Saturday, January 21, 2017

A New Adventure

I've always wanted to be a teacher.

I've spent the last eight years in the classroom teaching kids. I feel teaching has been a calling for me, something that I was led to and find great fulfillment from doing.

But this week, I began work on another life dream -- teaching other people who want to be teachers.

The university where I did my certification and master's work has hired me as an adjunct instructor in their teacher prep program.  I am teaching Classroom Management, one of my favorite courses while I was in their program.

Tuesday night was my first class.


Being able to share what I have learned so far about teaching, building student connections, growth mindset, classroom community, doing what's right for kids, research, how to handle challenging students, team building, remaining a lifelong learner and more was like .... coming full circle.

Ten years ago, I sat where these students sat. And now I am teaching them. I am continuing to learn along with them. I will learn from them just as they (hopefully) will learn from me.
I feel an enormous sense of responsibility.
And excitement.
And hope.

For this opportunity, I celebrate.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Things We Say

In last week's Celebrate post, Ruth Ayres encouraged us to think about those sayings or phrases that are often repeated like mantras by those around us. Her friend Kim was known for the line, "It's all good," a simple way to show love, trust, and forgiveness.

As I went through my week, I thought a lot about Ruth's call to listen for the repeated words in our lives. I realized that phrases like "It's all good" are abundant in my life, either coming from those around me or from my own mouth:

"It is what it is." This is a favorite of mine. I use it as a way to accept things as they are and let go of the need to control.

"You can't tell from where you sit, how you stand." My stepdad would always say this. To me, it means that I shouldn't assume anything.

"Life is short. Eat dessert first." Another favorite from my stepdad. Ruth would like this's about not putting off celebration and enjoyment for later.

There are also a few not-so-positive mantras that popped into my mind:

"Hit your mother and your hand will fall off." No surprise that this one came from my mom. It means to always be kind and respectful to your parents.

"Beauty is pain." I'm not sure of the origin of this one, but I remember it from when my mom would brush my long hair that was often snarled and out of control.  I heard it a lot, and so has my daughter.

What is interesting to me as that these phrases are often said without even thinking about them, yet they are so woven into the fabric of our lives that effortlessly present themselves on our lips at a moment's notice.

If you stop to think about it, these phrases are a kind of storytelling, a way of passing wisdom down through the generations. I remember these things being said (often) around me as I grew up, and my kids will do the same.

I think that's pretty cool.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Celebrating the Star

Happy new year, friends!

Tuesday morning brought the return of my morning drive back to school. There's really only one way for me to take to school, After turning off my street, I turn onto a county highway that takes me toward school. I travel the same way every day.

The sun was just about to come up so it was still quite dark. Most of the homes have turned off their holiday lights by this time in January, leaving my ride lit only by the headlights of my car.

But on Tuesday morning, as I traveled down that very familiar county highway, I saw a giant lit star on top of a silo of one of the farms.

This struck me as odd.

I haven't ever seen this star before, even though I travel this road every day.

How could I have missed it?

What made me notice it that morning?

I liked this star. A lot. It was big and bright and lit up its little part of the world on this cold January morning. It made me happy.

That got me thinking -- what other joys have been right in front of me that I have been missing?

I think a lot.

So I went on a mission this week to be on the look out for little joys and gratitudes that may have otherwise slipped by me.  And you know what?  There were quite a few:

* The scent of brewed coffee when I come out of my room in the morning, thanks to the timer on my coffee pot.

* The little first graders at school who wait for me to walk with them during walking club before school starts.

* Sweet strawberries from the grocery store, even during winter.

* Cozy turtleneck sweaters on freezing cold days.

* A friend who calls me on the way to school just to chat

* My husband who makes the bed every morning

I'm sure little joys are still slipping past me, but I'm trying to be more aware, to be on the lookout for those bright stars that might have been there all along, just waiting to be noticed.

And for this, I celebrate.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Having Faith {SOL 1.03.17}

A new year means a new opportunity to choose a new One Little Word (OLW). I start thinking about my new OLW around October and reflecting on some questions:

What direction do I want to head next year?
In what area of my life do I need help?
What's important to me?
Where am I being called?

Choosing just one word is tough. There's a lot of pressure to get it right. Some years, I hit it dead on. Others, not so much. After coming off of a year with a word that didn't quite fit (CHOOSE), I wanted to make sure my OLW for 2017 was a good one.

I think I found it. Or rather, I think it found me.

My OLW for 2017 is...
2017 will be a year of BIG changes for me. Some of these changes I know about already. Others are still waiting to be revealed. Either way, I have faith that it will all work out the way it should. I am giving up control. All will be good in the end.

