Saturday, December 31, 2011

Word Of The Year 2012 Revealed

Happy 2012! Best wishes from me to you. I'm hoping you have your best year EVER!

It's here! The video below reveals my word for 2012. As you can tell it's already inspiring me!

{Tomorrow I'll let you know how I arrived at my word for the year.}

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Approaching The Gate of 2012

So we're just a bit away from entering 2012. It certainly feels like we're approaching the gate. It's still closed, but we know it's about to fly open. And I'm wondering if I'm ready. I'm tired, but I want to be so present when the gate flies open, and I boldly walk through.

I feel my heart and soul propelling me in other directions--away from the safe path. I'm so excited and scared by it. I already know that 2012 is going to be HUGE! I feel the earth moving and shifting. I know I'm going to be engaged with my little family, traveling, and taking Brave Teachers into great directions. I'm getting really into the business nitty gritty. Have I mentioned The Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee? I'm gobbling it up!

I'm actively pursuing calm. I've selected by word for 2012 {to be revealed soon!} I'm working on lots of plans for next year, and I'm trying to think of how to integrate the shift in my heart with my day to day interactions within my classroom. I'm thinking of little lessons to empower kids--the kind of stuff you have to sneak in because it has nothing to do with standardized tests but everything to do with the future of the human race. Am I the only person out there who thinks that is just soooo wrong? But I digress--give me a moment to hop off my education soapbox. . .

How about you? What are you planning or hoping or dreaming for 2012?

If you live within a couple hours of Akron, Ohio, I would LOVE to spend time with you at the Brave Teacher Play Day, January 16! We will be super casually creating and empowering and supporting each other. It's going to be a great chance to catch your breath so that you can move boldly through the gate and get 2012 started so beautifully!

Special Deal For You and A Friend

Are you feeling tired, warn down, needing some inspiration?

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Click here to receive all 63 colorful pages of this pdf delivered to you via email.

As a happy new year bonus, you can purchase a copy for yourself and I'll email a copy to your friend for FREE. Get the details here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eleven Amazing Bits of 2011

This year I stepped way out of my comfort zone. I was propelled by personal struggle and anguish, but then I kept going into new media and hope for my future. Lots of it was honestly very lonely. My heart was broken. I cried a lot. I grew. I found courage and strength I did not know I had. I have been forever changed.

This is no particular order, but here are 11 highlights of the year 2011 for me:

1. Watching Sam turn 2 and grow and change into an almost 3 year old. It's magical. It's simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking.

2. Beginning Brave Women's Breakfast for just encouraging myself and other women. It's a place to land and just be for a few hours. It's a little community--a tribe.

3. Having my heart broken {shattered} by the day to day powerlessness of the teaching profession.

4. Beginning to relearn the power of affirmations and self care at a deeper essential level.

5. And then coming back to teach for the 2011-2012 school year, and learning to find peace in the midst of it all--especially peace with myself.

Try our slideshow maker at Animoto.

6. Choosing the word {BRAVE} as my word for 2011. And discovering Brave Girls Club, and their amazing Soul Restoration Classes

7. Having my watercolor paintings in a real gallery show

8. Starting the Brave Teachers Website as a beacon of hope and a catalyst of empowerment for teachers everywhere. And then writing an ebook and so many other things you can read about here.

9. Creating the adventurous course, The Art and Soul of Brave Teachers and leading it for others in June and then leading it again at Lakeside in July.

10. Brave Teacher Retreat

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11. Ending the year with more calm and peace in my life--thanks in part to the True Nature Retreat I experienced with my husband. It was a time for positive momentum both personally and relationally.

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I realize that I am sooooo blessed! My list could really go on and on, but these are a few bits that have had a powerful impact on my year. How about you? What is impacting you?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day Secret Mission

Part of my ploy this year is to embark on secret missions--where I'm doing things that are just thoughtful for other people or I would like to have done for me.

