Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend!

This has been a long week for me. It is the most I have been out of the house since March and it feels weird. I know that really doesn’t need to be said. It is an often expressed sentiment. I have learned I do prefer to be at home. I like the flexibility of being able to go to school in order to get materials or teach certain lessons.

What are you going to have today during our chat? I will have my normal black coffee. I have cream and sugar if you like. The coffee is hot! I am so glad you joined me for our chat today. I look forward to our time together on the weekends.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went back to work on Monday. It was a day to work in my classroom. We are in person at the building but are only allowed to be without masks alone in our classroom with the door closed. The kids are attending virtually starting on September 8th. I struggle with the emotions surrounding this return. On one hand, I am glad to be back to a “normal” schedule but there are rules that I do not understand. Tuesday I was on Zoom all day. Literally. It doesn’t make sense to me why I have to be in the building when I was in a Zoom meeting for 7.5 hours. I can get a modified schedule but it has to be pre-approved and COVID related. Wednesday was a work day as well. Honestly, I cannot even remember what I did that day. I know I took down decorations from the last teacher. I put up learning target icons and threw a lot away. At the staff meeting we were told we are not allowed to have any personal furniture in the room. The earliest we will have students is the beginning of November.

There has been little conversation about what the virtual school day will look like. It seems every time we ask it is a slightly different answer. I am used to pivoting and am trying not to worry about what I do not know. I am choosing to deal with the new details as they present themselves.

I also have to go back to my question: How does this serve me? I can hyper focus on work and not get distracted. I have all my materials in one place. I will keep thinking on this path.

It is also confusing because on some of the days the meetings did not start until 8, but then I was required to be at school til 4pm. This was not clearly indicated and on two of those days I was there at 7:30 a.m. I am glad I only live 10 minutes away from my building but with all the change this is another irritant.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started my day with the normal routine of writing and coffee first. This helps me start the day the right way for me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I walked several times this week, but had to do it after school. It was hot this week. Dinners were the latest they have been all year as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it seems like a lot happened this week but there isn’t much to write about. I feel like the life that fueled me this week was after the afternoon hit 3:30 or later.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started my Story Intensive class this week. We did introductions within the small class of 8. There were a masterclass for us to listen to and some lessons on freewriting. I will post my week 1 assignment later today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was on a celebration call for my Write Free class from Caroline Donahue. It was such a wonderful class and I recommend anything she does. She is offering the class again. She also does IG lives every Friday morning which are worth the time to tune in.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I received three letters this week! I was so excited to get happy mail.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was a bit more vulnerable newsletter. I know I need to tell more of my story and why I do what I do. I was asked again this weekend, “How do you get so much writing done?” I plan to examine this idea and others more in depth in my newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can here.

How was your week?

What inspired you?

Until our next coffee share! Be safe!

Five On Friday

Today I share 5 favorite things with you. It is a favorites party!

  1. Levar Burton Reads is an amazing podcast. The latest story struck me. You can listen here.
  2. This is the pen I use every morning in my notebook.
  3. I have been running in these shoes for years. Many a marathon in this style.
  4. Alex’s newsletter is one of the best!
  5. This is a book of essays written in the pandemic. It is amazing!

Bonus! Episode 14 is up for The Accidental Inspirationalist or you can listen on Spotify.

Official Back to School #SOL20

Two Writing Teachers run the Slice of Life tag ever Tuesday, where readers and writers are encouraged to write and share something about their life or day. You can check out the tag here.

Yesterday, was the first day back to school officially. The label was work day.

Delights of the Day

  • I coached a client through text
  • I connected with writer and educator friends
  • I found a word wall feature in a Bitmoji classroom I was perusing
  • I listened to some great podcasts while I went through files and books.
  • I connected with my kindergarten team who are amazing women!
  • I ordered bulletin board sets and remembered there was a time I couldn’t afford to buy much for my classroom. I spent hours cutting out items early in my career to decorate. During student teaching when I had no money I folded over packing tape 3/4ths and adhered it to a large sheet of cardboard to make a pocket chart. I remembered I have come a long way in knowledge and experience.
  • I got my SMART board to work
  • During my lunch time I revised my novel and gave myself a sticker
  • My classroom is a few steps closer to being acceptable for teaching and learning

What were the delights in your day?

