Vulnerability: What's Trust Got To Do With It?

Today I'm excited because Free Spirit has released its top blog posts for 2017 and two of mine are on this list; I'm so grateful to be a guest author for them.

I've been fighting a chest cold, which has given me a lot of time for reflection. During my couch coma and more Hallmark movies than I ever thought possible, one thing I kept thinking about is trust.

Maybe it's because my one little word for 2018 is vulnerable.
It makes me a little nervous, to dig deeper into the concept
behind that word and its connection to the word trust.

Trusting can be unnerving.
And yet we're called to trust all the time. 
The other day, for example, when I needed my bangs trimmed.
My regular stylist is on recovery from knee surgery,
so I phoned my former stylist,
who scheduled me with her new coworker.
I sat there in her chair so vulnerable
as she took her scissors to my hair.
There was nothing else I could do, but trust.
She seemed to understand what I wanted
but I was a nervous wreck,
holding my breath as locks of hair fell from my forehead.
It can be so hard to trust.
And that's just a small thing, like bangs.
What about when the stakes are bigger,
like in a relationship.
At home.
At work.
With students, neighbors, friends.
With strangers, even.
It begs the question:
Does trust always have to be earned
or is it possible to take a leap of faith
and just trust?

Dr. Brené Brown says this about trust and vulnerability:

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time
 and requires work, attention and full engagement.

It takes work.
It needs attention.
And it requires full engagement.
It's so important.
And really worthwhile.
I'm told there's a certain strength in vulnerability.

So here we go, head first into 2018.
I'm ready and eager to learn more about being vulnerable.
I can't wait to see what happens to my willingness to trust.

What's your one word for the upcoming year?


Cut Out For Great Things

Tonight I'm excited because tomorrow I'm putting these festive
cookie cutters on the tables at our holiday staff meeting
as table decor that teachers can take home with them.
They were super fun to make, in part because my husband helped me. 
We found the cutters on sale at Michael's and just added the tag. 

I gave one to my friend Melissa today,
and she asked if I found this idea on Pinterest.
It was kind of cool to say that I thought it up all by myself.

Then today, I decided to bring this beautiful image to life
onto a life-sized wall display outside of our learning space.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out,
especially when one of my fourth-grade boys asked
if I meant for the colored papers to be like the ornaments.

As we count down the days to our holiday break,
we're working with intention to make our days count.
To show caring to one another.
To be joy-makers.
To remember the less fortunate by donating gifts for the Blue Santa drive and by bringing in quarters so that our Student Council leaders can buy fleece for blankets that'll warm up our friends who are homeless.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Gruener at Gilmore Elementary
On Friday afternoon, I got to help Kate Campbell, a junior at FHS, distribute these donations from her Books And Blessings campaign. Because of her generosity and love, every student who was displaced in Harvey's floodwaters four months ago got to shop for seven new-to-them books to help rebuild their personal libraries. Such a blessing to see the joy in their eyes as they got to choose their new treasures. My favorite was the fourth-grade girl who chose a book for everyone in her family. 

Sharing is caring after all.

In this afternoon's mail, I got a beautiful Christmas card
from a Twitter friend up in Canada,
with a $5 bill asking me to pay it forward.
I think I'll use it to buy the baking supplies we'll need to make 
a second batch of cut-out sour cream sugar cookies . . .

and take them to a family whose kitchen was destroyed 
by the hurricane and isn't put back together just yet.
Thank you, Roman, for being an example for kindness;
you make our world better!

And in case you haven't heard Sheryl Crowe's tribute 
to Sandy Hook yet, click {here} to listen to The Dreaming Kind.

Yep, we are definitely cut out to do great things.

What do you have planned to spread joy tomorrow?


The Magically Refreshing Present

It was the best thing, to wake up on Friday morning
to this magically refreshing blanket of snow.
In south Texas. Weird, right?
That's what made it so incredible.

Just before bed, Joshua had sent this picture of the bikes outside of his dorm along with the news that it was snowing in College Station. In fact, they had several inches already and it was still falling.

Shortly after Joshua texted, Jacob called.
Giddy with delight, like a little kid in a big candy store, 
he was headed home to build a snowman.
It made this mama's heart so happy
to experience the college boys' child-like excitement
over something as simple as snow.

I fell asleep wishing we would get some snow too, but knowing full well that it wasn't likely since we only had a 20% of the white stuff falling this far south. 
But when my alarm went off, I went out back to find this:

Each snowflake unique,

clinging to each other, 

hanging on for dear life,

 and blanketing every branch so beautifully.

The wet, white wonder 

covering every blade of grass,

turning the drab into dreamy

and the ho-hum into heavenly.

Yep, 2017 has been kind of crazy for HoUSton!

The kids came in to school all bundled up, uplifted by the
and joy
of nature's surprise holiday gift,
the magically refreshing present.

What an incredible feeling, the beauty of that miraculous moment,
proof positive that the best things in life aren't things at all.

In other news, The Corner on Character was chosen 
a Top 60 School Counselor Blog last week. 

Click {here} to read all about the distinction, to follow these amazing school counselors, and to add some new resources to your arsenal. 
I'm so grateful to be aligned with these passionate professionals.


When Life Gets Dicey

Today I'm excited because yesterday I saw the most beautiful light in this child's eyes. Meet Bella, one of my fifth-grade girls. I can't remember if I shared her story yet or not, but we snapped this picture in our Clothing Exchange, shortly after Hurricane Harvey took everything but her clothes away. She wanted to donate these beautiful items, some that still had price tags on them, because the flood made her realize that she didn't need so much stuff. She said she knew that there would be someone who did lose their clothes and needs it more than she did. 
And she was right.

Just to give you a frame of reference, this is Bella's house during

Please don't misunderstand; Bella smiles every day. In fact, she's one of the sweetest children I know. In kindergarten and first, she used to draw me these beautiful pictures and write me these heartwarming love notes. It was clear early on that Bella has a heart bigger than the flood that would one day destroy her living quarters. {I'm pretty sure she gets it from her mom!}

So why was Bella's smile extra big yesterday?
Because today is move-in day, to their new house.
She was simply giddy with joy as she told me the good news and added that the move would be pretty easy, too, since all they have to move is their clothes.

Can you imagine?

Life has been really dicey for Bella and her family and their neighbors. But she has managed to find a silver lining along with a way to hang on to her joy and to 
be the rainbow in someone else's storm.

Bella, your school counselor is so proud of you
and grateful for the impact your kindness footprint is making.
We're so happy that you'll be home for the holidays!

Speaking of dicey, have you heard the great news?
Our friends Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor
have published the Dice Edition of Great Group Games 
just in time for your holiday gift-giving.

Click the image to purchase it on Amazon.
I've already read through it and earmarked the games
that I want to try with my superheroes:

My favorite part has to be that all of the games include a Going Deeper section to help sustain the activities and make them more meaningful.

 And since we all know that play heals,
this will be a great resource to keep next to that
favorite pair of dice for when life gets dicey
and you need a play break.

Click image to download and share with family and friends.

Who's ready to roll? 

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