Good Life Project SOL#21

I have never pre-ordered a book before How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom by Jonathan Fields. I am still so excited about this book that I recommended it to all kinds of people after it was released in October. I also included it in my Favorite Party post. I was a little dismayed when it came out for kindle for 99 cents after I had paid full price less than a month later. I did share this information with friends so they could snag the book for cheap. My original plan was to order hard copies to give away, but there was an issue with the site I was using. It worked out that many friends acquired the book on their own devices for almost nothing with the sale. It is a good companion book to Start with Why by Simon Sinek and Gabby Bertstein’s work.

I listen to a lot of podcasts during my commute,while running, and working out at gym. I cannot remember how I originally found Jonathan and his books. Probably another podcast.

The How To Live A Good Life book speaks to me in several ways. The research makes me happy as well as the format of practices to implement. The why is included, and the how is included, which I greatly appreciate. This book came to me when I really NEEDED to read some of these chapters to help get my head right again. I truly appreciate its words and ideas.

The concept is we all have three buckets: Vitality, Connection, and Contribution. The more evenly these buckets are filled in our lives, the better our life is. Vitality is mind and body; Connection is about relationships; and Contribution is what you give to the world. The buckets all leak so you have to work at keeping them filled.

Many of the chapters were reminders of practices I had done in the past and just needed to resurrect. Examples of these practices are: the loving kindness meditation, finding your tribe of people (Seth Godin’s research too), the 36 questions to fall in love, daily exercise, reading, and eliminating energy vampires.

Some were new. Forest bathing (my new obsession), WOOP, Finding your Killer App, loving the job you are in, and asking people to help you.

It made me want to find a group to sit and chat with about these ideas. I read the book straight through first and  continue to revisit the chapters that apply at the moment for what I need. I formed a small group at work to discuss the book. Time is limited and the conversation always wants to stretch way beyond the boundaries we have. We use the book study guide.

I have a page in my bullet journal dedicated to the 3 buckets and my lists of personal reminders for each one. I do not visit that spread as often as I should. I do refer back to the book on my Kindle and my notes. I typically prefer this type of non fiction book in hard copy so I can flip, write in it, and place all types of sticky notes in it.  Maybe I will find a used copy somewhere soon and I can do just that.

This book has caused me to research Forest bathing and I even read The Nature Fix . I am so intrigued by this outdoor concept I want to use some of the research to help some of the middle schoolers I work with to help with their behavior. I work at an environmental school where we sit on 100 acres of wooded area. There are trails and trees and water at my disposal to take walks in the woods throughout the year. It inspires me too to think of the  poet and essayist Mary Oliver escaping into the woods with her books to sit amongst and in the trees to read. How I would love to escape somedays!

This book is full of personal and text connections for me. The more I talk about it the more I seem to connect. This book will be with me for a long time and hopefully it will help me to continue to grow – in all 3 buckets.

Have you read it?Image result for good life project

Zero to Three in an Instant SOL#20

I have always been an avid reader following the pattern of giving book recommendations to kids and adults. I had never been part of a book club in my life until 2015 however. I knew some friends that were in a club and tried to hint my way into an invitation with no avail. As I was running with a friend who also reads a lot we decided that we would start our own club so that we could mold it in our image of what we thought it would be. The biggest pet peeve my friend had was the club she was currently in didn’t actually discuss the book at meetings. I recently heard on the Book Riot podcast that book clubs fail because of the mix of people – not the actual practice of reading the book. Everyone can pick a book and plan a date to talk but the physicalness of getting the people together and then continuing that pattern is the issue. The group has to be coherent for it to survive.

So the friend and I started our own group which consisted of 4 teachers total and I non-teacher. Then (of course) I got invited to the group I had been stalking. Then I went to a writers workshop and met a lovely woman who wanted to start an academic group to discuss non mainstream texts and authors.

Be careful what you ask the universe for….it answers.

Each of the groups is distinctly different.

One is a more conservative group who reads mainstream novels that are recommended from the reading lives of the group.

Another is a group of all teachers that look at the selections a little differently. The books are also chosen from group member recommendations. Lists from the Huffington Post, Man Booker award lists, National Book Award, etc are used to determine books to read. The conversation always starts out about the book, morphs to reading in general, and then moves to reading related to teaching.

The last group is the most eccentric and diverse. The food is always a great part of the group dynamic. We have discussed Lydia Davis and one members grad school thesis and the trials and tribulations that go along with that process in addition to award winning books.

These groups leave me feeling rejuvenated and happy. As time moves forward, some of the faces change and the meeting schedules get farther apart. I am sure these will not be the only groups I am ever a part of surrounding books but they all just make me a better reader.

What is your ideal book club like? I would love to hear.

