Sanity Savers

I follow a lot of blogs, more than I have time to read. That’s okay though because when I do sit down to read them, they inspire me and surround me with positive vibes. I would estimate that 90% are related to the world of education and many of them are fellow slicers just like you.

Just recently I did, however, stumble upon a blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy and while she’s not an educator, she is a book lover and I find parts of her blog inspirational. At the end of January she encouraged her readers to think about what is saving your life right now. Often times it is so, so easy to articulate what is killing us right now when someone inquires how we are. But what if we stopped; we stopped right now and thought about what is giving us life? What is saving us right now?

The problem is that many times the things that are saving our life right now are the small things, the simple things, the silly things. In fact, they may feel so silly because they seem so small. It doesn’t matter, acknowledge them anyway. Get your journal out and write them down. If we don’t take the time to write them down, undoubtably our mind drifts. It drifts to worry, hurry, anger, or feelings of being overwhelmed.

So, I broke out my journal and over the course of a week I looked for what is giving me life. And while I won’t share all of them right here, I will share (in no particular order) several of my sanity savers – no matter how small or silly they may seem to you or to me.

  • watching the fur kids frolic in the morning
  • hearing the wind chime outside in the early morning breeze
  • the magic of tidying up my house
  • my IG account and feed
  • watching The Heart of a Champion early Sunday mornings
  • Matt making dinner effortlessly again and again
  • journals and reflection time
  • silly Snapchatting with Maddie, family, and friends
  • enjoying a Wendy’s chocolate frosty
  • watching This Is Us on Tuesday evenings
  • cozy Cabin socks on a chilly day
  • Papermate Flair felt tip markers
  • workout buddies
  • perennials starting to bloom
  • scented candles and essential oils
  • feeling the warmth of the sun shining through the foyer window

There you have it. My sanity savers.  Just a sprinkling of the magic that is saving my life right now. Truthfully, though, the real magic is in noticing of these small, simple, or silly gifts day in and day out. For the more I notice them, the more I realize all that is good, right here, right now.

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Microblogging…I’m giving it a try!

I enjoy blogging.

Sometimes.

What I do enjoy is having blogged. Reminiscing through my old posts and reliving them, well, it makes is worth it.

What I don’t enjoy is how my need for creating the perfect post stands in the way. It’s time consuming. It seems to take me a long time to write for my blog. I never just “wing it.” I find myself going back and making a change here and making a change there. It finally gets to the point where I just regrettably hit publish or I decide to forget it and not even post. Usually it’s the latter.

Sigh!

Enter microblogging. I’m not sure where I heard this term or if I even made it up, but it has been working for me. My interpretation of microblogging is basically capturing a moment and writing a minimal amount about that moment in the moment.

The platform I’ve been using for microblogging is Instagram. Just recently I changed the name on my IG account and I have been working on creating what is meaningful content to me. I’ve also been working my writer’s voice and trying to make my IG page unique. Again, not winging it, but keeping it simple.

I love capturing quotes so I have been taking the time to microblog them. The app I’ve been using is a no frills app called InstaMessage. And in terms of photography, well, while my photography skills aren’t the best, they’re not the worst either. I  enjoy highlighting the aspects of my family life and running life with photos. In fact, you’ll find me microblogging about similar content that I blog about right here. Sometimes my microblog post will serve as a springboard for a post here.

I’ve even started a second IG account that is solely devoted to my fur kids. It’s kind of like being a part of a secret cult. Us rabbit lovers unite and go ga-ga over each other’s fur kids. What’s even more ridiculous is that the IG account for my fur kids has only been up for a little more than a week and it has just about as many followers as my personal account that has been up for awhile. I guess my fur kids are more popular than me!

Sigh again!

Regardless, I’m going to keep capturing those moments here and capturing them there. Yes, writing is hard work, for me. But, I’ll keep pushing that pen and clicking those keys because the rewards outweigh the effort. I’ll wrap this up with this quote from George R. R. Martin that echoes in my ears:

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a little talk, a little tea, and some biscotti, please!

Welcome!

Sit down,

join me for some tea.

A little biscotti and some talk is all we need!