I got a great idea from brandy. As soon as I read her post I knew I wanted to do this with my son. Our secret mission was to make snack bags for people we knew would have to work on Christmas. We just took brown lunch bags and filled them with snacks--microwave popcorn, bottles of water, granola bars, hot cocoa, and a variety of other goodies. We filled bags around our dining room. Some bags even got stickers.

On Christmas morning we left early for church. We went to 2 fire stations, the police station, and a variety of gas stations and convenience stores that were open. It was a real moment of humanity--what I think Christmas is really all about. It was also more of the Christmas that I want Sam to know than the toy pit that is overtaking our living room today. He was also delighted to get to sit in the purple fire engine. Yep, I said purple! I hope to download a photo from my husband's phone--super cute! I loved that when we got in the care he said, "OK, let's give away more treat bags."

It might have been the best part of Christmas for me. What was your best part of Christmas?

Are you working on your word for 2012? I'm still not there, but I'm working on it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Than Survival

If you're still teaching this week, you know it's a tough time of year to spend the day with young people who are super excited for Christmas, vacation, New Years, new toys, and whatever other sugarplums dance in their heads.

With this knowledge and my awareness that it is tough to return in January to blah walls, I'm trying to do something more fun. We are decorating our hall area, door and windows with a "Let It Snow!" theme. We've made one of a kind snow people, and lots of snowflakes. The kids have made the signs. It's was a great addition to a day of Santa Shop and gift wrapping. (Which is basically like trying to cap a volcano!)

Lest you think there is no learning going on, I want to say it is VERY difficult for fourth graders to follow directions for a spacial project. (You know that life skill sort of stuff that no state test evaluates.) It's also great to give kids a chance to problem solve and work collaboratively. (Two of the biggies in the 21st century skills list, but not measured on standardized tests.)

We can also continue with the theme when we have a few minutes here and there over the next couple days, too. For example. . . Early finisher: What can I do now? Teacher: Work on more winter wonderland creations.

The best part for me was leaving today with a bit of sanity intact!

I'll try to share some pictures, soon!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Preparation and Countdown

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just one week away. We have had another packed weekend of graduation celebration (Congratulations, Tim!) and making holiday gifts. All three of the people in my little family have been working on gifts this weekend--especially putting the final touches on things that we've been working on for weeks. Next week I will share the adventure of making gifts with little people when the gifts have been revealed!

I often reach this point feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. (Why didn't I just buy something? Will they like this or use it? And all the other lurking questions in my internal dialog.)

That's there this year, but it's more of a whisper than a shout. I'm recognizing that what I'm really gifting people with is an intimate look into my values--consideration for people who are less fortunate than we, practical gifts, some traditional nibblies, and so on. I can let go of guilt and shame and fear and hold some of my time in a sacred space to look at lights and pretend to be Santa and making new memories. This is all a surprisingly uncomfortable shift.

I'm also reserving energy for three more days of school before Winter Break. There are so many unpredictable and uncontrollable factors on those last few days. We are going to attempt to maintain some decorum and civility and maybe some learning, too! I also have some cool books to share with my students this week, too. I'll try to share that through the week, too.

How are your preparations going? I hope you will try to carve out a little sacred space to sit with yourself. Sending you good wishes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recap Word Of The Year 2011

I have been choosing a word for the year for a while now. It's just been interesting to see where it appeared and how the meaning of the word changed over time. Last year I decided to kick it up a notch. I wanted to see if my life could be changed by choosing a word for the year. It was like a little personal challenge. Here's what happened:

Almost exactly one year ago I chose my word for 2011. The word was BRAVE. I can't even remember exactly why I chose brave. I've been looking for the journal where I wrote about it, but I haven't been able to locate it. I did blog about it here. I started to find all kinds of interesting bits about brave. My favorite by far has been Brave Girls Club. I have loved receiving inspirational emails from them. Take Soul Restoration 1. And then doing Soul Restoration 2. Now I'm excited about starting Body Restoration in January 2012. These are FABULOUS courses--real life changers.

