The Next Right Thing

When I started writing my blog I had just started as a master teacher for TAP. TAP is a framework for teaching and leadership that is run by NIET. 

I wanted to blog to find other people like me. It was a new job and I wanted models on how to do it well. I sensed the power in the approach but there was so much to learn and implement. I was lucky to be in a new role and to have a trusted framework to follow and a coach to help me but I am impatient.

Quickly, the blog turned into something else because finding other TAP people was harder than I realized. I started connecting with other educators because I found the Two Writing Teachers blog. Then it just became about connection and sharing. Part of the original goal, but slightly off-center. It still worked within the same vein. I wrote about everyday life and book recommendations. I tried to answer on the blog the questions I was asked in real life.

I am always searching for a connection that is life-giving. I steal this phrasing from Jim Knight when he talks about instructional coaching and better conversations. I have used the Swedish word Hygge to describe it in the past before I had Jim’s words. Hygge to me is the conversation that feels like the comfort and warmth on a winter night in front of the fire with great wine, bread, and soup.

Every week I stick to a schedule of sorts for writing. I write and share my Weekend Coffee Share on Sunday. My education post for the Two Writing Teachers is on Tuesday. I write Five-Minute Friday posts based on Kate’s word There are other themes I throw in when I feel like it. When I was a middle school coach I wrote Workshop Wednesday when I did my trainings. 

Then I started experimenting.

I tried Medium as a platform because they paid their writers. I became associated with publications that brought more readers to my writing. I published poems and education articles. 

Then I kept reading about an email list. I came late to that game but started a newsletter. I am still trying to figure that out and how it serves me and my readers.

Life is about adventure and part of that adventure is trying new things.

I am not a stranger to risk. I take risks in my career – note that when I applied, interviewed, and got the TAP Master Teacher job I already had a tenured position in a large corporation. People thought I was CRAZY for leaving. I was bored and unappreciated and actually got written up for running the Boston Marathon and for going to a reading conference – when I was reading specialist.

I am a lot of things. I could write a list of description and some of the labels might surprise you. I am a published writer, an educator, a coach, a mom, a stepmom, a wife, a runner, a friend, a speaker,  an INTJ, an  Enneagram 1, a manifesting generator, and a woman.

I am insecure at times, driven, relentless, judgmental, and smart.

I am loving, fragile, strong, and small.

I write because I have to.

I give myself challenges to prove I can do shit. When I ran my first marathon I ran 27 miles as a training run to make sure I knew I could do it. I did this before the race. I Boston qualified by 18 minutes that first time. I don’t say this to impress you. I tell you to impress upon you that I am relentless on myself. 

I stayed in my first marriage too long because I had convinced myself that I had made a choice and needed to see it through. When I woke up on my 40th birthday I knew that many of the stories I had been told were not the truth. They were lies to keep me in line by society and culture. I changed my life.

Once again people thought I was crazy, and that I had lost all my marbles. 

I am constantly trying to improve myself. I am not afraid of action. But sometimes I wonder what I am trying to prove and to whom. I have high standards and have the need to learn. As a teacher, I have to be a model for my students. I cannot tell them to constantly be learning and taking risks and then not do it myself. I have had too many people in my life that have shown me that movie on repeat.

Recently, I moved to Wisconsin and took a job in the middle of the school year – which is something I never thought I would do. I tried multiple times to stay at the old job and requested changes to my contract to no avail. So I followed the money and to an area that I am more comfortable in. I love it here. It took me 45 years to get out of Indiana. I cannot change the past, but I do often wonder what my life would look like if I had left Indiana right after college or had gone to school in a different town.

I have identities that I call on within myself to get shit done. Everyone has different aspects of themselves they call upon. I am working on being more intentional about it. 

Right now, I am in a coaching program with Tony Robbins’ organization. I am working on getting my body back to how it is supposed to be. I call it Back to Zero. I want all my clothes to fit in my closet or be a little too big. This is how I am comfortable with myself.

I am working on not reacting defensively.

