mentors, friends, and many others along the way.

These people will love your child like their own. They will teach them skills that maybe you can’t. And they will happily pile your child along with theirs in the back of their SUV and get them where they need to go when you can’t.

But parents, you build those villages by teaching your child how to be committed to something.  How to be responsible, how to be humble and ask for help, how to work hard, and you guessed it – how to simply show up.

If I have burned your biscuits already and you’re sitting their in your keyboard warrior pose, waiting to strike… I’m going to ask you to wait right there.

Press the pause button on your anger, your offensiveness, or maybe even your shame.

I want you to picture your child 5 years down the road, 10 years down the road, maybe even 15.
Picture them in high school, college, and adulthood.

Parents, I hope you’re picturing prima-ballerinas, star quarterbacks, class presidents, valedictorians, cancer-curing doctors, life-saving soldiers, fearless community leaders, math-minded engineers, and the like.

These necessary, world-changing jobs that require discipline, responsibility, respect for superiors, hard work, and you know it’s coming… commitment.

Now, I want to dig deep.  Are you teaching your child these things?  Do your hopes and dreams for your children match what you’re instilling in them?

Let me give you some real life perspective.

There will come a time where your child doesn’t have a mama that loves them unconditionally around to let them stay at home instead of going to dance class, or skip football practice, or play hookie from school.

Their college professors, their future bosses, even their high school coaches… are not going to let those behaviors slide.

At least twice a week, when my alarm goes off to start my day, I think to myself… “I could call a sub.  I could just stay home today.”

But I don’t.  Why?  Because sometimes, you just have to do it anyway.

When you. just. can’t. stand your toddler’s tears and you don’t want to be the bad guy – do it anyway.
When you. just. can’t. argue with your child anymore about putting on her clothes to go to school – do it anyway.
When you. just. can’t. deal with your teenager rolling their eyes anymore – do it anyway.

Do your child and yourself a favor, and do it anyway.

Push through these hard times.

In the end, your child and society will thank you.

I know parenting is hard.  I know children can be headstrong.  But you got this, mama!

Win that argument.
Get that baby to dance class (even if it’s kicking and screaming.)

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time at Dance

“Hey, write me a post for our blog,” said the director at our dance studio… about 6 months ago.

Seriously, I’ve been swerving her request ever since, because I just didn’t know what to write.  (Sorry, Mrs. Crystal!) While I would call myself a writer and I’ve spent a large portion of my life as a dancer/dance teacher, I just wasn’t sure where to go with this request.

I’m a writer of the heart.  My best writing comes from things I’ve felt, or directly observed, or experienced!  So, once we got really started this season, I finally had a direction.

How to get the most out of your dance classes!

I know what you’re thinking, “Well, I show up every week!”

And that’s a great step in the right direction, but I’m going to share a secret with you.

When it comes to dance, just showing up is not enough.

Dance is defined like this:

Dance /dans/
1.    move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps.

But it SHOULD be defined like this:

Dance /dans/
1.    to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps, maintaining energy and focus, as you sweat and work your sore muscles, all while trying to remember all the technique you’ve ever learned.  Ever.  Also, you should smile.

No, I’m not exaggerating.
In fact, that definition should be longer!

With that being said, let’s get down to business.

How to get the most bang for your buck during dance class:

Show up to WORK.

Your dance teachers knows you’ve been at school all day.  In fact, they’ve probably worked a different job before coming to teach your class.  We know you’re tired, we’re know you’ve been working all day, and we want you to have FUN in our classes, but just like school – dance takes focus.

However, unlike school, you get to move around, burn off some pent up energy, and listen to fun music!  You can have the best of both worlds during dance class.  You can make friends and have fun, all while learning new steps.

Dance teacher secret – Whining and being lazy isn’t only holding you back, it’s also frustrating to your classmates and teachers.


Take corrections and APPLY them.

This goes hand in hand with showing up to work!

If your dance instructor gives you a correction because you’re doing something wrong, it is NOT a bad thing!  It means he or she cares enough to fix your mistakes so you won’t continue to make them.

The best things you can do when you are given a correction are:

  1. Respond with a good attitude
  2. Listen, watch, and ask questions
  3. APPLY the corrections

While you may think those are “duh” points to make, APPLYing corrections has to be intentional every. single. time. you do the move.


Find your dance “person.”

Naturally, you should be friendly to everyone in your class.  Dance is a fantastic way to make friends.

But trust me when I tell you, everyone needs a “person” in their classes.

