Retiring Reflections

It was on Mothers Day, about three and a half months ago, that I decided it was time to retire from blogging. And while I did have a wonderful break from it, I have missed the reflection piece that journaling my thoughts and sharing them online offers. I've also missed the creative outlet I get from the writing process. So, I've decided to come out of my self-imposed retirement {or maybe it was just a summer break} as I start my 33rd year in public education. I was invited to inspire character educators at six different venues this summer, so I am
 re-energized and ready to grow.

One of my workshop participants made this for her office
from something I said over and over again this summer.

Thank you, Toni, for bringing my reflection to life.

My first share? A growth-mindset song I wrote this morning:

Now I just need to get really good at it on my ukulele!
What would you say if you were to write verse two?

We were blessed to hear Liz Murray last week; 
here's what she said that stuck.

I know, right? Let that power-bite sink in for a bit.

I actually got kind of carried away tweeting her thoughts as she shared:

She added that, "People will grow into the conversation you create around them." So today I'm thinking about how her words of wisdom will change me, 
help make me better at what I do. 

For now, I'm gearing up to cartwheel on in to the new school year tomorrow. Thank you, Jennifer Runde, for capturing passion in this photo.

If you can't stop the feeling, you must experience {this}, 
courtesy of our FISD Leadership Team.

And if you're looking to make a charitable donation,
please consider helping Mrs. Quigley get Wobble Seats
for her superheroes from Donors Choose {here}.

Happy new year; it feels good to be back at the Corner. 


Reflections On Expiration Dates

To everything, there is a season ... 

these freshly-cut flowers were planted and grown
for this beautiful Mother's Day bouquet
but, after they've served their purpose,
to celebrate our Mom and let her know that she is loved,
they will start to 
dry up, 
turn brown, 
and fade away.
That's how life works; 
everything has an expiration date.

So today, as I think about expiration dates,
it's time to thank you, dear readers, for
sticking with me at The Corner on Character
for the five years that I've spent 
and growing with you through my reflections.
Today's post is #1318.
Nothing really special about that number, 
except that evidently I've had a lot to say
and a lot of resources to share.
Some of the links have expired already;
please accept my apologies for those.

I started this journey five years ago, as our daughter was graduating from HS and leaving the nest for her five-year Architecture program, so it seems to fit that I'd feel the pull to retire from blogging just as she graduates from UT.

Doors open ... 
and then they close.
Expiration dates make room for born-on dates
because endings spark new beginnings.

So today, I'm grateful, 
that you have come along with me
during this season of online reflection.
Thank you for your kind comments over the years.
Thank you for your affirmations during the happy 
and support during the sad.
Thank you for connecting and sharing life with me.

It has been so much fun to create content that I thought
readers like you might enjoy, and I'm going to miss thinking,
I can blog about this!
But right now feels like a good time to move on,
like my blogging expiration date has arrived,
so I'm signing off.
With no regrets.

I invite you to go back through those
thirteen hundred and eighteen posts now and again
for some inspiration or motivation.
Who knows? You just may hear or feel something again
{or for the first time} just when you need it the most.

I still plan to update my Books That Teach list
as I come across new titles that you simply must check out.

I'll also keep up my book's FB page and my Pinterest pagesso feel free to check in with me there. I always love hearing what you're up to.

If you want to meet up in real life,
come to one of my workshops or keynotes,
or schedule a school visit in Texas at Bales Intermediate.
If you're interested in hosting a character training,
shoot me an email or give me a call.
I'm super excited about an upcoming Montana trip to connect with a certain counselor
who wrote my blog's all-time most popular guest post: Empathy in a (Shoe) Box.

To everything, there is a season;
may you be blessed as you bless.


PPBF: But It's Not My Fault

Happy PPBF. Today, a responsibility gold mine.

Title: But It's Not My Fault
Author: Julia Cook
Illustrator: Anita DuFalla
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Date: March 23, 2015
Suitable for: ages 5-8
Themes: responsibility, ownership, choices
Realistic Fiction
Brief synopsis: Noodle gets in trouble for stuff that he's sure is not his fault. Will he learn the difference between fault and responsibility?
Opening page: 
My name is Norman David Edwards ... but everybody calls me Noodle.   