If we were talking over tea this morning I would share…

that I am training for a half marathon. This is will be my  10th half marathon (throw some confetti here) and I’ll be running it in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh (and do a happy dance here). I’m not new to the city of Pittsburgh because I ran a marathon there two years ago and I ran the half marathon there last year. I’m in week #3 of my training so my training plan is still very manageable. My long run this week is a six mile run and my total milage for this week is 16 miles. So far, I feel good about my training plan and I’m looking forward to the race in May.

If we were talking over tea this morning I would share…

that I have read six books from my #MustReadin2017 list. I’m currently reading Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Ho. It’s a great compilation of stories and it even has one written by my new all-time favorite author, Kwame Alexander. Yes, I’m obsessed with his books. I absolutely loved his newest release, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. I loved everything about that book – the quotes, the format, the illustrations, the text, and the fact that orange inside feels and looks like a basketball. (Only book nerds would understand this!) I also finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Her book is shocking, spectacular, and thought-provoking. Yes, I sing Picoult’s praises too. Oh, and then there is Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. Have you read it? Well, if you haven’t, you should. I would love to talk to you about that character Betty. There will be no spoilers here so just read Wolf Hollow, okay!?

If we were talking over tea this morning I would share…

that I am anxious for April to arrive. Maddie will be home and she will be turning the big two.one (21!). I don’t know how this happened, but it’s true. When she was home over Christmas she insisted that I learn how to use Snapchat. We’ve been snapping back and forth and having fun with it. Yes, she keeps me young. But most of all I’d like to share how proud I am of her. She’s in her Junior year of nursing school and texted us last week that she was accepted into Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society. She was excited and so are we!

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So that’s a wrap for this runner, reader, and rockin’ mom.

Your turn!

What would you like to talk about over some tea and, of course, biscotti?

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Warm-hearted Wednesday

Just looking around my classroom my heart is filled. Filled with warmness. It’s decorated with art work from when my daughter attended school here. That seems so long ago now. But her artwork is here. Still here. I love when my students ask me who drew the picture of the Cat in the Hat and who made the book mobile. My answer is simple. My daughter did. I immediately get a “wow” when I tell them she was their age when she created these masterpieces. Yes, it warms my heart.

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Then there are the love notes that my students make for me. Just for me. These are some of the surprise and delights that make my day. Sometimes they show up where I least expect them and other times they are hand delivered by a student wearing a big smile on their face. I keep them posted on my “warm fuzzy” board and when I need a pick me up, I read them. They instantly bring a smile to my face, warm my heart, and remind me of the innocence of a child.

Who doesn’t love thank you notes written by your own personal fan club? These were secretly passed under my door after World Read Aloud Day in February. Yes, I’m a sucker for the artwork. But the messages! Well, they are priceless. They too stay out for those days when I doubt myself, wondering if I am doing enough to instill the love of reading in these young readers of mine. Quickly reminiscing through them reminds me that I’ve made a difference and it warms my heart.

And, last but not least is the section of my “warm-fuzzy” board that has the thank you notes from my friends and colleagues. To me, a hand-written thank you says a million words, for I know that something I did warmed someone else’s heart.

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My Wednesday wish for you is that you take a moment to look around and notice what warms your heart or perhaps you take the time to warm the heart of another.

Happy Warm-hearted Wednesday!

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Writing Territories: 34 Ideas to Push the Pen and Keep the Keys Clicking

Several fellow slicers have been kind enough to share writing prompts and/or topic ideas for the upcoming Slice of Life Story Challenge. Some of the ones I stumbled across can be found here at Sweet Writing Life and here at Just for a Month. Thank you for sharing, ladies!

I  would like to share some writing territories that I created for myself to help me keep pushing the pen and clicking away at the keyboard. I’ve broken them down into days of the week and sprinkled in some alliteration just for fun! So, here we go!

Monday

  • Marvelous Monday: What made your Monday marvelous today?
  • Make a Change Monday: Time for reflection here. What changes would you like to make to enhance your life? Or perhaps enhance the lives of others?
  • Mindset Monday: What can you say instead of “This is too hard?” How can you change your mindset? How have you changed your mindset?
  • Motivation Monday: What motivates you, who motivates you? How do you motivate others?

