Friday, August 11, 2017

T.G.I.F.....

Joining Michelle for a TGIF post today.

T.G.I.F.
Trust. Today I trust that all this hard work is going to pay off. Teaching is a crazy roller coaster ride. And every year there's this packing up and unpacking. Ugh. What a lot of work. I can't wait for the day when I am not packing up from room to room and building to building. But it's still a lot of work. Many of my colleagues were there much later than me tonight.  I trust that this is the best place for me and that the chaos and clutter will settle down.

Gratitude. I am grateful for many, many things. Today I am most grateful that my principal "gets it" in regard to learning, and the brain. She knows that to find the positive and train the brain to focus on the good in life, you just have to practice gratitude! It is really that simple! Is it easy? Not necessarily.  Does it make the bad stuff not hurt, No. Does it mean that bad things will never happen? No. But the same as when I focus on negative, pathways are formed in the brain to seek out the negative, the brain will build new, positive, gratitude-seeking neurons will grow when I focus on gratitude.

Inspiration. I have been inspired to the moon and back lately. Today we learned about Trauma Informed Schools, with Heather Forbes. There is still so much to learn! Mindsets to change! I'm sufficiently inspired and motivated! I am ready!

Faith. I have faith that God will take care of me this year. I have faith that a power greater than myself is pushing me forward on every level.

What are your TGIF's? Trust. Gratitude. Inspiration. Faith.

Friday, August 4, 2017

TGIF

I am not in the swing of school yet. Not enough to actually be thinking about how I love Fridays. But I am pumped about this new Friday format for blogging. TGIF= Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration, Faith. I am following my friend Michelle at Big Time Literacy (BTL) and posting my TGIF post.

Trust. Today I trust that I can pull myself out of a mess I put myself in. Because I always do. And something bigger than me (God) always helps things to work out for the good. I trust that my life will continue to improve and thrive and grow. Seems I am often at a turning point and I can choose where my life goes from here. So I am trusting that I'll make a good, productive choice and forward move on the path toward middle class. Today I trust my instincts and my gut. They are on my side. I've been told oh-so-many times about how I'm wrong, I don't know, I make poor choices, etc., etc. In general, the poor choice was listening to the fool telling me I was incapable of making the good choice and doubting that gut feeling.

Gratitude. I am grateful for so many things that I hesitate to even try to narrow the list to what I can type here. But I know that focusing on my gratitude will improve the gratitude list and improve my life in general. Today I am choosing to be grateful for the struggle. I think the hashtag is funny and I don't hesitate to use it! The struggle is oh-so-real some days. Most days. All. The. Time. I have a teenager now. She constantly tells me that I'm an angry, hateful, mean person. I've invested in becoming NOT a mean, angry person and focusing on gratitude and choosing it and speaking it and thinking it and writing it and practicing it. So when she says this, I tend to shut her out. But what if I am mean to her? Because even though teenagers think they know it all, I do not share her mindset that she is the most intelligent being ever and the rest of us are not-so-smart. The last couple days I have had the realization that iron sharpens iron and maybe I need to be open to the idea that in her mind, I am not a happy, joyous and free person. That my perception that she holds the key to my happiness, not only imprisons me, but her too. And it locks our relationship in a zone that is not loving or kind. It is not softer or gentler. It is black and white. She is wrong. I am right. Unless you are on the other side of the mirror-- her side of the mirror. It is still black and white. She is right. I am wrong. Iron sharpens iron. Today I am choosing to be grateful not only for my beautiful daughter, but for our relationship as it stands currently, because it is reflecting thoughts that need exposed and changed. I am also grateful for the relationship we will have in the future, which could possibly be part of my faith paragraph. I am grateful for the opportunity to be the mother of a teenager again. I don't think any parent "gets it right" with their teen, but I am grateful for another chance to try to be the best parent I can be, and to use positive intent with all my children and realize that they are doing the best that they know how to at this time.

Inspiration. I am inspired by my friends and family who overcome. My aunt who is fighting cancer. I know it's a fight, with battle after battle. And that chemo is a bitch. I am inspired by my friend Michelle, who was "just" an internet friend until I met her in real life this summer! She is constantly focused on love, gratitude, spiritual growth. It's inspiring to me. My daughters, who I passed my anxiety to. They overcome obstacles on a daily basis. They are amazing and they constantly strive to push through their pain. I am inspired by my friend Rebecca who teaches me something every time I see her. She helps me believe that my deficits are also my assets and to treat them as such. It is not a shameful thing to have been in poverty, to have addictions, to fight mental health demons. It is something that gives me a great big tool box to build relationships with others.