Check out the book's page {here}.
Read an author interview about the book {here}.
Download this freebie activity from Jennifer Tracy at TpT.
Here's a bookmark template to reinforce the lesson. 
Watch the book's trailer:

Why I like this book: Julia Cook books are so real because, as a former teacher and school counselor and a current mom and grandmother, she's been in our shoes. They deal with real-world issues, which she tackles head on with authenticity, transparency, and grace. In this treasure, Julia spotlights responsibility, choices and consequences; Noodle's story helps teach a life skill that every child can benefit from experiencing, reflecting upon, reviewing and practicing over and over again.

Try one or both of these little ditties:

Before trying this one, talk about stakeholders, the people who have a stake in our decisions, who care about, are involved in or will be affected by our choices. Let students brainstorm a list of all of their stakeholders and talk about why these people really make their every decision even more important.

How might you use this text to make a school-to-home connection? The Assistant Principal over at Robinson Elementary actually sends it home following office referrals so that families can work together to help their children be accountable and take responsibility for their choices.

For this and other PPBF titles today, visit Susanna's blog next.


Increase The Dose

It's Mental Health Month and my guest post over at Free Spirit Press focuses on a mind, body, spirit three-pronged approach to mental health and wellness. 

Click the graphic to go read the post.
What are your go-to strategies to maximize your mental health?

One huge thing for me after the trauma of that head-on collision was finding things to be thankful for, blessings in the burden. Did you know that gratitude can tack on up to seven years of life? Gratitude creates such a win-win because it blesses the giver and the recipient

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week 2016, so I set out to thank our school staff by putting these little sticky-note pads together for them today.

It made my heart happy to spread a little sunshine.

Yesterday I was blessed by the invitation to give a one-hour keynote about grace at the women's renewal retreat at our church. Committee members made one of these for each of us. Don't you love this? Grace. 

To close today, a few reflections to ponder from my research and presentation.

For more from Craig Denison, visit First15.org 

Photo credit: Amy Homa
Photo credit: Jennifer Runde
So I ask you the same question I posed to retreat participants:
How will you increase the dose this week?


The Un-Prescription For Autism: A Review

Today I'm excited because I finished this book while it is still

I've always had a heart for children with Autism and this comprehensive newcomer, written by Dr. Janet Lintala, the mom of a child with autism, kept me engaged through each and every page in each and every chapter. As far as I could tell, there isn't a pebble that Dr. Lintala left unturned as she walks her readers through everything imaginable to, first and foremost, help ease the physical pains from which children on the spectrum suffer. Dr. Lintala's masterpiece spells out how behavioral and academic issues become easier to navigate once a child's physical issues and concerns are under control.

The book's format is super reader-friendly to get through and use. Dr. Lintala generously shares what has and hasn't worked for her child while she gives suggestions and options for managing the daily ins and outs of helping children with an autism diagnosis. I especially love the "Why I ask?" boxes in Chapter one. 
Getting to the why always matters.

There are so many things that I appreciated about this text, but one of the things that stands out is how honest and authentic, at times even blunt, this mom/author/doctor/advocate is. So be warned; you will be reading about BMs and urine and GI function. But the end more than justifies the means as you make your way through this thorough "Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child." Oh, and there's even a chapter for adults on the spectrum.

Here are some related links that might interest you:

If you or a loved one is living with autism, check out this book!

From the Publisher:

The Un-Prescription for Autism
A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child

By Janet Lintala with Martha W. Murphy
Published by AMACOM
Paperback: 304 pages
April 1, 2016


Each year, more than 50,000 U.S. families receive an autism diagnosis. On top of turmoil and worry, they share the same urgent question: What can we do to help our child?

The answers parents find can be contradictory . . . even dangerous. The conventional approach (employed by too many pediatricians) is to medicate difficult behaviors into submission -- suppressing symptoms while leaving underlying health challenges untouched. Surfing the Internet for alternatives just leads to confusion.

