Monday, April 25, 2011

Inspired by Joy and a Toddler

I love this photo of Sam and me. It was taken this weekend as part of our Easter celebrations. It so represents how I feel about living with a toddler--at least when I have enough rest and time to think about it! Neither one of us is doing "what we're supposed to do." I could have been crazy that he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do, but instead I've surrendered and I'm just laughing hysterically. I love that joy that only comes from really letting go.

I want a life where I can throw my head back more and laugh hysterically.

What kind of life do you want?

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's in Your Workspace?

I must admit, I am not one of those fabulous teacher who has everything in its place and a place for everything. I try. Sometimes I get close. It never lasts long. I still have piles--on my desk, behind my desk, on shelves. In the past I've shamed myself about this. I would not permit myself to have a pretty little spot until everything was tidy. If I wait until then I might be dead before it happens. Instead I decided this year to have a little spot on my desk with pretty and powerful things. The photo shows what was on my desk at the beginning of this week--affirmations, flowers, etc. I usually try to have some treasure from outside, like a rock, some affirmations, and something else that will encourage or empower me--it might be a photo of my little family or a note or book.

I hope you give yourself permission to place items in your work space that encourage and empower you. What's in your space?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rush to Opportunity

I'm a recovering perfectionist and procrastinator. These are both characteristics based in fear. I live with a two year old who knows nothing of procrastination. He rushes to an opportunity. There is a gate! Let's rush to it and through it! I think this is such a good lesson for me today. It's been oozing into my life from many sources in the last year. I have resisted many opportunities because I could not do them perfectly--like starting a blog or website. Like dream big dreams for the future. Sometimes I know I just need to throw caution to the wind and rush toward the gate of opportunity.

What opportunity could you be rushing toward today?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brave But Heavy Hearts

I'm enjoying this little piece of an old painting I found. I like that the hearts are so light that they are floating.

I'm carrying around a heavy heart these days. And I'm ok with it. I'm going to breath and be gentle with myself. I'm going to accept that I have very limited control over most of life--especially the expectations of others.

What is beyond your control today?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Frustration Turns to Inspiration

I saw this birdie on a walk I took with my little family just after school on Friday. I think he was sending me a message, but I didn't get it until the next day. It was something like this:

The motherboard on my laptop is dying. It won't work. It's my only source of Internet access. I wanted to spend my weekend time working on Brave Teachers stuff. I am frustrated--maybe even behaving like a caged animal. I finally say, "I've gotta' get out of here." I go to the universal coffee chain and pull out my magic spiral notebook!

That's when inspiration strikes, and I'm working on the originals journaling pages for my upcoming retreat workshop The Art and Soul of a Brave Teacher. I'm going to town--so creative and inspired. I hadn't even figured out how I wanted to do this, and it's magically happening, because I was frustrated by what I thought I needed to do. It's so simple, and it's spilling right out.

I'm really struck by this--how I plow ahead, feel frustrated and/or angry when I can't plow ahead, how what I think I need to do keeps me from doing what I'm really supposed to do. I think this is truly deep and profound. It's felt that way to me for the last 24 hours. It's like the universe is shouting: Stop forcing your way in the world! And so for this one brief moment I did, and I'm so pleased with the results.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sometimes A Little Help is Good

I have a really difficult time asking for help. Really difficult.

It's even tough for me to accept help that I haven't asked for but know I need. A funny thing happened at yoga yesterday. I was doing a twist, and the instructor was walking around supporting and adjusting students. In my mind I was thinking, "Don't stop here," but since my telepathy is not too good, she stopped right with me. The funny part was with a little support I could move twice as far! We're not talking a micromovement. We're talking a giant step! It felt really good. And she said, "Sometimes a little help is good."

So why is it so hard for me to accept help? Why do I give sacrificially of my time to others but expect that no one wants to do that for me? What giant steps have passed me by because I wouldn't accept help?

Will you allow yourself to accept help today?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inspired by Spring Change

So here in Ohio Spring is finally deciding to show up. My daffodils are turning from green to an opening yellow, and the leaves on the trees are just ready to pop. I love this time of year. Can I really put the winter coat away and stop wearing socks? I also resist the unpredictability of it all. It's kinda' crazy--I've waited all winter, and now I'm resisting! It doesn't follow any sort of logic.

I think life is like that. Change is something that we resist. I like to think I'm more open than the average person to the unexpected, but it's still tough. I brace myself and I prepare as much as I can, and I resist just as much as everyone else. The insanity in all of this is often the change is what I've waited for--just like spring after a long winter.

Often change brings benefits so far beyond what I could expect or hope, so when will I learn that change is good? That acceptance makes any transition smoother? That I can bring calm energy to challenging and charged situations? That I can look for the beauty that is there?

How are you resisting change? What would allow you to be open to change? How has change been positive for you?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Take A Kid into Nature

So what happens when you take a kid into nature? Today is the last day of Spring Break. I'm finally starting to get over the eternal cold, but now the rest of my little family is down with it. And for the first day, it's finally really warm--over 75 degrees F.

Not ones to be daunted by running noses, coughing, and sneezing we decide a little fresh air will do us all good. So we pull out the big stroller and head down to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath--which is just a couple blocks from our house.

Internally my heart resists. It's the last day of break. I want to lounge and work on or just do nothing. But I know I will be sad tomorrow when I can't be with the boys, so there I am.