Tuesday

  • Tome Tuesday: Calling all book lovers! What’s on your reading radar? Please share what you are reading, what you have read, or what you want to read.
  • Tickle Tuesday: Laughter, we all know it’s healthy for us. What has tickled your funny bone or are you that person that likes to make other people laugh?
  • Terrific Tuesday: Celebrate the goodness of your day. What made your Tuesday terrific?
  • Today I Will Tuesday: What’s one positive thing you will do to make today great?
  • Top Two Tuesday: It’s quick, it’s fun. Share the top two highlights of your day, week, month, life. You choose!
  • Teacher Tip Tuesday: Go ahead, give us a sneak peek into your classroom, into your teaching world. What do you in your daily grind that makes teaching easier for you? What would make teaching easier for others?

Wednesday

  • Warm-Hearted Wednesday: Celebrate the goodness of your life. What warms your heart? How have you warmed someone else’s heart?
  • Wi-Fi Wednesday: Calling all tech savvy individuals here. Share how powerful technology and/or the internet is for you. Is there a new app you’re using? Please share!
  • What’s Good Wednesday: Keep is simple, keep it fun. Focus on the good and sprinkle that goodness around.
  • I Wonder Wednesday: What are you wondering? What are you curious about? Model your post after Wonderopolis or just take this time to reflect.
  • Workout Wednesday: Go ahead, share your workouts. What do you do to keep your body physically strong and healthy?
  • What Works Wednesday: Go ahead, give us a sneak peek into your classroom, into your teaching world. What do you in your daily grind that makes teaching easier for you? What would make teaching easier for others?

Thursday

  • Thankful Thursday: What are you thankful for? Focus on an area of your life and share what makes your life better.
  • Three Things Thursday: Celebrate a little bit or randomness here. Don’t worry about rhyme or reason. Pick three things and share.
  • Think About It Thursday: This is for all those who have thoughts on their mind. What are you thinking about today?
  • Today I Will Thursday: What’s one positive thing you will do to make today great?

Friday

  • Fitness Friday: Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. What do you do to stay mentally fit and work that brain muscle? Or, what do you do to stay physically fit? Maybe you focus on both. Please share!
  • Fresh Air Friday: Calling all nature lovers or those who just like to get outside. What did you do outside today?
  • Five Words Friday: Five words, just five words. Sprinkle them on the page. Perhaps leave us wondering how they connect, what they mean to you. It’s been said,  less is more!
  • Furry Friends Friday: There’s not doubt about it, animals enhance our lives and bring us joy. Celebrate your furry friends and maybe share a funny story or two about them.
  • Fam Friday: Focus on your family today. You chose what you want to share about how important family is to you.
  • Foodie Friday: This is for those who love to create in the kitchen! Food planning: love it, loathe it, or wing it? A trend right now is to have your meals delivered to your doorstep. How’s that working for you? Or, perhaps you’re a restaurant connoisseur. Share some of your favorites.
  • Friendship Friday: Who are the friends that are important in your life? Celebrate your friendship and honor your friend on Friendship Friday.

Saturday & Sunday

  • Let It Be Saturday/Sunday: You made it through the week. What will you do to celebrate the day?
  • Satur-Yay / Sun-Yay: YAY! It’s the weekend! What fun plans do you have to kick back and enjoy?
  • Six Words Saturday: Six words, just six words. Sprinkle them on the page. Perhaps leave us wondering how they connect, what they mean to you. It’s been said,  less is more!
  • Seven Words Sunday: Seven words, just seven words. Sprinkle them on the page. Perhaps leave us wondering how they connect, what they mean to you. It’s been said, less is more!
  • Saturday Six Minute Share: Set the timer for six minutes and write! You only have six minutes. Share what you wrote in those six minutes.
  • Sunday Seven Minute Share: Set the timer for seven minutes and write! You only have seven minutes. Share what you wrote in those seven minutes.
  • If It’s Saturday/Sunday…: What will you do today to enjoy your weekend?
  • Saturday/Sunday Celebrations: What did you do today to celebrate the goodness of life?

 

There you go!

Happy writing!

