What I Learned in March SOL #31

  1. I use too many adverbs in my writing.
  2. Life isn’t fair.
  3. Books and reading are the answers to most problems. (This one I might have known already but it is important.)
  4. I have enjoyed the process of blogging everyday.
  5. I enjoyed commenting and receiving comments.
  6. The consistent writing has kept me motivated for other writing projects.
  7. I will continue to read other bloggers that I have come to rely on for daily inspiration for thinking and writing.
  8. Having a regular time that I post on my blog was good for me. I will continue this practice.
  9. My job is inspiring to me in many different ways.
  10. I have support for my writing.
  11. I can ask for help.
  12. Podcasts give me writing ideas.
  13. I need to be more concise with my words.
  14. There are other people who enjoy the quirky topics that float through my head!

In My Purse SOL#30

I remember the magazine spread in Seventeen magazine where someone’s purse contents were arranged by a designer to get a peek into their life. I always had wished that it would look so artistic when I dumped my purse, but of course that never happened! My husband says he is afraid to go in my purse ¬†– that something will bite him. ūüôā There are no live creatures but right now it contains:

-my wallet (of course) with all the necessities including pics of all my kids and my husband but no cash

– my phone

-my Kindle

-3 other books

-3 notebooks


-new earbuds

-gum, Rolaids

-a Lanyard from a TED talk event

-old jewelry I have been meaning to sell for the gold


-my lunch for today


Now that could be a story!

Word Wednesday SOL #22

I annotate my own reading and especially like to make lists of new vocabulary.

Some favorite words that I have come across and I am trying to incorporate into my personal vocabulary are:

  1. alacrity – cheerful readiness/ promptness or willingness
  2. pontificate – to express your ideas in a way that is pompous
  3. elucidate – to make clear, explain

Vocabulary is fun! Do you have favorite or new words you are trying to incorporate?


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

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 ‚Äúthings I must do‚ÄĚ. ¬†There are deadlines that come with the library and responsibility. The book isn‚Äôt 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.

SOL #6 – Commutes

Write. Share. Give.

My commute is 2 hours long a day (one hour each way to school) which means I have become reliant on podcasts to try to satisfy my insatiable quest for knowledge and also to pass the time with a reasonable activity. I have attempted audio books in the past, but only recently within was able to tolerate a whole book. I also have an internal fight with myself about whether it “counts” as reading. I have seen the research that the brain doesn’t know the difference, but my reading mind has a different opinion. This internal dialogue also occurred when I debated whether to become an e-book reader!

I have now downloaded the Overdrive app from the county library and have been listening to The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern.  It was recommended as a great audio book by the What Should I Read Next podcast of which I am a loyal fan. I must admit I am completely mesmerized by this book! I read the print version within the last year and recommend it all the time.

I made the connection that it reminds me of being read aloud to as when I was younger. It cannot just be anyone to read aloud – someone has to have a talent for it. I taught with a woman many years ago who would read aloud in a meeting and transport us into the book. She was a wise reading specialist and full of experience that I learned from every time I spoke with her. Lester Laminack can also read aloud to me any time and I am transfixed!

The magic of read aloud is a talent that many teachers possess and is key to exciting children to read. I hope that I continue to find audio books that are worth the time. Any suggestions in the comments are welcome!

#happy reading!


Reading Committee – Slice of Life #5

slice of life_individual

I sit in a large open meeting area and the people start to trickle in…all new faces to me. Quiet conversation. Stacks of books on tables and the eager eyes scanning the titles. I look to the computer and look up again and more chairs are filled with smiling teachers and librarians.

I am on the committee that chooses books for a popular list.   We all know we are getting stacks of books to take with us and it is exciting! A room full of reading advocates is where I belong! These people are my tribe.

We use Google Docs for the committee which works really well considering the members are all over the state.

I came home with more than 50 books! They are beautiful! I cannot wait to dig in.




Hygge – My Newest Obsession Slice of Life #3

I am obsessed with this Danish concept of coziness. I first read about it in A Year of Living Danishly¬†by Helen Russell last year. I realized ¬†this feeling was one I had experience with but had no real world to describe. Reading gives you words and descriptions for things you don’t always know how to articulate. I have had this feeling of HYGGE many times at holidays and my Oma’s house but most recently from a special book club group full of some of the most interesting people I have ever met. They are professionals and progressive thinkers and readers and creative. I love them all! As I read more and more I am trying to incorporate as much Hygge-ness in my life.

I often imagine a room full of books and a small group of people sitting around in overstuffed chairs with good snacks and coffee or wine having intellectual conversation. The conversations I so crave and miss from my on campus college days of undergraduate work that I receive now from certain small groups of friends and my husband. The lighting is low and there is a fire in a fireplace with candles lit all around the room. I almost wish I could make this a business – to make it “a thing that doesn’t exist” but I am still working on the critical attributes of what that would actually entail and how to make it come to life.

I came home to this type of scene just last night. The fireplace was roaring and the coals and wood were red hot and crackling with a delicious sound. I had a beverage made for me next to the faux leather chairs that sit at the hearth. Dinner was corned beef that had a sweet glaze and fell apart when my fork tines touched the flesh, crispy cabbage, and red potatoes. I dubbed it “fireplace food.” The conversation was about the day and politics and big dreams. My attire was comfy pants, an over large sweater, and my favorite slippers. It was heaven…and Hygge!

Reading and Writing Everywhere! Slice of Life – Makeup Day

slice of life_individual

As a reading advocate I am always searching for ways to have my students and people within my circle of influence to read and write. One of the ways I have done this in the past when I was in a classroom was a graffiti board outside my door. I must admit this practice caused major backups in the hallway many mornings.

I am a curriculum coach currently so I have a white board that 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.

Currently the question is, “What smell do you love?”

Earlier in the week it was , “What do you dip your chicken nuggets into?”

Words of the Day have been enigma and candor.

I love questions! I asked several people yesterday:

Have you ever made a bucket list or life list?

What is the favorite space in your house?

What is the perfect meal for you?

Not sure what the board will read tomorrow but I know that people will be checking!