I also credit a little class I took with Jen Lemen and Odette and Innocent for this subtle internal shift that I can't explain. I don't even try to figure it out or over analyze it. I've just been going with the mystery of it all.

So where exactly did this journey going? It took a really twisty path through the most heartbreaking year of my educational career. My personal life and relationships had some big speed bumps, too. Isn't that the way life always is. I feel today like courage is really just refusing to stop. In the face of it all I did want to quit--many many times. Instead I just continued to move along. Sometimes I was sprinting. Most of the time I was really crawling off into the darkness of uncharted territory and wondering what I was doing.

The results have been pretty darn AMAZING. Here is some of what the word "brave" brought me this year:

Honestly I've done sooooo much. I also returned for another year as a classroom teacher. If for a moment you doubt the power of words, I beg to differ with you!

I found this to be so powerful, that I put together I mini-workbook to guide you in choosing a word for yourself for the new year. Grab this FREE pdf, Word of the Year 2012!

I'm still defining my word for 2012. What's your word for 2012? We would love to know!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Decorating and Life Lesson From A Two Year Old

I live with an adorable and feisty almost 3 year old. Getting ready for Christmas is sooo fun this year in that I get to see so much through his eyes. I love the logic and innocence. It makes me smile--A LOT!

So we were putting up a little bitty tree in his bedroom. I bought some nonbreakable decorations for his tree--a few snowmen, a few Santas, and so on. My thought was to spread everything out and make it look balanced. His idea was to hang all the snowmen together--"so they can be friends." And the same thing happened with Santa. So his tree has little clumps of ornaments (and so does the tree in the living room!) because appearances are nothing when you can hang out with your friends!

Me thinks there is a little life lesson in there for me, too!

I also got to do two amazing free local things with my little family over the weekend. Sam saw Santa on the sidewalk, and walked right up to him. He let him pick him up. We went to Lock 3 and got to see people ice skating and just take in the winter spirit, and then we road to the Akron Artwalk, and Sam was amazing. We saw art for sale. We saw artists in their studios. And one artist had an easel set up that kids could use. Sam had great fun. Everywhere we went he would ask what's that, and I would ask him what he thought it was. He has some definite ideas and opinions! It was all free and priceless--of course we could have spent tons of money, because I heart local artists in a big way!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Brave Teacher Play Day Is Coming!

Calling all teachers!
I'm inviting you to an amazing day--a Brave Teacher Play Day!

It's a chance for courageous teachers to meet together
and create amazing projects
NOT for their classroom.

Make some heART projects just for your heart! Take care of yourself. Sign up HERE.

January 16, 2012
9:30 am - 3:00 p.m.
Lunch and all art materials are included
Brave Mim's House

I will provide 4 projects for you to choose. You can do as many as you have time to complete. You might choose to do one super in depth or start 3 or 4 and then finish them later on your own.

I have designed 4 fabulous projects for the Brave Teacher Play Day. You can choose one, two, or all four--depending on how much time you want to commit to the projects. Here are the possibilities:

~Brave Teacher Affirmation Cards--I provide the materials, and you decorate the cards and choose or write the affirmations for your heart.

~Mini-Vision Boards--I provide the art trading cards, glue, scissors, and magazines. You create mini collages that inspire your heart

~Things on Rings Quote Set--I provide the perforated business cards, printing, paints, ring, and ribbons. You decorate and assemble the set in the way you want.

~Word of the Year--I provide a lovely hand drawn set of worksheets that help you choose a word to inspire and motivate you. I ask the questions and you do the journaling!

Sign up here.

Please invite your teacher friends!
You're welcome to stay for part or all of the day.
It's going to be a very casual format.
Enjoy the company of courageous educators and let your heart play!
I know this will be a feel good day of rejuvenation and strength!
This makes a great gift for you or another brave teacher you know!
Grab space for you and/or friends HERE.