This is the classmate who is not only your friend, but also someone who will help you practice, remind you when you’ve forgotten a step, and help keep you on track.  Even the most dedicated dancers need a “person.”

Becoming each other’s “persons” are how teams are built!

Practice outside of class.

This includes stretching.

I know.  I can hear you now.  I have practically lived your thoughts.

You don’t want to.  There’s Snapchat, and homework, and Netflix, and friends, and whatever else entertains teenagers these days.

BUT, practicing between classes is as simple as setting 15-30 minutes aside each day to run your dances.

(Side note: you can totally stretch while scrolling through social media and binge watching Stranger Things.)

Don’t be afraid of the front.

When you’re in class and there’s spot open at the front of the room – grab it!

I cannot stress this enough.  Don’t worry what everyone else is thinking! The front row of your dance class is not some forbidden zone where only professional reside.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a spot with a clear view of the instructor and the mirror.  Be confident in yourself and make the most out of the opportunity when it presents itself.

Don’t compare yourselves to others.

I know.  It’s so hard.  As dancers (especially us girls), we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others.  From our skill levels, to our technique, to our body types – we compare!

But it’s important to remind yourself that everyone else’s journey is not YOUR journey.

Everyone is different.  Everyone learns differently.  Every member of your class has a different story.

You may find yourself asking… If they can do that, why can’t I?

But the real question is… If you’re worried about someone else, how can you grow as a dancer?

The sooner you begin to focus on you, the better!

And the last one goes without explanation…

ENJOY your time in class.

Dance is hard work, but it is also SO. MUCH. FUN!

There you have it.  Seven ways to get the MOST out of your dance classes!

Now, it’s YOUR turn to share your own tips with us.  How have YOU made the most of your dance experience?

Share it and tag your dance “person!”


For more information on our classes, visit https://www.centerstagedanceal.com/!



Bust a Move

There is just something about the new year that gives you a sense of euphoria.

If you’re like me, the idea of new beginnings makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  You set new goals, you pick your resolutions, you look forward with hope… for about two weeks.

For the past 9 or so years (aka, every year of my adulthood), I have set similar resolutions every single year.

  1.  Lose weight/get healthy
  2. Save money/make extra money
  3. Read my Bible more regularly.

Those probably sound super familiar because you’ve probably set some similar ones yourself.

And if you’re like me, they never truly last.  You may lose the weight, save the money, and read that Bible… for a short amount of time.  Because honestly, if they ever truly stuck, we wouldn’t keep setting the same goals each year.

We start the diet, hit the gym hard, go budget crazy, and become spiritual gurus for about 2 weeks and then, life happens.  Those resolutions never involve life changes.  So, what if we picked a word for our upcoming year instead of a “resolution.”

Last year, my church focused on the word “move.”  I was reminded of this when I was working on a sign for my dance studio.

“Don’t just stand there, bust a move.”

Who knew a line from a 1980’s hip hop song could be so revolutionary?

You see, I am a thinker and a day dreamer.  Ideas are constantly flying, my wheels are always turning 90 miles an hour.  So much activity, so much brainstorming, but am I really going anywhere?

Not really.

I would even go as far to tell you I DO move.  Sporadically.  Like a gnat on speed.  I will think of an idea or a project, and I will start it… For it to just sit there unfinished because I got distracted.

I bet you can relate.  I’m not sure when it happened, but we as a society have lost the ability to slow down and commit to something.  Whether it’s to each other, a job, learning a new skill, or you guessed it, a resolution.  We lack commitment.

We move too fast to focus on one certain thing.

It reminds me of a scene in Shawshank Redemption.  A character named Brooks Hatlen went to prison in 1905 for a crime that is unknown to viewers.  When he is released from prison in the mid-1950’s, he can’t keep up with society and in a letter penned to his former inmates, he says  “The world went and got itself in a big d*** hurry.”   (Seriously, criminal or not, I cry every single time.)

Can you imagine how he’d feel now?  Being released into a society that is built around a rushed schedule and convenience?

We are so focused on keeping up with the Jones’s and seeing how many “likes” we can get on social media we often miss the big picture, causing us to never meet our end goal.

But, I would say we move.  As a society, we totally move.  We move fast, at a rapid pace.

I know I do.  I could look back at 2017 and tell you I moved a lot… But I didn’t go anywhere!

You want to know WHY I wasn’t going anywhere, even though I was running at a rapid pace?

Because my movements weren’t intentional.

The word intentional has been weighing on my heart a lot lately.

Intentional is defined as something “done on purpose; deliberate.”

