Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of coffee and a conversation between friends.

It is the last Sunday of September! The temperatures have been cooler which I have been thankful for. My beverage choice doesn’t change- still black coffee for me. I will have the pitcher of water in case we need it during our visit. What will you be having today?

This week has been interesting. The schedule was not the same and I was extremely tired. I fell asleep early several nights. The work days just took all my energy this week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had amazing teacher conversations this week at work. The schedule felt difficult for some reason. I feel I should be used to the change in schedule by now but my body seems to have other plans!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was excited to watch the finale of Big Brother and the premiere of Survivor. They are two of the handful of shows I watch at this point in my life. I was not surprised about Big Brother’s winner and am looking forward to learning more about the characters on Survivor.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started doing yoga again. When I first started after my son was born I had to find exercise I could ease into. I had read an article that said a yoga practice was as simple as one pose. With my 100 days reflection article from earlier in the week I decided to start my practice again. I am a yoga teacher so I really have no excuse. It is not like I don’t know WHAT to do.

If you would like to read the 100 day post you can find that here.There are 100 Days LeftWhat Will You Do With Them?medium.com

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. Storyaday September will be closing up on Monday September 30 with a Zoom call. I also start my Kathy Fish Flash 2.0 class that day. After that week of creation for the class I will continue with freewriting and morning pages in the early hours but then I will focus on revision In October.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it stormed here all day Friday. Thunder and lightening boomed and flashed. We have not had a storm like that for a long while and certainly not this past summer. Usually there are thunder boomers and huge summer storms here in the Midwest several times in the summer months. The weather has been weird.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had my Artist’s Way zoom call this week which I enjoyed very much. I also had the Storyaday call which was fun too. We laughed a lot and talked about what was in our trunks — it was a strange icebreaker question that turned more into a story prompt as we chatted!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finally reached Llama success!!! After several failed attempts to order and find llamas that did not get lost, giggle or make some sort of noise Llilly and Lliam are here!

If we were having coffee I would tell you my writing collective had their first round of critiques for one of the members first chapters. I was blown away with the skill and the story! I really want to read the rest of the novel RIGHT NOW! I am thankful to have this group in my writing circle.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to Germanfest this Saturday. It was a local church fundraiser but they had good beer and souvenir mugs to take home!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I got outside on the trail and went for a run/walk. It was so nice to be among the trees. There was still a bit of drizzle and drops from the trees but nothing major. I hope to do the same one more time this weekend.

If we were having coffee what would you tell me? I would love to hear.

#FMF Success


Kate posts a new word every Friday to use as the topic of a 5 minute freewrite. Set the timer and WRITE!

I have been successful my entire life in the traditional sense. I set goals and achieve them. Until I was 40 this seemed like a cut and dry process. In my mind, the traditional route of study-graduate-college-graduate-marry-job-family was made clear to me.

Success was notches on a time line.

My definition of success is different now. A successful day is time to write and connect with my writing communities. It is sharing a morning coffee ritual with my husband. It is life giving conversations in the context of my coaching work and life. It is great food and laughter. It is learning.

Lately the idea of healing has come up for me mostly through the ppportunity to be part of an Artist’s Way community. If you are unaware, The Artist’s Way is a book and program created by Julia Cameron for creative recovery. There are two main parts of this program: morning pages and the artist date. You can read more about my first 6 weeks here.The Truth About Creative RecoveryMy first 6 weeks with the Artist’s Waymedium.com

Part of the program is affirmation work. I do not like affirmations because I feel they are inauthentic. I have tried to work with them before and made a good effort but it never felt right. With an accountability group I have not allowed myself to pick and choose pieces of the weekly tasks which means some hard emotional stuff has come up for me, especially about my childhood. (The visualization of a terrible therapist asking me about how I feel about my childhood pops up often!) I do have mantras I repeat to myself however. But then something changed. I read Sam Kimberle’s post about her work with affirmations and decided to try an experiment.

This week I have been working with the affirmation, I allow myself to heal. I was reminded I used to have an intention I would write over and over. Whatever you call them, the truth was being brought to the forefront like a fire licking my brain.

The takeaway here? It came to me during this freewrite that the reason The Artist’s Way is successful for me this time is because the real recovery I needed from AW was healing. Healing from my childhood, healing from toxic relationships, healing from doubts and imposter syndrome, healing from me getting in my own way.

