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!

 

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. 

Gratitude Challenge: Something That Makes Me Smile

     I smile all the time. So when it came time to pick something that makes me smile to write about, it seemed like it might be hard to pick. But then, I thought about my days at school lately, and I knew what I needed to write about. 

    I am so grateful for all the love that comes my way through drawings and letters from my students. I have a wall behind my desk that is dedicated to being a gallery for things I am given. It is overflowing with drawings and little notes. Each time a student gives me something, it makes me smile. I am sure that is why I keep getting things. The students in my classroom see how it makes me smile when I get things and they really love to make me happy. 

    It is sometimes hard to remember why I like doing what I do. These little notes and drawings help to bring focus to why I am there. Each small gift from a student gives me a small moment to celebrate. That is priceless. 

 

Gratitude Challenge: Quiet

     Every morning, I spend an hour with myself. I use the quiet hours of the early morning to read, write and reflect while I drink coffee. As an introvert, this quiet time by myself is like a battery to charge my soul. If I don’t get this time, I am a little off the rest of the day. 

     For the last year or so, I have also added meditation into the morning routine. Taking the time for stillness has really helped me to learn control of my emotions at high stress times. I use guided meditations to help me to center myself and begin my day in a peaceful place. 

    I am thankful that I am able to have this morning quiet to begin each day. 

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Gratitude Challenge: Technology

     I vividly remember the first time I heard that people were working on a technology to create the internet. I was in my first year of college, in 1996, and fascinated by the fact that I could send message to my friends at other universities. At that point in time, the University of Minnesota had come up with an e-mail system that could be accessed from ones university account. It was like science fiction coming to life. We were hearing rumors about this thing that would exist where people could look up information right from their computers. It seemed so unbelievable that something like that would exist. 

This scene from Back to the Future 2 was one that I remembered well, because the idea of video calls was so fascinating. It seemed like that would never actually happen. It was such a thing of Science Fiction.

       Fast forward to 2016. We have computers that fit in the palm of your hand, maps that are scary accurate at telling you where you are, virtual tours that make you feel like you are in that place, and video calls that let you see your loved ones face to face and feel like you are in the same room. Twenty years have passed, and hardly anyone can imagine doing things the old-fashioned way. Many people have a smart phone and look things up all the time. I pull my iPhone out during many conversations to look something up. We have apps that track our health data. There is an entire library of music on our phones or in our computers or both. It is incredible how these technologies have continued to improve. 

    I am grateful for the technology that helps us be informed and to keep track of our loved ones. 

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Gratitude Challenge: Hobbies, Work, Friends and Family

I am a few days behind on my gratitude challenge, so I will catch up in this post. Today I am grateful for hobbies, work, and friends and family. 

Hobbies

I am thankful for my blog. I started it to keep the assignments for Teachers Write the first summer the program was offered. Then, I continued to post in it in order to have a forum to make book suggestions to my middle school students. It has morphed and changed throughout the years.  Now, it is a place for me to reflect. There are two regular posts that I keep up with for the most part each week. A Monday collection of what I have been reading, and a Saturday celebration of the week. I enjoy taking time to write reflections and I definitely benefit from looking for celebrations. It has helped me be more mindful. 

Work

Teachers have a very difficult job. It has become more difficult in the last few years, with more paperwork and more expected of us.

My class this year has 27 students. 5 of those students have anger management issues, 3 students are newly arrived refugees who are learning English, 6 of those students have IEPs, and many of those students have attention issues and extremely short attention spans. According to our first district assessment, 4 students are on level in reading and 4 students are on level in math. Everyone else needs extra support to get to grade-level. I don’t say all this to complain, just to paint a picture of my current reality. I am exhausted at the end of every school day. 

It is true that I have to work extremely hard and that my job sometimes (always) stresses me out. Yet, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be a teacher. I thrive on the challenge. I know how much these little souls need consistent love and encouragement and I know I can do that. It is rewarding to see the lightbulbs come on, to receive the hand-made presents and the sincere and tight hugs. I can honestly tell you that I am making a difference in the lives of many kiddos. That is powerful stuff!

Last Spring, I read Sir Ken Robinson’s guide about finding your element. I found the ideas very enlightening, but I didn’t really need to do the exercises. My element has already been found. I am very grateful for that. 

Friends and Family

I am grateful for all the people that I love. I have a great network of supportive friends and amazing family. 

Gratitude Challenge: Transportation

     I am thankful for our cars. It is nice to be able to afford two vehicles so that we each can get to the things we enjoy. Although we could get by with one car, I am so grateful that we are able to continue to have two cars. 

   I absolutely love our Toyota Venza. We bought it new last year and it has all the bells and whistles. It is so nice to have a car with extra cargo space. 

I am grateful for the cars that we have that help us to get to the places we want to go. 

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Gratitude Challenge: Something I do Every Day

    I am so thankful for the ability to read. In recent years, with my diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, I have been much more aware of how lucky I am to be able to see well and think well and read every day. 

   Reading has always been the thing I write under hobbies on surveys. I read avidly and voraciously. I love to read so many different types of books. 

   I read self-improvement books in the morning each day and then throughout the day I find time to read novels. If not any other time of day, I read for at least 30 minutes before bed. Because I am a teacher, I believe it is part of my job to read young adult and children’s titles. I love breezing through new children’s books and connecting to other teachers to share the love. 

I am thankful for reading. 

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