Library VS Bookstore SOL#19

Library vs Bookstore

Why is it such a different feeling for me to go to the library rather than the bookstore? There is a sense of peace that floods over me at a bookstore. Used bookstores especially evoke this feeling. A couple years ago I was having a rough time in my life and I took myself on a field trip to a used bookstore downtown Chicago – Myopic. I went upstairs and squeezed through several bookcases and came into an open area where there was a long table and chairs. There were no other people around and I suddenly took a large inhale and exhaled and felt like new life had been restored to me. My body was relaxed and my mind stopped racing. The trip also included a trip to Intelligentsia coffee which was heaven in a cup accompanied with a croissant.

The bookstore I associate with leisure,  but the library I associate with research, books to pick up,  and “things I must do”.  There are deadlines that come with the library and responsibility. The book isn’t mine which is a completely different feeling. There is pressure to get the book done before it is due. Usually not a problem unless all the holds come in at the same time! There is a feeling of business rather than pleasure in the library. I feel rushed there. This feeling seems to be new to me however. I remember the library at my middle school as being a place of comfort for me. I used to go in at lunch everyday and find a corner and read. The librarian would have to remind me to go to class because I would get lost in the book and not hear the bells.

When I move to a new town one of the first items on the to do list to get my library card. It is the most important thing after the address change. Some libraries are more lax than others. One town refused to give me the card until my drivers license changed to the new address.

The librarians know who I am in the branch I visit the most often. I come in at least once a week for holds due to the new Google library extension making it so easy to request. I even asked for a book to be ordered for the first time ever. I was so excited to get the email that they have indeed ordered it. I used the library to tutor for years as well. My good friend is even working there now as the children’s librarian.

At the bookstore the books are mine. I have them forever. I am comforted by the stacks and volumes around me. I carry my own books around with me. I write in my books. I have discovered that I need copies of my own of non-fiction so I can annotate my own books.

I love both places but with books at the center I am conflicted with the mixed feelings about the places.

St Patty’s Day SOL#17

And the rain came down.

Two days ago it was snowing and now it is raining – quite heavily actually.

A change.

The plan was to wear the festive green socks today with the black dress. Then Friday comfort won and the outfit changed.

A change.

Tonight is dinner of corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and Irish Soda bread. A trip to the gym is necessary beforehand knowing how much I am going to eat.

My plan was to read more yesterday than I did so I hope to rectify that today.

A change.

Some days have plans and then they are rerouted – we shall see how the day plays out and how many changes come with it.

My Favorites Party – You’re Invited SOL #16

I am participating in the
Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC).
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day of March 2017.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.


This is the Slicer that started the Favorite Party Slice trend: here

Each person is asked to bring five of their favorite things.  Doesn’t this sound like a fun thing to do with friends?

I do too, and I have invited YOU! I have wanted to do a REAL LIFE party for a while, but am so excited to do this as a slice.

Imagine we are all sitting around a  roaring fire in comfy clothes with delicious beverages. We would have some yummy fireplace food – something hearty with some rustic bread.

Image result for rustic fireplace

What would you bring to share?

I would bring:

  1. Inkjoy pens

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2. Intelligencia Black Cat Coffee

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3. Smartwool socks

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4. A cool journal

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5. This book:

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Just imagine the conversation we would have!

Please share your favorite things you would share in the comments.

15 Truths About What I Know to Be True About Reading SOL#15

Today we have a 2 hour delay! Glorious!

15 Truths About What I Know to Be True About Reading

  1. 15 Truths About What I Know to Be True About Reading
    1. Great books are meant to be read over and over.
    2. Picture books are for everyone!
    3. Knowing a few authors can be impactful and being able to identify their work.
    4. If a person doesn’t like reading, they haven’t found the right book
    5. There is always a book connection to almost every conversation.
    6. I am always reading something – I like to think – and to think about that thinking!
    7. I forget character names and have to consciously think about remembering them.
    8. I cannot read in the car – it makes me sooooo sick.
    9. It is never too late to fall in love with reading.
    10. Reading gives you power.
    11. Reading increases your vocabulary
    12. Reading improves your writing.
    13. Reading is a daily habit and I wouldn’t have it another way.
    14. E-books are good as well as print (this is a recent truth for me).
    15. Read, read and read! It is always the answer and what you should do if all else fails!

Pi Day Poem SOL #14


3 A mobius strip

1 Infinity

4 A neverending number

1 Math

5 Try to memorize more numbers

9 Associated with pie homemade to eat: apple, cherry, chocolate

2 the sequence

6 random dance party at 3:14 pm

5 how many pi words can

3 I write? Pinochle,

5 pizza, pizzazz, pickled, piggyback, pineapple

8 The bright moon clouded by dark rolling masses

9 The cold temperature only 14 degrees – missing the 3

7 I could go on forever and ever…

9 but I won’t! The Reading Fairy made math into

3 fun poetry today!