I am nurturing my female friendships because honestly, I am not comfortable around women because I have been hurt so many times.

I am working on doing all 7 areas of my life at a level 10. Balls to the wall the best I can be at that moment. (body, emotions, career, contribution, money, time, relationships)

I am going to be writing more about these areas within the next 6 months.

Right now, I feel aligned with the purpose. I am in a good space and happy. I will start to share the stories that are meaningful to me. 

The lockdown showed me I am living very close to my ideal life. I am striving to get even closer to it. I am paying attention to my emotions and energy.

Thank you for allowing me to share. Hopefully, my stories will serve you in your life as inspiration, conversation, or hope.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and A Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend! This week was full of transitions that didn’t feel all that transitional. I will explain…

Would you like black coffee or some tea? I also have ice water of course. I picked up some of the sparkly water. It is a nice change from the filtered flat water.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this last Wednesday was my official last day of the school year. Usually, there is a feeling of ending and beginning. There was no such fanfare this year. It didn’t even feel like the end of the year. I had to go into the building to gather my student’s items and bag them up but not everyone was there so there were no goodbyes. One of my team members retired and we have not been able to have a party.

There are lots of things I enjoyed about the sheltering in place. Working from home was not torture. It did require some reframing along the way. I would prefer not to teach kindergarten from the house this fall!

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my coaching program is going well. I am learning a lot and reaffirming a lot of feelings and knowledge I already have. Having the confidence to know that internally I do know what to do is confidence building. I am also reading a new book about communication. I am excited to learn more about how to do it more effectively.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my local library opened with full service on Monday. It was a thrilling day! I was able to pick up The Night Country, which is a book I have been waiting to read. I have been reading Untamed on the kindle. From a podcast I was introduced to this gem of a book too:

Ross Gay wrote an essay a day, starting on his birthday, about something that delighted him. I love this idea! With my birthday being next week, I may be inspired to start my own project.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we took the family ziplining this Saturday. This place was a little different than the last place we went to. There was a 30-minute drive to a privately owned bluff and forest area. There were 14 lines that we were able to zip down. There were two guides with us which was new and they taught us to brake. Two hours of being in the forest was an amazing way to spend a Saturday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I made seafood mac and cheese and it was delightful!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I ordered a beautiful journal from a friend and it arrived this week. It reminded me of a talk given by Jason Reynolds. The whole speech is amazing, but he talks about how we should give our feathers away. This journal reminded me how inspiring this talk was to me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been writing every day and posting my prompts to the private forum. I received some great feedback from my writing friends.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had some deep conversations with friends this week. Several about goals and where I get ideas. Several friends I have daily check ins with. One friend was performing at an open mic, another was submitting, and another we just talk about everything.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got a new phone this week. The camera from the old one was terrible and there are too many memories I need to capture for a mediocre camera. Every December, we do a yearly printed photo album capturing the memories and phrases every one said to be able to remember.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you two friends asked about my podcast being on Spotify, so I did the research and figured out how to apply to get it on there! Updates soon!

I hope your week was amazing! I would love to hear about it.

Anchors

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Today while I was walking I started to think about anchors.

This time of sheltering in place and teaching from afar had me thinking about the things that ground me. I also was thinking about the anchors that I need whether we are in crisis mode or not.

There are anchors of routine. I must have my coffee every morning with my husband. Then I write. Right now I have my daily prompt I write for at least 10 minutes. I write my story for Storyaday May. I write for my Keep Writing prompt.

I listen to podcasts and make notes for essays and conversations for later.

Life giving conversations are my anchors. I intentionally seek out my creative friends to discuss new projects and what I am reading. I have certain people that are anchors. My husband and my children. Creative groups and friends too.

The fact I know who I am is an anchor. I am a writer, reader, teacher, leader, runner, and coach. I must do more than one thing at a time, otherwise I am frustrated.

I am tattooed and a child advocate. I read tarot cards. I am opinionated and tenacious.

I am a woman of action. I am a force of nature.

Do you know what and who your anchors are?

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend after the Pink Supermoon from earlier in the week! it is Easter today but looks different than it ever has before in life.

