Celebrate This Week-8/19

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

Birthday Milestone

     On July 31st, I turned 40 years old. I had a nice birthday lunch and gave myself a new fun Keurig coffee maker.

 

 

An ice cream flight at a local ice cream shop. Yum! Perfect birthday treat for me.

 Turning 40 did not feel much different from turning any other age, but I did do some extra reflecting on things.

    I remember throwing my mom a surprise 40th birthday party. It was difficult because my father had passed away a year before, so I had to call around to her friends and get them to help me. I was only 14, so I needed rides to the stores to order cake and get party supplies. I think the party was a success. I have never asked my mom if she was actually surprised or not. I am not sure I want to know the answer to that. What really stood out to me in approaching my 40th birthday is how young my mother really was when she became a widow. I am so grateful every day for my husband and his good health. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that stage in my mom’s life must’ve been. 

    The other thing that I always find myself reflecting on is the way our life has evolved into a life without children. Turning 30 was very difficult for me, because I had goals in my head of being a mom by that time. All my other big life moments were achieved along the time line I had imagined for myself. Yet, there I was turning 30 without a baby. I have since come to terms, for the most part, with the fact that my husband and I have stopped hoping for a miracle baby. Yet, turning 40 seemed to bring out one more twang on the heart strings and one more tear down my cheek, highlighting my grief for one brief moment before tucking it back away. 

     Although my reflections may have been downers, I did quite enjoy my birthday. I do love and appreciate all the warm wishes that were sent my way. It is so nice to get to be the center of attention for just a little bit of time. We had a great time at the birthday party my mother threw for me! We rented out a room at Ale Asylum brewery in Madison, and had our own private patio with the party room space. So fancy!

A Season of Plenty and Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

    For about a year, I have been working to build a business with doTERRA essential oils. I have been teaching classes and sharing experiences with the oils and helping people to discover how these products can help their health. Last Sunday, I taught a Back to School workshop. It was the best attended class I have taught thus far. It was so nice to meet other teachers in my district and to share essential oils with them. I am getting to the point that my efforts are earning me a small side income and I am so grateful for that! This road of working to build a business has also led me to many different resources for personal development and I have enjoyed learning and improving my habits. 

 Healthy Choices

   I have been consistently getting to the gym and working to eat a Paleo diet. Although I am not perfect at following the rules, I have been able to try some fun new recipes this week. I figured out making cashew cheese, which was actually quite easy. After having success with that, I decided to try making almond milk. It was so delicious! And easy! I will definitely make that again soon. (I just have to hide the almonds from my husband who LOVES nuts–which is the reason I haven’t made more yet–my almonds disappeared) 

A Wonderful Summer 

    My husband officially heads back to school next week, and I will have my unofficial start at putting together my new classroom. I am feeling very blessed with having had just the right mix of getting things done and being lazy this summer. I am ready to head into the fall and feeling rejuvenated by a full and happy summer. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-7/29

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

Family Time

    I went to Madison to spend a night with my mother two weeks ago. Every year, we try to go to Maxwell Street Days, a massive sidewalk sale on State Street downtown. I drove to Madison on Thursday afternoon and we went out to dinner and an outdoor concert. The capitol building was so beautiful as we walked back to my mom’s condo! 

     During that short trip, we shopped, had lunch with my aunt, and went to my great-aunt’s house to pick raspberries before I drove home Friday afternoon (we won’t discuss the ridiculous traffic in Milwaukee and the extra hour sitting at a standstill). I love living close enough to pop over for an overnight! 

    I also have enjoyed some awesome morning walks with Ramon and the two dogs. Since we are both teachers, we both have the summer off. It is great to be able to spend time together. (We are also learning to give each other space…that is something that we have to relearn each summer for some reason)

Our Rambunctious Duo

 

Kiko sure loves this beige couch while Carmela seems to enjoy the purple one. A dog’s life certainly is a lot of napping. Maybe we should take a cue from them!       

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Choices

   We have been eating better during the last week or so. I love summer vegetables and am subscribed to a CSA box this summer. It is so fun to get creative with the abundance of veggies in my box!

A salad with sugar snap peas, cabbage, cucumber, and tuna.
A dinner of baked cod, zucchini soup, and roasted beet salad.

I also was more consistent in getting my workouts in this week, and I signed up for a new workout challenge in August! 

Fun new grippy socks for my Barre workouts.

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-7/8

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

Sunshine Through the Sunroof

     We recently traded in a car so that we could bring our monthly payments down and have more money to budget toward paying off debt. Both my husband and I were very happy with this decision. The best part about it is that now we have two cars with sunroofs. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t have super fancy cars. We just have cool features in our cars. 