As I look back on years past, there was plenty of intention behind the GOALS I set, but very little behind the steps I was taking to accomplish them.  I was just going through the motions of goal setting.

So, this year, instead of a long list of resolutions, I have chosen the word intentional to represent 2018.

So friends, are you moving?  Really moving?  Or are you just spinning your tires, walking in circles, and treading water like I’ve been doing?

Join me this year in taking steps that are intentional!

If you have chosen a word for the year, share it in the comments!  I would love to hear them.  You never know, your word may inspire someone else!

Happy New Year, my friends!





A Simple DIY to Keep the Christmas Warmth in Your Home All Year

Oh, Christmas has come and gone once more.

It’s always bittersweet, when the holidays end.  

If you’re lucky, it’s sweet because you’ve made all of these precious memories with your loved ones.  You’ve given those gifts you so thoughtfully put together and you’ve shared your favorite Christmas dishes.  You’re completely fulfilled and now that it’s over, life slows back down.

But it’s also a little bitter in the way the “magic” slowly disappears from the air.
That warm feeling the decorated trees, mantle decorations, and lights bring to your home gets packed away for another year.

This year was extra special for my me and roommate, because we had a front porch to decorate!  This may not seem like a big deal to some, but we grew up in the country where no one would see your Christmas decorations if you put them out… so, we just didn’t. But with the help of Pinterest and our parents, we were able to bring our “vision” to life.  I admit, there was just something special about driving up to a decorate house.

Maybe you don’t feel that way, but around here, we love Christmas lights.  So much so, we’ve found ways to keep them out all year!

Thanks to Pinterest (again), I spent Christmas break last year working on a DIY television stand.  While I loved the look of it, when we added lights we found in the after-Christmas clearance section, it changed the entire feel of our home.

Fast forward to this Christmas when Kayla and I both got strands of fairy lights from her mom.  We were both excited about receiving them, but couldn’t quite figure out what to do with them.  We discussed hanging them on our accent table, putting them on the wall behind our tv stand, etc.

But nothing felt just right… to me at least.  As my roommate of almost two years, Kayla has just learned that I am constantly going to rearrange things, move things, repaint, refurnish, etc. until it’s “right.”  So, when we got our lights, (in true Callie fashion) I started brainstorming.  And (in true Kayla fashion) she told me to go on with my bad self.

So, I did.  Which took me to Pinterest.  Which led me nowhere.  Shockingly.

And that left my wheels spinning… And, as usual, those wheels spun me all the way to Michaels to purchase supplies.

You see, a few months back, a friend of mine from junior high posted a picture of a pretty frame she had made.  I had been researching how to make frames and had not found one that didn’t require a ton of power tools.  So when I saw hers, I was all “Show me! Show me!” (insert hand-raising emoji)

And y’all know what?  That sweet soul went LIVE on Facebook the next time she made one of her frames because she remembered I wanted to learn how to do it.

(Side note:  I have a love/hate relationship with social media… but the fact that It it allows us to still connect with people we knew 10+ years ago is definitely on the pros list!)

Anyway, I was mind blown at her genius method!  While I won’t share her entire process to her art in my post, the first step did lead me to today’s project.

Once I had successfully made my brainstorm a reality, I decided to share it!  I’ve done recipe posts, organization posts, and plenty more… but I’ve never shared any of my crafting!

So, let’s get started.

Materials you will need:

  • A staple-back canvas like this one.  You can use whatever size you like, I used a 24″ x 36″ canvas from Michaels.  These canvas run about $27, but if you shop at Michaels, their app/website always offers a coupon for 40% (or more) off one regular price purchase so you can get them at a better price.  Lucky for me, when I bought mine they were running a 50% off coupon.
  • X-ACTO knife or razor blade
  • Wood stain of your choice.  I used MiniWax Wood Finish in the Espresso color.
  • Fairy lights.  These are normally battery operated, which is fine for most projects, but these I found on Amazon plug into the wall and may be better suited depending on where you hang your frame.
  • Staple gun (optional)

Once you have your supplies, you’re ready to get to down to business!

(THANK YOU, Brittany for steps 1 & 2!)

Here we go:

  1. The first thing you’re going to do is cut around the edge of your canvas with your X-ACTO knife/razor blade.  Be careful to cut along the frame so you don’t accidentally cut whatever surface your crafting on.