Some highlights:

~All the nature a two year old can observe--geese, birds singing, water, animal poo, rocks, leaves, etc.
~A small boy who wants to get out and run--and be chased!
~The same small boy squealing with glee at being caught and swung upside down.
~So many signs of spring--more on this tomorrow!
~And just as we were about to head toward home we met the most interesting guy with a parrot and saw a loooonnng train and an ambulance with its screeching siren rushed by.

We were absolutely blissed out--and this is what happens when you take a kid into nature!

What gives you BLISS?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Proudly Presenting

It is my pleasure to proudly present to you

I've been working like crazy. (I'm a technological newbie--so much trial and error.) I've learned--and am learning sooo much. I've been writing and creating and assembling like crazy. This is just the beginning, people!

My heart just feels so much love for teachers and all we are and do that is sooo undervalued or goes unnoticed. I've been thinking, "What if we really learned how to care for ourselves and be honest and brave?" (If we don't learn to take care of ourselves, we can't expect that anyone else will want to value or care for us, either.)

If you in ANY way call yourself "teacher" or care about people who do, then is for you.

Here's what you can bravely do today:

1. Check out the new website

2. Click on "Contact" and sign up to be part of the Brave Teacher community. To thank you for signing up I will send you a little thank you newsletter and a color poster of brave affirmations I made just for you, dear one.

3. Forward this to everyone you think might be interested.

Thank you for bravely showing up today to be the amazing person that you are!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Hurdle of Fear

What has fear kept you from doing? Fear has kept me from going back to school, proclaiming I'm an artist, starting my own business, quitting toxic relationships with people and institutions. It's kept me from trying new things.

Fear has kept me from proclaiming my truth. It's not like an ogre was standing over me saying, "Stop." or "If you_______, then I will_______ (imagine the worst case scenario here.)" Nope--it's all inside my head. And, boy, do I have a creative imagination. I can catastophize about anything.

You know I act and talk all brave until fear comes knocking at my door. Tomorrow you will see what happens when I heard the fear and I felt the fear and then I did it anyway. Don't forget to remind everyone you know to check back here tomorrow. It's going to be good.

What is fear keeping you from doing today? What would happen if you heard the fear and felt it and did it anyway?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brave News Coming Soon

I'm horrible at keeping secrets! It's almost physically painful. My husband tells me not to talk about movies, because I'll give away the ending. I hate it when the present I am giving is the last one to be opened.

But I have a great secret. It's so good that you will want to tell all the teachers you know to keep checking back here. Yep! It's that good! I'm hoping to make the big announcement on Friday! Help me rally the troops!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's Your Perspective?

So most of what I'm looking at this week I'm seeing from the perspective of a two year old. I'm blown away by how blissed out he is by nature--the sound of water, old pine cones, and the joy in a rock. I feel joyful just witnessing his joy.

These experiences make me think of how I'm really in a perspective rut. A few days away from my job makes it very easy to see how my thought process is stuck about curriculum and testing and procedures and so on. But I'm also in a perspective rut about my house, what I eat, how I relate to my family and friends, how I spend my precious and limited free time, and so many other ways.

I want a fresh perspective. I want to see a little rock as a fascinating new toy. Today's a great day to look at my world from another perspective.

Just take a moment to contemplate looking at your world from someone else's perspective. What's your perspective today?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspired by More Power-FULL Kids

Aren't you blown away when you see other people making the world a beautiful place?

So a 4th grade girl from another class walked into my room on Friday morning and ask me if I would like to donate money because she was raising money for Children's Hospital. After a few questions I found out that she and her 6th grade sister on their own are raising money to purchase games for kids who have to hang out in the waiting rooms.

I'm blown away! Aren't you?

I always know in my heart that there are soooo many amazing kids and human beings of all ages in the world around us. Why do the few rotten apples get so much attention?

This is such a GREAT cause. If you would like to contribute, please contact their mom, Donna Ray, at this email address: Please give, if you can--it's a great way for power-full kids to see that the world has so many other amazing people who want the world to be a beautiful place. They will make their donation just before Easter, so don't delay.

How do you see other people making the world a beautiful place.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Together We Are Greater Than Our Parts

"Together we are greater than our parts." I think we should be taught to live by and really believe this principle. Here are some ways I've been seeing, experiencing and witnessing this recently:

My magic purple bag and idea notebook are shown above. I never thought I had time for writing down my ideas, but in Flying Lesson by Kelly Rae Roberts, she said she keeps everything in notebooks to begin with. She is such a beautiful and creative artist. I'm recommending her course and ebooks, if you are a creative spirit who wants to make money and not be a starving artist. I can't even tell you how much good stuff I've written in that notebook in the past 2 months--chapter titles for a book. Affirmations for teachers. A complete and detailed outline for my adventurous course The Art and Soul of a Brave Teacher. My mission statement. And so many more goodies that will soon be revealed.

Brave Women's Breakfast for April--finding surprising connections and empowering each others ideas and thoughts.

Finding blogs that unexpectedly propel my secret future ideas forward. Two right now are scoutie girl where tara gentile offers a FREE 8 session course, and if that's good for you, you might also look for other courses/opportunities with Tara Gentile here. And then there is Goddess Leonie down under in Australia. Her 3 part blogs on business really spoke to me.

This week is Spring Break! and even though I'm starting out a little under the weather, do I need to say more? I'm brimming with ideas--if I can just accomplish a fraction of them!

The ripple effects of the Hopeful World course I took in December with Jen Lemen, Odette and Innocent are still being felt on an almost daily basis in my life. I feel such great gratitude for them.

And we are potty training at our house this week. Boy is that a collaborative effort! I'll keep you updated on progress!

Who do you collaborate with? What do you have to offer the world today?