   Sunroofs make me happy. I love sunshiny days and I love being able to enjoy them in my car. It just makes my day brighter. One of the best memories I have of my father was during the three months before he passed away, when he finally purchased a Mercedes Benz. He had dreamed his entire life about being able to have a Mercedes. He finally got to a place in which he could afford to lease the lowest priced sedan and he went for it. He LOVED that car. And it had a sunroof. Driving down the roads with our windows down and the sunroof open and blasting folk music is one of the best movies that plays in my mind. I was thirteen and I seldom had times when I thought my dad was cool, but these were moments in which I just enjoyed being with him. My sunroof now reminds me of this. Every. Single. Time. 

A Rambunctious Duo

     We have our hands full with our two dogs. Kiko is the newer addition to our house, and he sure is full of energy! The two dogs play every morning from the very first second that we let Kiko out of his crate. It is so much fun to have such energy in this household. And, they are pretty darn cute!

 

Summer Speed

   I love the slower pace of summertime. I have spent a lot of time making goals and doing some work, but mostly we are just playing it by ear after a two week visit from my brother-in-law. We loved having him here, but it is great to have our house back to normal.

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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I Want to See You Be Brave

Working to create the life you want to live requires bravery. I’m not talking about climbing mountains or facing dragons, I’m just talking about stepping out of your comfort zone. But that is scary.  

If I were not careful, I would be in danger of becoming a hermit. I am a homebody. I find my energy in the peace and quiet of being alone (well, maybe not quite alone, I usually have a dog to cuddle). However, the dreams I have and the goals I want to accomplish require human contact. So, I need to get out of my house and see people. 

Putting yourself out there is scary. Currently, I am working to build a business. The best way to do this is to become vulnerable and ask people if they are interested. This puts you in a position to receive a lot of no answers. If you aren’t careful, this can take you to a place you don’t want to go. Being brave in this endeavor involves learning to realize that rejection of your offer does not mean rejection of you. Facing this and continuing to go for it, means being brave and being yourself. 

Sometimes, when someone really strays from the social norms, it is hard to understand them. However, the mere act of choosing a different path is an act of bravery. I think about my sister when I think about this. She has created a life she loves doing something she never thought she wanted to do, until it slapped her across the face. When she decided to leave her medical residency to be a stay-at-home mom, I’ll admit that I was one of the skeptics. I was there when she came home after trying to go back to work. I was jealous of this opportunity that she saw in her life. I tried to convince her to stick to convention and follow-through with her schooling and her plan. I was not the only one.

She confronted the demons of what other people thought and went with her gut and worked out a plan with her husband and gets to be a mommy every single day. Choosing to not go through with her residency plans had some consequences for her. She now has a medical degree and is a MD but without board certification. She has the ridiculous amount of medical school debt. But her bravery in choosing her life path made her search for a part-time job to help with the debt. She found a job that mixes her passion for writing and her medical expertise and she can work from home with flexible hours. I would say that this job is probably even more of a fit for her than working in a clinic would be. And she gets to be a mommy. Every. Single. Day. (And she is really good at it)

I think there are many examples of people out there who are living their dream every day. But many of them did not get there without a big act of bravery. At some point, you need to choose to leap. And hope you don’t fall. 

Now, I also don’t want you to think that I am saying that you need to be unconventional in order to have a good life. I absolutely love my conventional full-time job of being a teacher. I am not sure I would want to give that up (although not having a job that I have to leave home to do would be awesome too). But it takes bravery to stand up and say that you are happy where you are. Have you noticed? People seem to love to work to bring you down a notch. Don’t let them. Be brave and go for what you want in life, whatever it is. 

I want to be brave and I want to see you be brave.

Learning to love the person you are and to dismiss the feeling that you are not good enough takes some guts. Do it. Be brave. Live your best life. And maybe act like a weirdo and dance crazy in public. It might do you some good.

I would love to hear your story. Tell me about your best life. What do you have to do to be brave? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

What Does Being Intentional Mean, Anyway?

     

    Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of time suck and the way the hours can waste away to nothing if you are not careful. I have seen multiple speakers talk about budgeting your time and time blocking. It makes so much sense to me.

    You see, as a teacher, every summer becomes a battle between knowing what I want to accomplish in my time off and the ridiculous time wasting that seems to happen. Dave Ramsey says that you need to tell your money where to go or you will wonder where it went later. This same concept applies so well to time. Have you ever gotten to the end of a day off and wondered just exactly where all those hours went? Me too.

This summer, I want to do better. 

    How do you do better? Well, for starters, you need to decide what is important to you. For me, this summer, I want to focus on writing more, consistent work on my doTERRA business, my marriage, exercise and health, getting ready for the new grade level this fall, and maintaining my household/completing some projects around the house. 

   It will be important for me then to write out my schedule and create routines that support the work I want to do in each of these areas. I think with a solid time blocking plan I will be able to accomplish my goals while also giving myself permission to take time off and relax. I mean, it is summer after all. We will need to visit the midday happy hour at the beer garden every once in a while. 

    So this summer I am planning to be intentional with my time. I will focus on the things that I want to accomplish in order to use my time in the best way I can. 

   Who would like to join me in this plan? What is most important to you? Do you time block your schedule? Any tips or tricks are greatly appreciated!

