Our Mindfulness Button Bin

Today I'm excited because the Green Bay Packers are playing and we actually get to see it on television down here. Somehow it just feels so good to watch the green and gold battle it out on the football field. This week has been a good but difficult one; laying on the couch to root for my childhood team comforts like home.

Did your learners start school this past Tuesday?

We actually celebrated a happy re-new year on Wednesday when our superheroes returned from our Harvey detour for a second start. And while we are officially back in business, we're going to go easy on assigning homework so our families whose homes flooded don't feel hammered again trying to get homework done. My cousin said that in her district that was also flooded, there will be no homework this entire year per district leadership. I think it's awesome that they're putting emotional recovery needs first. 

As academic pressures do mount this year, consider these strategies 
for helping in my guest post at Free Spirit earlier this week. 

The most intriguing idea I found is the backward breathing.
Have you ever tried to intentionally exhale first?
It's kind of cool, in a challenging sort of way.
At the very least, it takes my mind off of my hard emotions
and helps me to be in the moment, mindfully aware.
It's one of my goals this year, to increase mindfulness in my personal life
 and in my professional practice. Inhale calm, exhale chaos.

Click the above image to check out my mindfulness Pinterest page.

Enter our Button Bin; its backstory is kind of an interesting one.

Last Saturday, we left town en route to see our sons, help Jacob finish moving into his grad-school house, and take them to dinner. On our way to eat, we decided to swing through downtown Bryan and do a little antiquing. Just inside the door of our first stop, a bowl of buttons caught my eye. At a cost of ten cents a button, buying them wasn't on my radar, but once I put my hands into these little treasures and started to manipulate them a little, I found myself feeling oddly calmer and I was sold. When I told the owner my plan to use them for mindfulness with my students who are recovering from the flood, she said I could have them for five cents a piece. So the boys helped me select two hundred of our favorites, then when we got home I added all of the buttons I could find around the house.

So what makes the Button Bin a mindfulness tool 
that feeds the senses to keep us in the here and now?
Here's what I envision:

Sound: The clanking as you run your fingers through the buttons, picking them up and putting them down, makes a musical sound.
 Sight: The cacophony of shapes, colors and sizes appeal to the eye. 
Scent: By spraying an essential oil on them, you can scent them with lavender, ginger, tea tree, or eucalyptus. Or let them smell nostalgic, like Grandma's house.
Touch: The buttons feel big, small, rough, smooth, thick, thin, cold, warm.

I can also see using the buttons to talk about diversity {Every button is different, every one equally as important.} and empathy {Who do you think wore this button? What do you think their life was like? How was it easy? How was it hard?}.
How might you use a Button Bin?

Speaking of empathy, check out my book review and read-aloud of
You, Me and Empathy at Ripple Kindness {here}. Comment below if you'd like to review your favorite book for them.

And finally, I'm so energized by all of the ways that people are working to help with Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts. Today I've made a huge batch of Chili Soup to feed three displaced families tomorrow after school through our community Meal Train. My son Jacob made this Bottle Cap Artwork and our friend Rachel added the word strong so we could auction it off on Facebook with 100% of the highest bid donated to help the 86 teachers in our district whose homes flooded. It was a fun delivery to make today.

And my friend, third-grader Jet Stream Jax, is still collecting donations {here} to help his neighbors and friends
and rebuild.
Grab your tissues and some tea and prepare to be inspired
by and fall in love with this mini-meteorologist
whose heart is bigger than that storm ever dreamed of being.

If anyone has a connection to Ellen or Oprah,
Jaxson is the kind of kid they want to meet,
so please share this video with them
to help him meet his giving goal.

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!