Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Hey everyone. Today is a start of another week. For those of you that follow me on social media, you most likely saw last week’s motto: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life. One of my desires through this #buildingsuccessfullives blog and social media is to encourage others. I realize that EVERYONE can use some inspiration.  

I really do believe that if you deliberately change your perspective about life’s circumstances your life will change too! Most of the time, your outlook WILL drastically improve your day. Although your circumstances may not automatically change, you control your response. 

One of my passions is definitely building successful lives of children with special needs that I work with during the school year and equipping speech-language pathologists and educators with the tools to do the same. However, it’s much bigger than that. 

SAY WHAT? I desire for young adults to know that they too can build a successful, balanced, and fulfilled life for themselves. Yes, work is important. But what about your relationships with others, are they healthy? Do you think positively? Are you a glass half full person?

Stay tuned…more to come and remember. Change your mind, change your life! Use #inspireBSL and #inspireSLP to share your weekly inspirations on Instagram and Twitter. 

Make sure that you subscribe to this blog by entering your email on the right side of this page where it says “subscribe by email.”  That way you won’t miss an article! 

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Tamara Anderson

Honoring Lives Well Lived

It has been one week since the senseless shooting and killing of 9 people at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AMC) church in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015. The news was absolutely devastating to hear that someone did not value the lives of others and chose to murder them. 

Today, I make a deliberate choice to honor their lives. The 9 victims are: Susie Jackson- 87, Daniel Simmons Sr.- 74, Ethel Lance- 70, Myra Thompson- 59, Cynthia Hurd- 54, DePayne Middleton Doctor- 49, Sharonda Coleman Singleton-45, Clementa Pinckney- 41, Tywanza Sanders, 26.  

No, I didn’t know them personally, but my heart aches for their families and American society at large. I felt these feelings last Thursday when I heard the news and on Friday as well. With the passage of time, sadness gradually turns to action for me. 

Even in this scenario, when I never met any of these individuals, I desire to do something. I share their stories. I’m connected.

Therefore, I choose to honor the lives of the victims. I choose to play a part in helping to make a positive influence in telling their stories. 

One of those stories is that of Sharonda Coleman Singleton. She was a 45 year old mother of 3 children. She was an associate pastor, speech-language pathologist, track coach, sister, daughter, friend, and woman of God. 

I connect with her not only because I am saddened by the tragedy but also because I share somethings with her. I am a black woman who is also a woman of God, sister, daughter, friend, and speech-language pathologist. I’m not yet a mother, but I’m an aunt to my precious 18 month old niece and other friends’ kids in my village. 

I connect with her even more so because I learned last Thursday night that she previously worked as a speech-language pathologist in metro-Atlanta prior to moving to South Carolina in 2007. I read an online article today from People magazine that reported  how she left a voice message for a college friend 2 weeks prior to her death. In it she said, “No matter what happens, all shall be well.” She was truly of woman of great faith in God, no matter what.

Do you know what else?

I connect with her because I learned late last Thursday night that she not only worked in metro-Atlanta, but at my same school, in my same office. Her eldest child, who is now in college, attended the elementary school where I work prior to them moving to South Carolina. My co-workers remember Sharonda and her son, Christopher fondly.

When I found that out my heart sank even more, an eerie feeling came over me and I cried. It gave me the chills to know that a woman who loved working with special needs kids like I did, provided speech-language therapy in the same office I do now, and walked in the same elementary school halls, died at the hands of someone demonstrating hate.

I empathize greatly with the pain that Sharonda’s kids and loved ones feel in the aftermath of her horrific killing. 

But, guess what? Even though the occurrence of last week is still sad, I am now filled with comfort and peace knowing that Sharonda Coleman Singleton’s life was one of hard work, devotion, kindness, and service to others. For that reason, I honor her. May her legacy continue to live on so that others can be positively influenced by the life of service that she lived. May her children continue to grow into young adults with values that their mother, a fellow speech-language pathologist imparted in them. 

I also pray for comfort, strength, and peace for the other families. Myra Thompson was another servant of God, killed last Wednesday night. She devoted her life to church service and was the wife of a minister. I had dinner with her daughter a few weeks ago. Her daughter is a childhood friend of a friend of mine. I read an article from ABC news online in which her son said “What I’m going to miss most about my mom is her enthusiasm and her undeniable faith in the world to succeed.” 

I honor Myra Thompson today and pray that God wraps his arms around her family and strengths them each day. May they experience his peace.

I pray for the family of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and U.S. Senator from South Carolina. I honor him today.

I pray for the family of Susie Jackson. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Daniel Simmons Sr. I honor him today.

I pray for the family of Ethel Lance. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Cynthia Hurd. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Reverend DePayne Middleton Doctor. I honor her today. 

I pray for the family of Tywanza Sanders. I honor him today. 

So, why do I write this on my speech-language pathology blog? Simple. God’s calling on my life is much bigger than serving in my role as a speech-language pathologist although I love my profession. 

I choose to be obedient to God’s instructions and direction in my life. So, I write. I tell this story. I write: Honoring Lives Well Lived. 

