Kindness Rocks

Happy new year. Today I'm still energized from yesterday's afternoon with the school counselors in Spring Branch ISD. What a satisfying time I had with them, leading a self-care learning session. One of the counselors gave me this affirming feedback: You are the kind of presenter I love, the kind that makes us feel. 
It made my heart super happy.

On another note, many of you know that Hurricane Harvey put a damper on a lot of activities last semester, including our annual Pinwheels for Peace project, which we had to cancel, so this week I've been partnering with our Art teacher as our learners painted their Kindness Rocks for our alternative idea, a Peace Garden. What a blast it has been, to watch this new teacher in action working with and coaching our students.

One of the things I really appreciated after our first class with fourth graders was when Ms. Giamfortone asked the students this reflection question: What's something that you noticed about someone else's rock? What a beautiful way to elevate empathy as students work alongside one another to paint a positive peaceful message on their rocks. 

At the end of the month, our families will gather to paint a rock.
We are so grateful to Grace Church School in New York for their generous donation to help us build our healing Peace Garden!

Click the image to go to the Kids For Peace website. 
Then today after school, I grabbed the character cam and caught our Student Council in this kind act, tying blankets to warm up our friends in Houston who are struggling with homelessness. 

StuCo leaders invited our students to each bring in 25 cents ... 

and ended up collecting $200 in quarters to purchase the fleece.

Our donation of 50 blankets will undoubtedly warm a lot of hearts.
I know that watching these kindness ambassadors certainly warmed mine.

On the personal front, I put my #oneword2018 {vulnerability} to the test when we took our family skiing last week.

The reason we went was to celebrate the boys having both graduated this past year. They wanted an experience instead of a party, so we planned this trip to give downhill skiing a try. 

The snow that started to fall on the afternoon of our last day on the slopes was a huge scoop of ice cream on our celebratory cake.

If you've ever gone skiing, then you know that it's not as easy as it looks. You have to go into it knowing you're going to fall down. Maybe a lot. It's a good idea to take a lesson and then it's another good idea to go slow to go fast. It's a lot like life, really, and it made me feel really vulnerable. But we persevered and made it off of the bunny slopes onto the green slope aptly called Rookie.

It was an amazing adventure and everyone at Monarch Mountain was so courteous, patient and helpful.

We also carved out time to visit St. Elmo,

highly regarded as Colorado's most enchanting ghost town.

Look closely and you might just be able to see a face 
in that upper lefthand window. 
So haunting.
So quiet now.
Enjoy this mindful moment and see.

I can't help but wonder what kind of character lessons
the teachers (and life) taught in this abandoned school house.

I hope that 2018 brings fresh, new, one-of-a-kind adventures.

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