Come Work With Me

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
He had so much wisdom to share with the world;
here's the quote I'm thinking about today.

Moving forward.
Doing whatever it takes.
Thank you, Dr. King, for making a world of difference
so that one day we will no longer be unaccepting of 
or biased about our differences. 

I'm also reflecting today on this question of the week;
imagine if you'd have had the chance to work with MLK, Jr.

A few years back, I posted my reflections about five people I'd like to have a coffee chat with; click {here} for that post. 
Now I'm thinking about whom I'd like to work with for a week.
{Or whom I'd like to invite to work with me!}
Thinking about the promising possibility of this is at once
exciting and energizing,
invigorating and inspiring.
Consider one of your edu-heroes inviting you to 
Come work with me.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 
to shadow and learn with that role model
for a morning, a day, a week.
I'm bursting at the thought of that growing opportunity!
And wondering why we don't do that more often.

I know whom I would pick;
who do you wish would invite you and why?


Ready To Go, Willing To Stay

Today I'm excited because I found THIS at the resale shop for 99 cents.
What if we focused more on the blessings in our burdens?

I've had so much on my mind as I head into 
the second semester of my 33rd year.
What a blessing my career has been and continues to be.
I work in an AmAzInG school district 
with enthusiastic educators who are passionate
 about kids,
about connections, 
about character, about growth.

In the last fifteen years, I've also had a bit of a consulting business as I prepare for an encore career in professional development, character education, and motivational speaking.

Over the holiday break, in a courageous self-care moment,
I sent away for my Texas Teacher Retirement packet.
This past week, it came in the mail.
Because I think it's time. 
Or getting really close to time.
But how will I really know when it's time?

I was in tears on Monday trying to figure that out, 
when someone I met said this about it: 
You have to be ready to go, but willing to stay.

I'm not sure I'll ever truly be ready to go,
to say good-bye to my superheroes and our stakeholders.
It will undoubtedly be sad and painful because I continue to strongly connect with what I get to do every day. At the same time I'm feeling called to more and more speaking opportunities. It's something I'm passionate about, to pass the baton, to energize the next generation of character educators. And I'm finding it increasingly challenging to do both, to work full time, and to speak part time.

The cool thing is that I'm kind of in a win-win situation.
I win if I stay with the school family I love;
I win if I (and when) I take that leap of faith.

So for now, my status is blessed.
If you, dear reader, have some words of wisdom,
some insights for me, some questions I ought to consider,
I'd love to read your reflections below. Or send me an email. 
Maybe you've already retired; how did you know it was time? 


Make Time For Kindness

Today I've got kindness on my heart and mind.
I started the day at a Community Prayer breakfast,
and the speaker said that getting up a little bit earlier 
just affords us time for a little bit more time for grace.
That, and a little bit more time for kindness.

Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Today at school the Leadership Team took the morale-booster beverage buggy 
to celebrate our teachers, 
to thank them for their service, 
and to treat them to an afternoon refreshment.

And if I weren't already bubbling over with joy,
I'm tickled pink to share this kindness resource from my friend Lisa Currie at Ripple Kindness. Click the graphic for more information and to sign up.

I'm so delighted and honored to endorse this ripple revolution!

Then, if that wasn't enough of an energy boost, this outrageously creative calendar came in the mail from author Maria Dismondy in Michigan. In a CD case that makes it stand up, it features a month-by-month showcase of the core values in her books. Isn't it super adorable

 I'm so thankful to have such thoughtful friends like Maria.

And speaking of friends, have you signed up for the Great Kindness Challenge yet? My friend Jill at Kids For Peace has over 8 million students worldwide already signed up, well on their way to 10 million. Say you're joining us!

Did you see that MPM School Supplies shared my Kindness Calendar?
Need more ideas for spreading kindness like confetti?
Let's get messy.

When we make more time for kindness,
kindness makes more time for us.

Sounds like a beautiful boomerang to me.


Kindness: The Writing's On The Wall

Happy new year. How is 2017 going so far?
This morning I was all goofed up, because we had a work day Monday, which meant students didn't come back until yesterday. So I woke up thinking today was Tuesday, not Wednesday, and that meant I didn't wear a character shirt. I've been wearing a character shirt every Wednesday for the last fifteen years. 
But not today. 
I totally missed it.