I know it will.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Sounds of Silence {SOL 12.13.16}

I prefer silence....

no TV,
no music,
no noise at all

other than the sounds of

the dryer firing up,
the dog snoring,
the click of the timer that turns on the lamp in the hall


the crunch of the snow,
the whir of the dishwasher,
the flutter of the birds meeting at the feeder


the tick of the clock,
the rocking of my chair,
the rumble my neighbor's car engine.

For if I had the TV on or music playing,
I would miss this symphony
that I call silence.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Constant Celebration

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could walk around in a constant state of thankfulness and celebration? To notice and appreciate the many, many joys in our lives, both big and small?

I'm trying to make an effort to live more this way.

(Some times, it is not easy.)

But I've found that the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I've also found that the more I celebrate, the more things I have to celebrate. I've also noticed that I'm a much happier person when I do this.


Here are some of my {many} celebrations this week:

* My son called me from college just to talk

     * Friends who trust me with their words

* The whisper that tells me my time in my comfort zone has come to an end

     * Unexpected opportunity

* Sweet raspberries

     * Writing by the light of the Christmas tree

* Hearing the furnace kick on in the morning, knowing I will wake to warmth

     * A book recommendation from a friend

* A fire in the fireplace

     * Birds that gather on the bird feeder outside the window

* Warm cinnamon bread baking in the oven, making the house smell heavenly

     * A smile from a student

Being in a constant state of celebration and thankfulness is also about being mindful. In this crazy month of December, when we zip from one event to another, I hope you will take a minute to stop and celebrate all of your blessings.

It will literally change your life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Patient Princess {SOL 11.22.16}

Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was blessed with incredible patience and a sparky sense of humor. She lived in a castle in the country with her handsome prince, young daughter, and two naughty (yet adorable) dogs.

The princess prided herself on her ability to remain calm in the face of chaos, for she knew that in order to keep peace throughout the land (and her castle), someone had to take some deep breaths and remember the wise words once shared by the princess's mother, "This too shall pass."

One Sunday morning, the princess was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and decided to make soup for the castle lunch. She reached into the cabinet drawer where she kept the canned vegetables, broth, and other necessities for making soup, discovering that all of the cans were stuck to the cabinet bottom. Apparently, one of the castle inhabitants put away the new bottle of corn syrup without tightening the cap, allowing it to spill out all over the drawer, hardening, and attaching everything rather securely to the drawer bottom.

No bother, the patient princess thought. This too shall pass. She set about to removing the cans from their sticky trap with the aid of the royal hairdryer and a metal spatula.

When that job was finished, the princess walked into her bedroom and was frightened by the ghastly sight before her, for the royal mutts had made quite a mess on the carpet after frolicking in the castle yard. No bother, the patient princess moaned, glaring at the two naughty (yet adorable) dogs.  She took a few deep breaths.  This too shall pass.

The patient princess got out the castle carpet cleaner and began to soak the carpet with cleaning solution. After spraying down a rather large container of cleaning solution, the princess began the task of going over the carpet again to remove it.  It didn't take long for the princess to realize that something was wrong, for the cleaner would not suck.

The princess tried and tried to make the cleaner work, taking it apart and putting it back together several times. The princess, who was beginning to lose her patience with the carpet cleaner, got a little huffy when reassembling the cleaner for the final time and struggled a bit with reattaching the hose, finally snapping it back into the holder rather abruptly (and not at all patiently). The hose responded by squirting the princess in the eye with some remaining solution. The princess wiped her eye, glared again at the dogs, then went in search of some box fans to dry the carpet.

Later that evening, the princess's daughter suggested that since the patient princess had such a rough day, perhaps a bubble bath was in order. The princess agreed.

She walked into the castle bathroom, carefully passing by the box fans still trying to dry the carpet, and began running her bath. As the water filled the tub, the patient princess put away a few items of laundry. When the bath was ready, she stepped into the tub, and squealed. EEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!

The princess, who did not take baths very often, had filled the tub with cold water, not hot. She should have been more patient before leaving the castle bathroom after turning on the water apparently. This is a bother, the princess thought, reaching for a towel and then her pajamas.

"I'm going to bed," the princess announced to her handsome prince and darling daughter, who were sitting in the living room enjoying the Green Bay Packer football game. "I've had enough of today."

"Don't worry, mama, this too shall pass," the darling daughter said to the princess as she bent to kiss her good night. "Tomorrow will be a better day."

The princess went off to bed, avoiding any more catastrophes that might have been lurking around the castle corners.

When the princess awoke the next day, her patience and sense of humor had returned. She laughed to herself about the adversities of the previous day -- right as she walked into the box fan that was still drying the carpet.

Oh, bother, the princess thought.