Today I have french vanilla coffee again. I have some caramel or some chocolate if you would like something added. I will get you a glass of ice water as well. I will have mine black as usual. A habit I picked up in college and haven’t kicked.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started the #the100dayproject on Tuesday. I am writing a random sentence every day and then when I have the 100 I will read them aloud and string them together for a short story. I am posting the sentences on Instagram as I go along. I was not going to post all of them, and I may change my mind, but I like the Canva design and it makes me happy and accountable.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had many video meetings every day. Some with teachers, some with students, some with writers. It is a new normal and most of it was energy draining. There is a different type of “on” that needs to happen.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a breakthrough with the running. I had a run on Thursday where I felt all my muscles firing and I felt like I was gliding, not slogging along. I am hoping for more runs like this rather than the feeling of forcing myself.

Do you need a refill? I am out already. I think I could drink the whole pot by myself I love coffee so much! I like you though, so I don’t mind sharing.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I watched Caroline Donahue’s live Instagram videos every weekday. She has been talking about writing process and goals. There are book recommendations as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I listened to my podcasts while I was running or walking this week. I have found a few more writing podcasts this week so that is always exciting. I listened to a master class about scenes which is really interesting.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I hope you had a great week. I cannot wait to hear about your week. I wish you happiness, health, and magic for next week.

That’s A Wrap! Last day of #SOLC

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Today is the last day of the Two Writing Teachers blog challenge for March. I love challenges and am always making plans for what is next. Lately, that has felt a little trickier.

Late last week I almost didn’t post. I just didn’t feel like it. I knew on this last day I would question that decision if I didn’t follow through with my plan.

I am thankful I posted every day. Having a theme to fall back on was a good strategy for me. I also enjoy writing the Weekend Coffee Shares.

As we move forward, my question is:

What are your plans for April?

Here is what I have lined up for April so far:

  • Happy Camper Writing Club with Nicole Rivera
  • Poetry writing month – Two Sylvia Press prompts are coming to my inbox starting tomorrow
  • Plan for Storyaday May
  • Sarah Selecky daily writing prompts
  • #100dayproject (starts April 7th)
  • Interactive class about personality and communication taught by me (TBA)
  • Bad A$$ money book club
  • Tarot class
  • Continue to interact with my writing communities
  • Run every day
  • Many, many Zoom calls

What I am Thinking About:

+ Creating a small writing class focused on Natalie Goldberg writing exercises and retreat components. (Thanks Chari!)

+How to continue the important conversations that need to occur

+ It’s Llama Tuesday!!! The llamas are having a party today. Celebrate accordingly.

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What Have I Been Missing?

I used to be a runner. Well, if I am going to be honest that is an understatement. I became obsessed with running when I was 35. I blame the Biggest Loser show actually. I used to run 60-80 miles a week. If I could run 10 miles a day I was a happy girl.

I have always had friends that were runners and I envied them. I wanted to run but wouldn’t start. I had a terrible experience in middle school when I tried to join the track team which honestly kept me from it later in life.

I researched and started. I gave myself a challenge. I would run every day in January that year and at the end of the month if I hated it I would stop. I didn’t stop for 6 years. I ran everything from 5k races to 50 miles. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

My first race was a half marathon. I ran a marathon after 11 months of running. This is not the normal way to do things. But I loved it.

I ran at that time of my life too because there was anxiety and depression. I was running away from my life at the time. My brain has connected this anxiety to the running.

I have had several false starts over the last couple of years. I ran last summer and worked up to a 13 mile run just to see if I could do it again. That is how I ended up running 50 miles – a personal challenge to just see if I could do it.

With the virus gifting me the time to read, write, study and realign my life running has come back. I had to deal with some emotional ties to the running because of my past that I DO NOT want to relive.

Today is day 5 of running in a row. I am back again to looking forward to the runs. I have a path outside my door once again since I moved and that makes a huge difference. The air is clean here and there are hills which I love.

It is nice to nurture a new relationship with this part of myself.

I am a runner again.