So before school, when a third-grade girl told me that it felt like a Tuesday, I told her I thought so, too, and that I'd forgotten to wear my Wednesday character tee. Then she said that I could easily fix that and suggested that I make a word cloud with all of our pillar words and then tape it on to my new sweater. 
Problem solving at its finest, so innocent, thoughtful and sweet.

This week, I set aside some time to create this kindness calendar.

Click the graphic to download yours.
We've sent home countdown calendars before, 
but I've never thought to put a life-sized one up.

One fourth grader who passed by kindly pointed out 
that the daily numbers are missing, but I replied that because
kindness knows no calendar, I'd left them off on purpose.
Though I'm not certain she was totally on board with that,
she let me know that her birthday was on the 11th, so we counted ahead to find her square and talked about what kind act she could show to celebrate her big day. It was perfect, she said, because
she could send thank-you notes for her birthday presents.
Do I have the best job or what?

So we're having fun as we launch into January and gear up for the Kids For Peace Great Kindness Challenge at the end of the month. What engaging things do you have planned as you kick off second semester?


HOPE Is An Amazing Gift

 It's that time again, time to choose my one little word.
It's a tradition I've enjoyed for six years now,
one that has almost taken on a life of its own,
in which the words seem to choose me instead of vice versa.

In 2012, peace was my one word.

In 2013, gratitude took on a meaning of its own.

In 2014, I focused on seizing intentional joy.

In 2015, I needed harmony.

This past year, the word enough helped me with
sufficiency and contentment.

And now, for 2017, my focus word will be hope.

To have finally selected my #oneword completes a search that began in September, when I traveled to Montana
and made friends with a special third grader named Hope.
Then this Fall, I kept seeing stuff about hope everywhere ... 

Source: whatwillmatter.com
inspirational sayings and influential signs.

On our traditional Thanksgiving trek, I stumbled on {and purchased!} 
this insightful wall decor that sealed the deal.

It encapsulates what endears hope to me
and I'm certain there's a message that has yet to unfold.
I also love that hope is at once a verb and a noun,
that hope offers potential and promise,
and that hope implies trust.

My one word for 2017,
another year that holds so much hope,
another chance to serve,
another blank page to inspire.

365 new days to love.

So as we bid 2016 goodbye, I'm holding tight to hope; 
I can't wait to see what this amazing gift brings.

Happy 2017.


Finding Our YES

This evening as I sit in quiet reflection, I feel at once 
and sort of sad. 

We're back from our trek to my childhood home, where we spent five majestic days enjoying family togetherness. The snowfall on our first full day in the Frozen Tundra frosted everything so beautifully.

One tree prettier than the next. 

As dusk fell ... 

so did the huge flakes of dense, wet snow that we trudged through on foot 
to pick up our Friday night perch at the Corner Cafe.

We woke up to this snow-covered scene the next morning.

That evening, a clear reminder that all is well.

 Silent night. Holy night.

The next day, we layered up and treated ourselves to some Christmas Eve magic at Lambeau Field, the cherry atop our holiday fruit cake. 

Nothing says home for the holidays like a Green Bay Packers win.

Bidding adieu is never easy, but {for some reason} 
this time around it was particularly difficult.
I always joke that I'm good at checking my feelings at the door,
but this visit is indelibly etched on my heart, for sure.

The lights on our Christmas tree will soon burn for the final time and, unless the Packers make the playoffs, the outside lights will come off of the house this weekend, attic-bound. Gifts are neatly packed away, card games at the table are now just a memory, Hallmark Christmas classics have had their final run, and the stores already have Valentine's Day candy hearts for sale on their shelves. Yes, it's safe to say that Christmas 2016 has now come and gone. And you can likely see why my feelings are all jumbled up as I enjoy the reflection in the rearview mirror.

So now it's time to look forward to the new year, 
to another fresh start, another chance to find our YES.

My thoughts for inspiring our National Honor Society inductees next Sunday are percolating. What does it mean, exactly, to find our yes? Just how do we do that? And when we find it, how can we make the most of it for ourselves and for others? I plan to suggest this three-fold head, heart, hands approach: 

Y is for yearn.
     E is for embrace.
S is for share

Yearn to learn. Believe that anything is possible. Pursue your passion.
Embrace the present. Experience it. Feel it. Appreciate it. Make it yours.
Share and show gratitude in all things. Live generously. Love wholeheartedly.

Still simmering; I promise to let you know how it goes.

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