Faith. I seriously believe that most of the time, things will work out for the best. I don't believe it is good to be flip or cliche about this when my friends face unfathomable tragedies like the loss of a child. There is no "our God works everything for our good" or "someday you will understand why this happened." In the "everything happens for a reason" frame of mind, I don't count these things. But day to day, yeah, everything happens for a reason. Why? Because it is so much easier to live with this mindset. And it propels me forward instead of figuring out the "why did this happen?" that invites me to look backward. I have faith that I am facing a new building with a new teaching partner because I am on the path to being the best teacher I can be. I am overwhelmed with fear and self-doubt if I don't trust that this is truly my path. So today I choose to have faith that this is the path I need to be on. I am choosing to have faith that by listening to my daughter, instead of discounting everything as disgruntled-entitled-teenage-angst, we will build a better relationship and I will at the very least become a better parent. I have faith that if I let it, iron WILL sharpen iron and make each of us better people.

What is your TGIF today? How will it shape you this week?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

T.G.I.F.

So I am borrowing this from Michelle at BTL. I think that is the intent anyway. And she got the idea from Brene Brown (yeah, I am not sure how to put the mark over the final e in her name). Trust. Gratitude. Inspiration. Faith. Today is not friday, but I'm posting anyway! This would be a great Friday link up though (hint, hint. wink, wink.... Michelle). In her own post, Michelle quotes Brene` Brown in regard to Joy: Brene` Brown uses a metaphor of Christmas lights to explain:

"Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments - often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we're so afraid of the dark we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light. A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith."

So.... I start my day today focusing on TGIF.

Trust. It's a big issue. I don't have much trust when it comes to others. But that is not the gist of this post. I am focusing on trusting. Here I go: I trust that my new colleagues will see me in a positive light and see my intent, because sometimes I come across as bossy. I trust that it's never too late to learn a new way to interact and relate to people and that I can be the colleague I desire to work with. I trust that my kids know why there are rules at home. I trust that they know that I love them. On the best of days and the worst of days.

Gratitude. I've been practicing this longer. I know the changes it can make from the inside out. So here goes. I am grateful I am a teacher. To be in the profession that is my calling and my heart has transformed my life. I am grateful for so many things actually. I am grateful that I don't have to have everything figured out all the time. It's okay not to know sometimes. I am grateful today for friends who know every flaw and love me anyway. I am grateful for my life today, even the messy areas.

Inspiration. I am inspired by people who choose success in the face of adversity. My friend Rebecca is one of those people. She is also FULL of positive intent and chooses to see the best in people and pull them up to where she sees them at. I am inspired by strong women. My principal is one of those. She is sweet and charming and beautiful. She knows what she wants and she is pursuing it for our building, for kids. Because that's her heart and passion. I want to do that. I choose to look for those people who inspire me to be all that I can possibly be.

Faith. This is a little tough right now. Because my faith is waivering. But I can still choose to have faith. I have faith that my oldest daughter and I will continue to rebuild our relationship. I have faith this is going to be a great thing. I have faith that this is going to be the best school year yet. Not because I will have all the easy kids, but because I have faith in the power of positivity. I have faith I will be able to make a difference in the lives of my students and be the teacher they need me to be. I will choose to have faith in mankind and believe that there is mostly good in the world and that I'll find it if I look for it.

What is your TGIF?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Health and Happiness....