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome back to the weekend!

If we were having coffee I would tell you we went kayaking! We launched and let the current take us around the bend then we stayed on the left side of the river. We stopped a couple of times along the way at little beaches. There was one spot we jumped off rocks into the deep river water. I was able to explore a tiny cave where a beaver hangs out and to paddle around an island rock formation at the end. It was divine.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I listened to a podcast with Zadie Smith that was powerful this week. She talked about her new collection of essays, her writing, her closet, and how she has too many capes for someone who works from home and where home is for her. You can check out the episode here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I walked a lot of miles this week.

Here are some views of my adventure!

It always surprises me when the tractor is left in the middle of the field.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a critique meeting with one of my writing friends early this week. It was good to talk about our stories and get the perspective of a reader. Sometimes just answering questions about a piece and hearing what answer falls out of your mouth is a great revision technique.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote several letters this week and on new stationery! If you have recommendations for places to buy great stationery sets I would appreciate it. I used to collect them on travels and from catalogs. I received great mail this week from a friend in Montana. I forgot how much I love letter writing. I must say that The Artist’s Way has been instrumental in this reminder. I have been going through the book again with a group but not as intensely on my part. I do the exercises and interact with a few people, but it is more low key than what I have done in the past. My life has changed so much since I did it last fall but there are always new insights to be gleaned from the process. This week I took a break from Twitter and Instagram during the reading deprivation week. I am gauging how much involvement I want with these platforms moving forward. I certainly plan to be more intentional about my actions.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I joined in a training by Alex Franzen and she mentioned the idea of making someone’s day. To be a “daymaker” as she put it. There is a whole movement for this idea and you can explore it here. I have been visiting the site often looking for different ideas.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we had great dinners this week. My favorite of all time is spaghetti. We also had meatloaf, mashed potatoes and burnt butter beans. With fasting and eating only one meal a day I anticipate and enjoy my food so much more.

Do you need a refill? I have some ice water as well if you care for some.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to school this week to work in my classroom a bit. It was a strange experience. Work begins for me again officially on Monday. Honestly, going to my room was mostly about getting the teaching supplies out of my apartment and back into my classroom where they belong. Being there was more emotionally draining than I had anticipated.

Physical memory is an interesting concept. When I walked into my classroom it was like traveling through a portal. It wasn’t even my classroom for that long before COVID kicked me out. It felt like I had never left the space even though there were new faces and my classroom looked nothing like it did when I last saw it. This is a feeling I do not enjoy. I shared this essay exclusively with my newsletter group. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, you can do that here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had to get myself out of a funk this week. If you want to hear about how I was able to change my state you can read it here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I learned about the C.L.E.A.N.S.E method and Emotional Detox from Boyle. I am digging into this method a little deeper. There is a book and several podcasts.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am having a grand time coaching my new clients through Patreon. It is such a wonderful experience! I also shared an exclusive flash story with my Patreons this weekend! If you join the Patreon you will not be charged until September 1st! You can check it out here or at the link at the top of this page which has more information about the tiers and my mission.

Thank you for joining me for coffee today. I am always happy we sit and have such a lovely conversation.

Change of State

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Today I went for a ten mile walk.

“Why” is the question some of you may be asking the screen. First, it was planned that way. I am running out of open schedule days with school beginning on Monday and need to take advantage of the last days of summer. Even when I ran more than I walked, I always said a ten mile day made me a happy girl. Second, I needed to change my state.

I had a terrible night’s sleep. I was too warm, I kept waking up for unknown reasons, I had weird dreams, etc. Most people experience this at least once in a while so I am sure you can empathize. It felt like it took me hours to wake up and feel like I was ready to do anything.

I did keep my normal routine of coffee and writing. I did try to go back to sleep but most days that does not work for me.

One of the promises I made to myself a few weeks ago was to live in a beautiful state no matter what. I control my reactions to what is happening for me. I control the focus. I can choose to focus on what is serving me or what is against me. (Hint: Most of these things are the same.)

Changing your physiology is the first step. To move. If you do a 30 second dance party with a jamming song you love, I can guarantee you will not be sad. Walking and running work for me. I listened to some great speakers and enjoyed the company of my walk. I had some life giving conversation with a client. I checked in with a few friends.

