Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

Think You’re Not Creative? I Invite You to Reconsider!

Cre-ate• verb: to produce something new by using your talents and imagination. Today I invite you to look at the other half of the A in MAPS—an acronym to help us remember how to nurture ourselves. Have you ever noticed how the letter A has two sides? We’ll call those two sides Academic and Artistic. Notice how both sides start at the same point and have a bridge in between them? Just like the letter A, we each have two…

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All About Art: Ten Quick Tips to Improve Your Photography

Pho-tog-ra-phy•noun: the art, process, or job of taking pictures with a camera. For a long time I thought I couldn’t do art because I didn’t consider myself artistic. But art plays an important role in our lives. God created us to create; therefore, we need to express ourselves artistically. Not everyone can draw, but everyone CAN do art. Some people find artistic expression in needlepoint or counted cross stitch. Some people take photos. Photography IS Art You’ll notice that Merriam-Webster’s…

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Five Free Resources for Continuing Your Education

The first part of this series focused on mental wholeness—how to achieve it and why it matters. That constitutes the M in the MAPS acronym. The next section focuses on the A—academic and artistic wholeness. free• noun: not costing any money Yesterday I introduced the term Zone of Proximal Development—a fancy way of saying that we learn best when we don’t get too comfortable, nor start at the hardest part. In order to keep growing, we need to keep learning. Academic…

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The Importance of Finding Your Zone of Proximal Development

Knowl-edge • noun: information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education. The first part of this series focused on mental wholeness—how to achieve it and why it matters. That constitutes the M in the MAPS acronym. The next section focuses on the A—academic and artistic wholeness. There’s no Growth in the Comfort Zone “Ewww! That’s gross!” one of my students said as she sliced along a herring’s lateral line with a sharp knife. I noticed that her…

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Why Academic and Artistic Wholeness Matters

ac-a-dem-ics • noun: courses of study taken at a school or college art • noun: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination The first part of this series focused on mental wholeness—how to achieve it and why it matters. That constitutes the M in the MAPS acronym. The next section focuses on the A—academic and artistic wholeness. What is Academic Wholeness? Academic wholeness matters because our brain, like a muscle, needs exercising. Learning shouldn’t end with high school, or…

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The Importance of Taking Care of Past Trauma

Epigenetics • epi-ge-net-ics noun: the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence For the past week I’ve written about ways to nurture yourself. The first point on the map consists of seeking mental wholeness.  Trauma Can Change Your Genes Did you know that trauma can change your genes? Changing your jeans—good. Changing your genes due to trauma—not so good. Scientists have discovered that changes in our gene function can happen outside of…

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Why You Shouldn’t Go to Your Pastor for Counseling

ther-a-pist • noun: a person who helps people deal with mental or emotional problems by talking about those problems: a person trained in psychotherapy Sometimes, friends or community members provide the sounding board that we need to process the things that hold us back from mental wholeness. Sometimes, we may need more. Counseling and Therapy are NOT the Same Don’t get me wrong. I just want to set the record straight. Most pastors give wise, godly counsel. But a pastoral…

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Find Your Pod, Tell Your Story

Sto-ry • noun: an account of incidents or events We can nurture ourselves through story—both by sharing our story and listening to other people’s stories. Find Your Pod, Tell Your Story The captain of the whale-watching tour ship called out over the loudspeakers, “Look to nine o’clock and you’ll see a bottlenose dolphin!” The passengers rushed to the port side and crowded eagerly around the railing. “Do you see it?” I asked one of my students. “Over dere,” he said,…

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Self-Help is NOT a Dirty Word

Self-help• noun: the action or process of doing things to improve yourself or to solve your problems without the help of others. This post is part of the 31 Ways to Nurture Yourself series. The acronym MAPS explains the four key components of learning to nurture ourselves in a balanced way. Self-Help Books Act as GPS Programs to Help us Navigate Life Achieving mental wholeness means having a growth mindset. We must put in the effort to keep our emotions from…

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Do You Need to Write a Memoir?

Mem-oir noun: a written account in which someone describes past experiences. Memoir, Maybe? Even though I’ve journaled on a daily basis for 37 years, I still find that certain events in my life require more than just a journal entry to make sense of them. Yesterday we learned about the health benefits of journaling as a way to achieve mental wholeness. Today we’ll talk about what to do if journaling doesn’t provide relief or growth. I discovered that after my…

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