Tamara Anderson

Why There are Specific Times for Everything in Life

We spend so much of our day multi-tasking or quickly moving from one task to another.  At the end of the day you either feel exhausted or accomplished when reflecting on all the tasks you completed in a day. When we are in work mode, we need to be productive and accomplish daily tasks. Trust me, I get it because I am definitely the list making queen! 

However, how often do you think about the fact that there are specific times for everything in life? You may have heard people say that there are different seasons in life. Regardless of the season, I know that we all need to achieve a WORK LIFE BALANCE! Ahhhh…It’s so refreshing just saying that. I am truly all about that. 

After eating my breakfast on the patio and completing my morning devotional today, I enjoyed laying back in my favorite chair. I looked around and could feel the peace of God surround me as I listened to the birds chirping and admired all the tropical plants in my midst. No, really I did! πŸ™‚ I then ventured outside the patio area as I noticed my mother’s plant was now in full bloom. 

I looked at my watch and it was about 10:30 am. My thoughts quickly reminded me that my mother calls this plant 10 o’clock. That’s usually when its in full bloom and then the flower goes to “sleep” and closes it’s beauty by 4:00 pm. 

This flowering plant, scientifically known as Portulaca grandiflora, has a specific time to bloom each day and it opens its beauty for about 6 hours each day. You have to WAIT until the next day to catch another look at the natural beauty. 

LIFE’S REMINDER FROM NATURE

It reminds me of life because there is a specific time for so many things. We do not have to do it ALL in one day, one week, one month or even one year. There are five main reasons why I believe there are specific times for everything in life. 

1) God’s timing is perfect. Don’t rush God’s process.

2) You need time to rest. Master the art of relaxation.

3) You need time for relationships. Nurture friendships, family time,      and your marriage. 

4) You need time to work. Commit yourself to a life of service. 

5) You need time for fun. Do what you love. Go where you love.

Likewise, everyone has their own journey and purpose in life. Don’t compare what you have or do not have in life to others. Instead express GRATITUDE daily! Happiness is a deliberate choice and it’s contagious too!

If you feel like there is always so much to do in one day, just BREATHE! Remember, there are specific times for everything in life. You don’t have to do it ALL in one day contrary to what society, your boss, or even spouse may think. 

Instead, remember the 5 main reasons why there are specific times in life and you will be AMAZED at how fulfilled and productive you can be! 

Thanks for reading the blog today. Have a beautiful day! πŸ™‚ 

Tamara Anderson

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Building Successful Livesβ„’- End of School Year Recap

I’m now in my 2nd week of summer break from work as a school based speech-language pathologist in the metro Atlanta area. It was a great and busy school year!  

I am enjoying my time in Florida since the memorial day weekend. It is always so refreshing to spend time in my beautiful sunshine and home state of Florida. Here’s a picture of me at a new spot my family and I discovered named Ponce Inlet that is located a little south of Ormond Beach. 

As I reflect on the past school year, I am so grateful that I got to contribute to building successful livesβ„’  in my students every day. It truly is rewarding to see their growth that is evident when I observe their communication skills and review my DATA! I think I am certainly the queen of progress monitoring as I have a form for just about everything I need! You can check some of those out here.

Each year, I look forward to attending 5th grade graduation for my students and this year was no different.  I wrote personalized letters for each child that recognized the gains they made in speech-language therapy and encouraged them to continue to succeed in MIDDLE school. I loved handing them out after the ceremony and snapping photos.  I felt like such a proud MAMA not just their SLP! Ha! I still can’t believe some of my kiddos are moving on from elementary.  I have worked with some of them for the past four years. 

When I chatted with parents, they shared their appreciation for me working with their child over the years. I know that I made a difference in enriching their child’s life from the conversations we had and their desire to snap keepsake photos! It makes me smile just thinking about it. πŸ™‚

This year, I not only provided direct speech-language therapy for children with communication disorders, learning disabilities, Autism, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral challenges but also provided consultative/direct services to children in the Response to Intervention process. 

I enjoyed seeing the progress students made receiving listening comprehension and oral language interventions. I also liked collecting background information like a sleuth to determine whether kids needed a referral for special education evaluation, then assessing them and analyzing evaluation results to determine whether they would qualify for a speech-language impairment eligibility and subsequent therapy services. I had several tricky cases this year including determining whether there was a language difference due to English Language Learner needs or a true language disorder. 

I also served on the SLP leadership team for my district, facilitated local team meetings, and supervised 2 new hires for their Georgia state license. It was a great opportunity to contribute to the professional growth of these young women. 

When it was all said and done, it was a rewarding school year. The smiles of my students, the hugs,  and the multiple “I’ll miss you this summer” confirm that I was certainly building successful lives one day at a time this school year. 

I am glad for the summer break from my school SLP role, yet I am excited for all that is in store for Building Successful Livesβ„’ Speech & Language Services. Stay connected by subscribing to the blog by email so that you receive blog articles directly into your email account. Have a great rest of the school year for those still at work this month. Keep up the great work for those working in pediatric private practice or early intervention as well! You can do it! πŸ™‚

Tamara Anderson

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