I could have let this mood fog ruin my whole day. I could beat myself up for waiting longer than I should have to change my state knowing what it was I needed to do. But I didn’t. And I won’t. I will try to recognize it a little earlier the next time though.

What are your favorite ways to get yourself out of a funk? I would love to hear in the comments.

Another way to change my state is to give a gift! I started a Patreon page this month is order to combine all the threads that I connect to live the life I do. My mission is to inspire YOU to find your light and take some small risk and action. One of these actions is always life giving conversation.

If you check out my Patreon page here there is a link to one list of my favorite questions. Better questions lead to a better life and I want to share some of my favorites with you!

Just click here! I am always open to feedback and how I can serve you better so let me know what you think!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome back to the weekend. This week has flown by as the hint of normal schedules looms in the balance. I feel that rush of trying to get errands done and checklists checked before the start of the new school year. My children have gone back to school all virtually. I will be virtual as well (at least for the first 9 weeks) but have to report to the building every day for my normal hours.

I am having black coffee today as usual. What would you like? The temperature is cooler today but I will get the pitcher of ice water anyway. The weather app lies. The humidity plays with the feeling of the air for sure.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the first round of boat repairs were completed and we launched the boat on Friday. We were doing a test run really. There are still some adjustments that need to be made on the motor as it wasn’t throttling properly. It was the first time I had launched the boat as we usually rent and it is already in the water. It was a beautiful day on the lake anyway and I was glad we were able to take it out no matter how short the trip was. It was logged as a delight in the notebook this morning!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loaded up my copy of Story Genius which is a writing craft book by Lisa Cron. She has several books and a Ted Talk. This book is unusual as Cron says what we have learned about writing stories is essentially all wrong. People don’t worry about the change of characters which is what a lot of stories are missing. She believes we fall into the trap of writing stories “where a bunch of stuff happens.” I was encouraged by my friend Nicole Rivera of Stop Writing Alone to break out my copy. The second section is full of specific questions to ask yourself about your own story and I am examining my novel I am revising. So far, it has been helpful!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am excited about my Patreon page! I did a soft launch with my newsletter peeps and everything will roll out by the end of the month. I have 4 tiers and the platform works well for all my projects. Check it out here. I have been hosting workshops and now I can contain all the content in one area. September’s workshop is all about Conversation Experiments and I am super excited to share this class with people! My content is for Teachers and Friends of Teachers. Educators and writers make good friends. This was definitely the next right step for me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you Jami Attenberg hosted #1000words of summer this week. Her emails were brilliant and sparked an idea for an essay that is in my notebook now!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I made a 6 hour round trip to pick up some items I left behind this week. I was anxious about going but did it anyway. On the way there I was able to listen to several great podcasts and I collected many notes for writing projects. I thought of it as a story nugget gathering trip and enjoyed it so much more. I was able to have lunch with a great friend and have some amazing flatbread pizza. I also visited my Grandmother who will turn 90 on October. She still lives on her own and is a kick ass independent woman.

Do you need a refill on your coffee?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been writing everyday in my notebooks with my fountain pen. I had avoided using it all pandemic but broke it out last week and even ordered new ink refills. I also started the letter writing again and have been using it for that as well. There is something enjoyable about using it to craft words. It is a delight for me!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to the eye doctor this week. It has been a minute. Luckily, my prescription hasn’t changed much but I was able to get new glasses. My old glasses had been repaired with a paper clip but since I only use them to drive it wasn’t an issue. I do use them if I go to a conference and have to see speakers or screens but I don’t think I will have to worry about the scenario for a while. For added excitement, the tornado sirens went off and I was trapped there for awhile. The doctor and I had a nice conversation about moving, nature, and Ben Shapiro!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am slowly transitioning back to school mode. There was so much uncertainty about the beginning of the school year (there still is) but at least I know I will be teaching from my classroom. I was a bit surprised I have to be in the building for the contractual hours, but it makes sense. Once I get back into the new schedule it will be fine.

How was your week? Was is inspiring you right now? What was one of your daily delights?

I would love to hear!

Create An AWESOME Ritual

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Every August there is the feeling like air is slowly leaking out of a balloon. As each day ticks by on the calendar we get closer to the first day of school.