 

Celebrate This Week 5/27 All The Things

It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

I have been having a hard time balancing all the things this Spring. And the result has been very minimal blog time. I have been thinking each week about the things I want to celebrate, but not making the time to sit down and write. That is something I want to change and I will be working on my time blocking to make sure it does change. 

Since I have not written in a while, I am just going to share a list of the biggest celebrations from this Spring:

  1. I interviewed for and got a new position in the same school district for the upcoming school year. Next year, I will be teaching 2nd grade at Milwaukee Spanish Immersion. This represents a big challenge for me, but I am ready to take on that challenge. I have been at the same school for all 17 years of my career so it is a big move! I will be in a brand new grade level and it will be my first time in my career of truly teaching in Spanish. Time to brush up and make my husband only speak Spanish with me this summer! 
  2. We traded in our car and leased a new car. This brought me closer to goals of paying things off because it frees up some money each month with a lower car payment. The debt snowball now has even more momentum. (Check out Dave Ramsey’s information for more about debt snowballs and budgeting…it is changing my financial picture in a very positive way)
  3. I am growing in my leadership skills and really gaining momentum with building a doTERRA business. I love my essential oils and am thrilled to teach others about them. It makes me happy to be able to empower people to improve their health.
  4. I attended a baby shower and a bridal shower in the month of May. It is so great to celebrate new beginnings with people who I love. The bridal shower was for my cousin so there is a lot of family time to look forward to coming up Labor Day weekend!
  5. My cousin decided to take a 4th grade position at her school. This is awesome because now I know what to do with the bulk of my class library. It is a relief to know I am handing it off to someone who will use it and who will love the books as much as I do.
  6. I had fun last night at a team event and I now have a pretty vision board on my office wall. I loved spending the time thinking about my vision for the future and finding words and images to represent it.  

What do you have to celebrate? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

 

Celebrate This Week-February 18 Edition

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

At School

    My days at school are tough. I have a group that just does not let up. There are many kiddos in my class who have trauma and psychological issues. My energy is depleted every day dealing with trying to keep an even keel in the classroom. But, every day we do get through the day and we get some learning done along the way. I have been successful in making sure that no one is getting hurt. That is something to celebrate!

     I am super proud of how far the refugee newcomer students have come this school year. They did not speak any English when they got to my classroom in September. They did not ever attend school in Malaysia. They are like sponges soaking in all the learning. In the last few weeks, all of a sudden, one of the girls turned into a little chatterbox. And she has taken to writing stories. We were working out a social problem last week and she wanted to communicate with me, so she wrote a whole page to tell me about it. As you can see in the photo, she is doing a phenomenal job at phonetic spelling in English!

 

     

At Home

     We are celebrating a new canine addition to the family. We got Kiko from the Humane Society and the two dogs are absolutely loving each other and all the play time (24/7 if they got to decide it). It is a bit stressful right now, until we train Kiko better, but it is fun to have two wagging tails greeting us at the door! 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-12/11

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

At School

    Last year, I decided that I had to share the magic of Harry Potter with my fourth grade class. We had such a reading community and I just needed to do this. They absolutely LOVED the book. Fast forward to this week. I was talking with a colleague at school. Her son was in my class last year. She was telling me how he is obsessed with the Harry Potter books. YES! That is exactly what I had hoped when sharing the first one last year. Even better, I had the entire set of books at home in a pile, waiting for a home to be donated to. I brought the books to school on Friday. About ten minutes into the school day, my former student came into my classroom to thank me profusely for the books. When I spoke with my colleague, she said that she had told him to wait until after school and not interrupt my class, but that he told her he couldn’t wait to come thank me. I love that my books are finding an amazing home with this kid. Harry Potter is magical. 

At Home

     Scores for National Board came out yesterday. The process is different now and candidates can do a component at a time. Last year, life got in the way so the only thing I did was the Assessment center component. I passed this part of the process! One down, three to go! 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Celebrate This Week-11/19

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It’s Saturday and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

My Classroom

    I am celebrating the fact that we have teacher work days this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is a much needed time to organize our space and get ahead on some planning. 

At Home

     At the local coffee shop, yesterday morning, I ran into two different mothers of former students. I loved hearing from each of them about how their children are doing. I loved the fact that each of them took the time to pause in what they were doing to say hi and chat with me. Both kiddos graduated last June and are on to higher education now. It is so wonderful to know that students are doing well and that their families still hold me in high regard. These connections are the reason that I do what I do. 

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Gratitude Challenge: Something That Fills Me With Hope

     I am grateful today for the opportunity to work with kids. Children work so hard to understand the world. The questions that they bring up truly show big hearts and open minds. Just being able to work with kiddos and hear those questions and see the way that they are forming their understandings of the world, gives me hope for our future. Yes, there are some kids that are being brought up to think in ways that will not promote peace and justice. However, there are many children who will grow into people with open minds and big hearts. I am grateful for the opportunity to give them things to think about and guidance along this path.