2.  Next, you’re going to pull all of the canvas off of your frame.

    3.  Depending on what size canvas you have, there may be a “brace” of some sort in the middle.  The bigger the canvas, the more likely it will have a brace.  As you can see in my pictures, mine had a cross in the middle.  I (not so gracefully) hammered it out and beat it to smithereens in the process. If you use a hammer, be careful so you don’t warp the frame!  However, if you have a saw, that’s probably a “cleaner” way to take care of it, but… hammering worked fine.

(If your canvas doesn’t have a brace, skip this step. Duh.)

            4.   Once your frame actually looks like a frame, you can paint it or stain in.  Again, I used MiniWax Wood Stain in the Espresso color.

(Yes, my stain has been used for many projects.  Yes, I make a huge mess every time I craft.)

5.  Next, wrap your lights around your frame in whatever pattern you like best.  I wrapped mine in vertical “stripes,”  but you could also wrap them abstractly or around the frame.

6.  OPTIONAL: Flip the frame over and staple the lights in place.  Be careful to not puncture the strand!  I didn’t staple mine.

BAM! Done. Hang that bad boy up.
Straighter than me, though.  Because yes, now that I have uploaded my pictures, I realize how crooked that is.

For a unique touch, you can also add pictures using small clothes pins!

So, there you have it!  A very easy-easy, fool-proof craft to bring that Christmas warmth back into your home.

As we close out 2017, I would like to wish you a very happy and blessed New Year!  Thanks for hanging with me this past year of my blogging journey.  I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days bring!


A Shift in Perspective

I woke up this morning in my warm house.
I was wrapped in three nice, fluffy blankets.
When I got out of bed, I slipped my feet into shoes specifically made for walking around the house.
I sleepily walked to the kitchen where I pulled down a three pound canister of Folgers coffee and put on a pot to brew.
Then, I went into the bathroom, ignoring the baskets of creams and beauty products that remain unused, and turned on the shower.
While I waited for the water to get warm, I went to the clothes dryer to fetch a clean towel.
I proceeded to enjoy an extra long, hot shower, with water so clean you don’t have to worry about keeping your mouth closed in fear of parasites.
When my shower is over, I find myself silently complaining that it will be cold when I pull back the curtain.
And it is, so I quickly dress and head back to the kitchen for a cup of that precious, steaming hot coffee I love so much.
I add a packet of stevia (the “safe” sweetener these days) and a generous pouring of creamer before grabbing a muffin and popping it in the microwave.
I head to the couch, turn on my flat screen tv, and open up the Netflix app to enjoy an episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I’ve probably seen 3 or 4 times before.

Within an hour of waking up, I’ve encountered more things to be thankful for than I have fingers on my hands.

You see, I pray on the way to work every morning.  If I am completely honest with you, it is nothing eloquent.  It’s not filled with big churchy words and I usually lose my focus at least once.  (Cue awkward apology to our Heavenly Father for squirreling during a prayer.) And it’s usually pretty similar to the prayer from the morning before.

I always try to pray in thanksgiving for the many blessings I have received, but let’s face it.  We are a nation of abundant blessings and little thanksgiving.  We live day to day taking everything for granted but to an extent, everything has just always “been there” without us having to put forth any effort to achieve it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what it’s like to go hungry, or not to have shoes on my feet, or a bed to sleep in.  I don’t know true need.

Even as someone who’s visited a third world country and seen the devastation, the hurt, the poverty, and the need… I still come home and fall right back into the same ole habits.

A Haitian woman preparing a meal.

I’ll never forget my first trip to Haiti.  I remember being hyper-aware of the huts and tents the people called home.  Electricity is only for the “wealthy” and even then, it comes in spurts.  They wear tattered, second hand clothing and  worn out shoes, or in a lot of cases, no shoes at all… The soles of their feet are tougher than leather from walking barefoot. Their tummies swelling from malnutrition.  They’re heading to the river or, if they’re extra lucky, the ocean to bathe.

One day, we went walking through the community to do some outreach.  We handed out simple items like underwear and socks, candy and small toys.  There is a method to this kind of outreach.  You must be careful to keep your donations hidden from sight until you hand them out; you must pull things out one at a time.  Because when need runs this deep, when people are desperate, their eagerness will resemble an angry mob.

After handing out our items, we encountered a woman selling “dirt cookies.”  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  And yes, they’re exactly what you think they are.

Dirt, flour, water.

Offering little nutrition to those who eat them, parents often feed them to their kids just to fill their bellies.  But, with that quietening of their growling stomachs comes the risk of parasites from the dirt.

My sponsor son, sweet Billie! The picture on the right in from my first trip in 2014, the one of the left is from this past summer – June 2017.