Now, Dr. Janet Lintala, founder of the Autism Health center and an autism mom herself, shares the natural protocols used in her practice to dramatically improve the function and well-being of children on the spectrum. Drawing on the latest research developments, as well as personal and clinical experience, she targets the underlying issues (chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, gastrointestinal dysfunction, immune dysregulation) associated with the behavior, bowel, and sleep problems so common to autism.

Correcting these overlooked conditions with digestive enzymes, probiotics, antifungals, and other nonpsychiatric treatments brings transformative results: less pain, less aggression, and a child who is more receptive to behavioral and educational interventions.

While the medical profession is slow to change, autistic kids need help immediately. The Un-Prescription for Autism provides clear explanations, detailed protocols, and examples to help parents act quickly to restore their child's health, self-control, and language -- paving the way for reaching their full potential.

Author Bio: Janet Lintala, author of The Un-Prescription for Autism, founded and heads Autism Health!, which serves children and adults in 12 states. Her advice integrates the clinical expertise of a nonprescription autism practice with the firsthand experience only an autism parent can deliver.

Martha W. Murphy is an award-winning health writer.
For more information please visit http://janetlintala.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

". . . [T]he extraordinary outcomes Dr. Lintala has helped hundreds of patients and their families achieve over the past 10 years is why I am delighted to see her accessible and affordable health support strategies gathered into a book. . . . By reading this book, you can benefit from the lessons learned the hard way by a dedicated autism mom and savvy clinician. . . . Above all, what you'll find here are valuable clinical insights packaged into doable action plans to help your child." 

-- From the foreword by Elizabeth Mumper, MD, FAAP; President & CEO, Rimland Center for Integrative Medicine; Former Medical Director, Autism Research Institute
"Amidst a sea of confusing opinions, techniques and advice, this book provides a rare combination of science-based research and practical strategies for parents and professionals. . . . [Dr. Janet] possesses a deep understanding of autism that enables her to cut through the misconceptions and deliver common sense, effective strategies for moving these children toward optimal cognitive, behavioral and physical health. . . . I have witnessed transformations in children with autism that professionals and parents alike thought impossible. Following the clear, concise approaches outlined in this book gives children the best shot at obtaining their maximum potential." 

-- Maureen H. McDonnell, BS, RN, Health Editor, WNC Woman Magazine; Former Medical Coordinator, The Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer; President, Health Education Services, Wellness Workshops, Inc.; Cofounder, Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet


A Berry Different Perspective

It's that time again, dewberry season.
I used to think that staying home to whip up a homemade pie crust and wait for the call that they boys had found the motherlode and were headed home was the ultimate labor of love
For 25 years, that's what I thought. 
Until today.
Today, I decided to go along with John and Joshua,
to pick dewberries.
I had no idea that the actual picking might trump 
the pie-making process in the labor of love category!

I didn't put two and two together when John gently suggested that I find some old jeans to wear instead of the shorts I had on.
I didn't think much of it when he put on his rubber boots.
I didn't click when he put the walking sticks in the back of the van.

Empathy is funny that way;
you don't always know what to expect
until you walk in someone else's boots for a bit.

When we got to the field, it all started to make sense.
The stick, he told me, was to keep away critters ...

{Wait, what?}

but I also found it very useful to move the bramble out of my way so that I could get to those treasures without getting hurt because sometimes they hide deep inside the thorny vines that they call home and it's super tricky to get to them.

I couldn't help but think how this kind of parallels life.
It can be tough to stay the course and get to the treasure.
But it's usually worth it.

And sometimes we think we have it harder than other people do.
But comparison is the thief of joy, so we're wise
to celebrate what is and not worry about what isn't.
Better yet, if we really want to know first-hand what the other person's experience is like, go berry picking with them and see the other side.

After an hour and a half, 
the three of us came home with this ... 

so that we could enjoy this treat this afternoon.

So today I'm grateful 
to have a berry different perspective
that will make my tasty piece of pie even more delicious.

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