How do you get ready?

This year the world is not the same which is the perfect opportunity for you to create a new kick ass ritual. You need a series of actions that lead to going back to the school year.

I use EL education materials and one aspect of this curriculum is CREW. Crew is the term EL uses which I used to call Family Meeting. It is time about learning and relationships. A book was released and I ordered it right away. It should be here by Monday!

Back to school shopping: In order to be a happy writer and teacher I need supplies. I have many friends that do not even have kids who are thrilled all the supplies are displayed in the middle of all the stores.

I am going to buy some new school shoes. It goes back to going shopping with my grandparents. A new outfit too.

I will also search the names of my new students (when they are available!) I keep checking.

I will plan the first week of school and start making my massive pile of read alouds.

Another thing I am doing this year to connect my personal passions with my professional ones is starting a Patreon. I kept trying to figure out how to serve my readers and people in my professional circle in a streamlined way. I have been saying lately that my offerings are for “Teachers and Friends of Teachers”. It makes for the most interesting group and mix of life giving conversations.

There are 142 days left in 2020. I have going to do a #100writingpromptproject for the last 100 days. My supporters will get access to a daily prompt, an exclusive community, and write in times to get together with others.

I also am expanding my coaching services and workshops. Now all the information for my events will be in one place. I am super excited!

Check it out for yourself and see if anything resonates with you!

My questions for you today:

What are you currently excited about?

What steps can you take to make a new ritual?

Getting Coffee

A Poem

person pouring latte in mug

I see two baby deer
Going for a run.
I wonder if they are training for a 
5K or
Half marathon.

My affirmation of positivity
Smells of salt and hot sauce,
Cheese on my porterhouse –
The whiff of an interaction
With a stranger.

Mist floats over the grass hills 
Holding the story.
Attention snaps back with,
“You have the same hair as my daughter”

The cup burns
The slow ordinary 
Explosion of life
Into my palm,
Retorted with
“I really like your shirt. It is so pretty.”

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome to the weekend! Since most people are still not traveling anywhere let’s pretend we are riding on a train to have an adventure together! We can order a fancy coffee beverage or just plain coffee. On this train, the coffee is amazing so you are free to order anything!

If we were sipping coffee I would ask you if you subscribe to my newsletter – if not, please click here!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you wrote several posts for my BYOB challenge from Ninja Writers. If you missed them, you can read them here.

Life Experiments

Six Ways to Be a Better Writing Teacher

Do You Know How To Rest?

Can I Ask You A Question?

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am still in my program from Caroline Donahue called Write Free. This week we talked more about the critic and I learned more about mine. I thought I had silenced her but she just got quiet. I wrote every day of course. I have been writing with my Sarah Selecky prompts but have not been posting many to the Centered space.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I subscribed again to The Letter Exchange (LEX). LEX connects snail mail pen pals through listings in the magazine and provides a confidential letter-forwarding service. I joined in the late 90’s but due to moving around so much the last couple of years it didn’t work. While I was doing a task from The Artist’s Way this week I reminded myself and did a search. I wrote three letters on Saturday!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I walked every day. We have been using some new routes and have found a beautiful street to walk down.

Do you need another coffee? I am going to the barista and have him work his magic!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am launching a Patreon page. I have wrestled with the idea of this platform for a while and feel like it will encompass all the things I create and provide in a streamlined way. There will be exclusive posts, workshops, write in’s, a private Slack channel, and coaching opportunities. Stay tuned for more details.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I started reading Great House by Nicole Krauss. I am not sure how I missed this book. It is about a writing desk and I love the way she writes her sentences. I am savoring it and reading it slowly. The History of Love was a great read during this pandemic. I want to learn more about Nicole’s process but haven’t been able to find too much.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I listened to two great calls with the author Amber Sparks. One was a small library event and she shared some stories that were new to me which was delightful. The second was an event hosted by Politics and Prose and you can watch that here. The other writers on this call are Laura van den Berg, Tania James and Rion Amilcar Scott.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you this post was inspired by https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ and https://www.savvywordslinger.com/bloghome. Check them out.

If we were sipping coffee I would love to hear where you would like to travel once we are allowed again. I cannot wait to get over to Germany for Oktoberfest.