Even my own sweet Billie was living in a mango tree eating whatever he could find.

Can you imagine?

Can you put yourself in the shoes of those parents?  Or those kids?

Today, on this day of thanksgiving.
When we’re taking showers with clean water.
When we stress about what we’re going to wear.
When we gather and eat until we are miserable.
When we fuss because the kids will only eat mac-n-cheese and rolls.
When we can’t agree on which football game to watch.

Can you put yourself in their shoes?

We are a nation of excess.  We are wasteful.  We are, in today’s lingo, extra. 

Most of us take everything for granted.

We are people who look at a full cabinet of food and just “can’t find anything to eat.”

This is what the Haitians call a “souffle.” It’s where their meal is laid out on a banana leaf. It’s considered a special occasion.

We look into our overflowing closets and just “can’t find anything to wear.”
Our perfectly good cars, phones, etc. need to be traded in for the newest version.

I know I am guilty of all of these things.

This holiday season, I want to challenge myself and all of my readers to give thanks for the things we forget to be thankful for.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  1 Chronicles 16:34

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

If you want to know more about our mission work, visit our website!

4 Ingredient Mexican Chicken and Cauliflower Rice

It’s just me, in this life I live.  There’s no other human, on a personal level, that I am responsible for.  The only people I have to make sure get fed, and clothed, and bathed, etc. etc. etc. is me.  And y’all know what?

I still struggle!

If you’ve read about the way I meal prep, you already know I struggle to cook every night and my meals have to be strategically planned!

For example, I went to Publix this week and bought a very nice selection of healthy foods… with no. plans. whatsoever.  Which, like my meal prep post says, SUCH a big no no!

And this week was no exception, especially since my roommate and I started back to the gym.  (That’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

So, naturally, Monday rolls around… We went to the gym and then had to make an unexpected trip to Sam’s.  By the time we were finished, it was getting late, and you know where we ended up?  Chili’s.

And, as yummy as that burger was, it was NOT 21 Day Fix friendly, nor was it cooked with any of the ingredients I spent good money on.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when I finally had to cook… my sporadic, no plan list of ingredients looked something like this:

  • Chicken
  • A frozen bag of riced cauliflower

Riced.  Cauliflower.

It was a “I gotta see the what the hype is” purchase.

I am not a huge cauliflower fan.  I know it’s been a Pinterest fad for a while, and while I have discovered it’s a great alternative to those carby-type foods that I absolutely adore… it’s kind of a pain in the rear.

It’s messy… or maybe that’s just me.  So, when I saw they had FROZEN riced cauliflower… aka cauliflower I didn’t have to “rice”… aka cauliflower I didn’t have to destroy my kitchen over… I was sold.

But we know I wasn’t going to eat it plain, so I turned to Pinterest.

Lots, and lots, and lots of awesome recipes.

With lots of ingredients I didn’t have…

So I got creative and used what I had in the cabinet.

Now, we are HUGE Mexican lovers in our house.  It’s like an unspoken house rule… “When all else fails, just eat Mexican.”  Which means, there’s always some form of leftover taco meat, nachos, taco soup, etc. in our fridge.

***I should probably go ahead and tell you, I had already prematurely baked my chicken and steamed my cauliflower before I ever decided on a direction I was going.  (Go ahead all you type-A-ers, I’ll give you a second to twitch over my impulsive decisions.)***

So, anyway.  My unplanned dinner ended up something along the lines of a Chicken-taco-“rice”-bowl.  I was a little iffy about how it would turn out, and I so badly wanted to just put it in a taco shell or eat it with chips… but I resisted and it. was. so. good.

Here’s how I made it…


  • 3-4 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts – shredded
  • A bag of frozen riced cauliflower, steamed
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • Optional toppings: cheese, jalapenos, sour cream

My chicken was baked, but you could use any leftover kind of chicken… grilled, boiled, baked, etc.

(If you don’t know how to bake chicken… salt and pepper, pop in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts… for more in-depth instructions, there’s always Google.)


Warm up a sauce pan and add your chicken, steamed riced cauliflower, and taco seasoning.  (Mix your taco seasoning with water as instructed on the back before mixing it in.) Heat it up and simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove it from heat and let the sauce thicken.

BAM!  You’re done.

Top it off with your favorite Mexican toppings.  I used shredded cheese and jalapenos!

BONUS: It’s yummy leftover!

Happy Saturday!

Other recipes from Organized Chaos:

1 2 3