The bottom line is I am a paid writer. I will be a paid author once I get my books published. (REVISION OCTOBER) I share my writing and interact with readers. That is success.

I have an abundance of love in my life. That is success.

My new definition is more a content feeling and determination to grow rather than ticks on a timeline and I must say, I am a hell of a lot happier.

Sam is hosting more book clubs if you want to be part of the process.

2020 Book Club AnnouncementAn invitation to join my Book Club, starting in January 2020medium.com

Here is Sam’s post on affirmationsHow I Use AffirmationsAnd some suggestions if you would like to try, too.medium.com

You Can Read This Post and Support Me on Medium Here

The Art of Creative Reading Manipulation

Photo by Liana De Laurent on Pexels.com

As a reading advocate it is my personal mission to provide opportunities for people within my circle of influence to read and write.

Today I was reminded of a daily practice that I am resurrecting today: graffiti boards.

What is A Graffiti Board?

I don’t even remember where I heard about graffiti boards but I started posing a question on a large piece of butcher paper outside my room so students could stop and write their responses

At a former school I hung the board outside my room which was midway down the length of the hallway. The concept took on a life of its own and would cause a traffic jam in the mornings and at dismissal.

Students also randomly asked to go to the bathroom so they could come and write their responses in peace in the middle of the school day.

As the instigator I pose a question, a vocabulary word or something crazy to get people thinking outside my office. Sometimes it is a serious topic and other times it is just fun.

Past questions have been, “What smell do you love?” and “What do you dip your chicken nuggets into?”

I have posted Words of the Day and challenge students to write a sentence with them and use them throughout the day. Words have been enigma and candor.

Other questions I love:

Have you ever made a bucket list or life list? What is one thing on it?

What is the favorite space in your house?

What is the perfect meal for you?

Who is your favorite character in what you are reading?

What is your favorite food?

What are you looking forward to over spring break?

What color should Mrs. Breitweiser dye her hair?

Rainbow and pink I believe were the most popular answers to the last one.

Why Do This?

The main reason is to get students to read and interact with text in a fun way. I also like to disrupt the status quo and keep people guessing if I am honest.

It also makes the kids laugh and it is just FUN.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Other Ways to Inject Some Fun

Jokes and poems on the backs of bathroom doors, over pencil sharpeners, in the hallways, in the teachers’ lounge, in the teachers’ bathroom, and whatever random place is a fun way to provide an opportunity for people to read and write. You cannot help but smile when you pass a bathroom and hear kids in the stalls read and ask knock-knock jokes to each other.

A Warning If You Want to Try This At Home…

Some teachers were quite salty about this idea. They were afraid students would write something inappropriate. To be fair, it did happen twice that I can recall but it wasn’t suspension worthy. There were no cuss words just something minorly insulting that a 5th grader would think is funny.

Other teachers didn’t like the disruption of the flow of traffic in the hallways even if it was for a good cause. Adults do not like change so you will have to gauge how much pushback you would get. The board can always be put in the classroom to avoid this issue.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad. Any opportunity for reading and writing is a good thing in my book! Today some new reading materials are going up!

You can read this post in its entirety here.

Weekend Coffee Share – Autumnal Equinox Edition

It is time for a cup of coffee and a conversation with me on Sunday.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall which seems unusual to me because it is the 23rd rather than the 21st. I thought the calendar was wrong and Googled it three times.

I listened to a speaker the other day that was referring to fall as the time for deep rest and renewal. It is also the time to tie up loose ends before the winter season. This idea resonated with me and I am holding onto it. The idea has come up the last couple of days in my morning pages.

I will have my normal coffee today but also have some cider if you like today to celebrate the season. A random memory pops up for me of Snapple. They used to have a spiced cider that I would warm up and drink many years ago. It is a nice memory as I smell the apple and cinnamon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures that come with the fall season. I like hot weather in the summer but welcome the change. I had to drive our Jeep to work this week and it was HOT on the way home — NO AC. I haven’t run for several weeks and would welcome a walk and run with a little bundling necessary.

You can read the rest of this post here.

Do you have fall rituals you enjoy? Please share them in the comments.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated by the wonderful Extra Life ! Check out the blog.