They go together like.... peaches and cream, burgers and fries, boys and girls. Possibly more entangled and intertwined than this even. The last couple days I haven't felt well. I was stricken with Vertigo again. Debilitating. And joy sucking. Today I sit here feeling drained and exhausted. I think it's a residual effect. For the last 36 hours I have been dogged by feelings of defeat, depression, exhaustion, and lethargy (not to mention that spinning feeling you get when you've had too much alcohol and you just might throw up). Happy, joyous and free were not in the cards. I realized that the many things that are RIGHT in my life, were minimized and I was swallowed by my lack of ability to move. I was overwhelmed and I gave in to the feelings of defeat and depression that lurk in the shadows of my life waiting to make their presence known at any given moment. But today I have a choice. I can let my unhealthy self take over and keep me down and perpetuate a plethora of problematic health symptoms already present. Or I can choose healthy behaviors that I know will contribute to more feelings of groundedness, peace, and dare I even say it.... happiness. Happy was hard to find when my health failed me. Which in turn made it hard to seek healthier behaviors/foods because I was enveloped in darkness and depression. So which came first doesn't matter. But what I can do today will matter and will make a difference on both my health and my happiness. I am choosing to behave in ways that are healthy for me today. Which may be difficult, but I believe it will also increase my ability to choose happiness. And who doesn't want that?!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Gratitude Lately....

Michelle's post at BTL yesterday was gratitude lately. It was fabulous. Because it helps me keep focused. On all I have to be grateful for. Which is a lot. And so much more productive to focus on than the little that I am not extremely grateful for right now.

Grateful....
  • to learn new ways to live and new attitudes to take with me. 
  • to rethink my health and movement routines (or the lack thereof).
  • to make new friends and cherish the old
  • to learn to engage in self-care: it's a real thing, not just a concept, out there. somewhere.
  • for summer times of renewal
  • for trips of a lifetime.
Shall I expound on this? Hmmmm....
Here's a glimpse at the trip of a lifetime with my llbff.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

besties


Winslow, AZ

Our home away from home at the Garden of the Goddess Retreat Center, NM

Madrid, NM, where part of Wild Hogs was filmed

New Mexico hiking

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A firm foundation

What everybody/everything needs is a firm foundation. This week I've had opportunity to reflect on my foundation as a teacher. Many thoughts flood my mind as I look at my journey as a teacher. My direction and passion continue to evolve. I am not the same. But as I look back at that first year-- we were a good team. I had great teachers holding me up and keeping me sane. I've been chasing that ever since. Let me backtrack a little farther.... student teaching set the bar HIGH. I was part of an amazing Kindergarten team. We did things together, we planned lessons together. We encouraged, shared tiny teaching tips. We built each other up. My mentor was a great example. And as a teacher, she was the best. I may have referred to her as the student whisperer. When Mrs. H spoke, everyone listened. Random, yet remotely related, thought number two of this post: first year teaching is hard. HARD. And so it goes. I often felt alone, overwhelmed, and under-supported. I have come to the conclusion that this is fairly normal. Because I also know I had great support. I reiterate: first teaching is hard.

Yesterday I had the honor of going through my first year teaching town: Guymon, OK. I met up with my partner, who retired this year. I got to reflect on the team we were, how staunchly she supported me and all the help she gave me. I missed the chance yesterday to meet up with other teachers and my principal, and I'm saddened by this. These are my friends. I love them. We were a TEAM. And everyone did achieve more because of this.

So this year, I face a new building and new grade level. My challenge is to be a great team member, not a lone wolf. I want to have a team again!

Every teacher needs a firm foundation. Who am I kidding? That is a fill-in-the-blank sentence right there. Every (____________) needs a firm foundation. I need it. And bet someone I need know does too. I don't have to be entire foundation, just one stone; part of a team, holding each other up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My morning view

I sit here this morning soaking up a beautiful mountain morning view. I have birds everywhere around me. I just had a hummingbird not even 5' from me.

I have never been more acutely aware that I am white. never. What I mean by that is... NEVER. Yesterday we drove through the nation that our country graciously afforded to the people who were here before us. The people we put down and make fun of and say things like.... "it's not my fault they don't want to work" or "it's not my fault that they are drunks...." or (one of my favorites)... "I refuse to feel guilty because I was born white" or even better.... "It was a long time ago, what does this have to do with me?!"

My first instinct is the thank God (the god of the white man apparently) that I am white. Because there's no way to know what kind of oppression and hell these people are (are, not were) born into. And then, yes, this epiphany is followed by guilt. And compassion. And anger at what we-- as a nation (and THAT my friends is not something over and done with and in the past)--are still doing to these people who we duped and asked for help and pushed and pushed and then graciously gave them some of their own land that grows nothing, and sustains nothing.

I will not let my guilt and grief and overcome my awe or ruin my vacation. But it is a shadow and it makes me both grateful and grief-filled.