Nomination Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Here are the questions Extra Life asked me:

  1. Have you ever purchased something that turned out to be phony? Not that I can recall…
  2. What time do you usually get up? I usually get up around 3 am. I have a different sleep pattern where I sleep for about 4-5 hours and then am up for 2 or more and then go back to sleep for 1 or 2 before I have to get up to go to work. I sometimes do not go back to sleep.
  3. What time do you usually go to bed? On a normal night usually pretty early around 8pm.
  4. What line from any medium managed to hit you like a ton of bricks? On a writer call last week a friend told me “there is enough” It has stuck with me.
  5. Have you ever owned a record player? I have! I still do actually. We gave one as a gift last year as well.
  6. What color do you prefer your consoles (or computer) to be in? Gray
  7. Do you prefer your books to be in a physical format or in an electronic format? Professional books I always prefer physical. Ebooks are easier to transport. I like all books.
  8. What is your least favorite thing about a work you like? I love the short story “Bullet to the Brain” by Tobias Wolff and wish I would have found his writing sooner.
  9. What is your favorite thing about a work you dislike? I recently read Celeste Ng’s short story “Girls, At Play” and I do not like the subject matter but I liked the writing style.
  10. Have you ever attempted to use an alternative keyboard layout? No.
  11. What is the longest amount of time you’ve ever been in a plane? 11 hours on the way to Hawaii.

Here are my questions:

  1. What is inspiring you right now?
  2. What is a small joy you do not give yourself often enough?
  3. What do you need more of in your life?
  4. What is something you buy that you always consider quality first?
  5. When did you last cry?
  6. What are you grateful for?
  7. What is your favorite season?
  8. What is your favorite smell?
  9. Woods or water?
  10. What is your favorite word?
  11. Would you rather have a sandwich or a drink named after you?

My nominations:







How to Cultivate Writers

Yesterday I followed up on a coaching conversation from last week. A teacher had expressed concern about a student who has ability but does not produce much work product in class.

My intent was to watch her interact within the culture of the classroom to see if I could spot some strengths and possible insights to her reluctance before talking to her. Unfortunately, the teacher loudly announced my presence as I walked in.

I stood to the side for a bit waiting for the teacher to finish directions of reading material curated for them in connection to this week’s learning targets. Then he asked them to take out their writing and move to the floor.

I took this opportunity to have a quieter conversation with the little one. She brought her 2 books and her notebook. We talked about her day as we walked to my office. I assured her she wasn’t in trouble and that I just wanted to talk reading and writing with her.

This little one has a soft spoken voice and spoke like she is often interrupted – Heavy breaths lay in between her thoughts.

Her notebook didn’t have much writing. A sentence or two on some pages. Some only the date at the top with the label “Quickwrite”.

We talked about ways to make quickwrites easier for her. Then I wrote with her.

As we readied ourselves to write together she expressed a piece she had worked on earlier that she wanted to add to. PERFECT. I had her reread what she had written. I reread mine as well since I said I was adding to something I had started already.

I set a pretty hourglass timer on my phone in the middle of the table and we wrote.

Sometimes we need each other to do the thing – no matter what is.

Other ways to cultivate writing:

+Have them talk before they write.

+Use materials and resources that real writers would use – not just teaching resources.

+Writing as an experience –treat them like real writers and not just children. Acknowledge they have something to say.

+Teaching them to honor their feelings and imagination when they are in the younger grades can help them to not lose the spark that is their voice when they get older.

+Writing is not about having a formula and plugging words into it.  Don’t treat it or teach it this way.

+Write with them.

+Give them freedom and trust. They will produce amazing pieces that are heart felt and honorable. A group of fourth graders I worked with in 2006 had such great writers they sometimes moved me to tears with their insight and it was from ALL the students not just the ones you “expect” to be good writers.

+Performance is a true part of the writing process. Let your students shine that have this ability.

+Remember writing is hard and fun! Support them in both areas.

Happy Writing today!

2 Surprising Crucial Items to my Mental Wellness

I have learned I have to protect myself from the people around me. Well, not the people necessarily, but their emotions. I have found since writing more, listening to my intuition, and opening up my own emotions I am more sensitive to others. I have always been able to read people well and tell them things about themselves they do not think I should know.

I found being around new people the past month I have been drained more than in the past. After consulting a trusted psychic healer she asked me if I protect myself before coming to work. It has never occurred to me.

Click here to read the rest of this story.