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Little Win

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s the morning drive to work,
on the horizon,
a field of grazing cows.
The beauty of the old barn,
but the goats, the goats!
Peering through the barn door,
frolicking in the farm yard,
chasing each other with their tiny gallops,
ears bouncing,
up, up, up,
down, down down!
A smile on my face,
happiness in my heart!
~Little win~
It’s the echo empty house,
silence broken
by the chime of a text message.
Happy birthday, Mom!
We share, we laugh
She reminds me,
“I’ll be home soon!”
We’ll shop,
go out to eat,
we’ll just hang out.
A smile on my face,
happiness in my heart!
~Little win~
It’s the kind words of a colleague,
thank you,
thank you for all you do.
Thank you,
thank for supporting us and our students,
thank you!
A smile on my face,
happiness in my heart!
~Little win~
It’s the rushing around,
errands here,
errands there.
Standing in a longer than necessary line,
hands full of “stuff”,
the kind words of a stranger,
“You go ahead,
you go first,” she says.
“Thank you!”
A smile on my face,
happiness in my heart!”
~Little win~
It’s the smile on their faces,
as they enter our classroom.
Talking,
sharing,
laughing.
But the delight they bring,
“You make me excited about books,
like never before!”
That’s what they said!
Mission accomplished!
A smile on my face,
happiness in my heart!”
~Little win~

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Coffee & Confessions

I’m glad you’re here.

Enjoy your morning, afternoon, or evening coffee

while I share my latest confessions.

Confession #1

First off, I confess I don’t even drink coffee! I love the way it smells, but the taste, not-so-much. So, I’ll be enjoying my favorite hot drink, a chai latte.

Confession #2

Remember that 11 mile run I blogged about last week?  The training run I didn’t want to complete? The one where you gave me all kinds of encouragement?  Well, you would think all that encouragement would be enough to get me through my last long training run, but it wasn’t. I confess, I skipped, passed over, disregarded my 12 mile training run this past Sunday. It’s so not like me to do so, but I did.

Confession #3

Not only did I skip my long run on Sunday, but I confess that for my dinner on Sunday I ate one two soft pretzels and enjoyed a glass of wine with my soft, doughy, salty pretzels. Such a strange combo, I know, and topple it with a whole bunch of empty calories and a few tons of carbs-not the best choice for sure. But, I confess, it tasted oh, so, delicious and I would probably do it again if we ever allow those soft pretzels to enter our house!

Confession #4

To make up for the fact that I skipped my long run on Sunday, I decided there was absolutely no way I was ditching my 4 mile run on Monday. With that being said, I was determined to run those 4 miles as.fast.as.I.could! No excuses! And that I did. I’m pretty sure they were the fastest 4 training miles I ever ran! (It must have been those pretzels!) Since I ran those 4 miles and I ran them fast, I decided I needed a little pampering afterwards. I thought it would be perfect to treat myself to a pedicure at the salon home.

Confession #5

I confess, I’m not one who enjoys decorating for the holidays anymore. It’s kinda a bummer, I know, but I just don’t get too excited about it. However, I kept driving past the local farm market and this giant pumpkin smiles at me every time inviting me to stop, so I did. I decided I would purchase a few three pumpkins and place them by our front door. Yes, three pumpkins are a bit lame, but it is what it is.

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Confession #6

I made dinner on Monday! This is a big hoopla for anyone who knows me personally because I despise cooking and the kitchen. This is partly because Matt is an excellent chef and cooks all the time and partly because I’m lazy when it comes to eating. I could pretty much care less. I didn’t do anything too wild now. Just broke out the crockpot and made Minestrone soup. It’s an Olive Garden copycat recipe and it was quite tasty! Matt even said so himself. And we have plenty of leftover soup for the rest of the week! I must confess, I’m pretty proud of myself!

Confession #7

And last but not least, I confess that this little nugget melts my heart. I could just give him kisses all.day.long. Isn’t it silly how happy a little ball of fur can make me!

I hope you enjoyed your coffee, and thanks for hearing my confessions.

What confessions do you want to share?

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i believe

~i believe life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful~i believe you should be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody~i believe you should be true, be you, be kind~i believe you should do more with less~i believe fear is what stops you~i believe courage is what keeps you going~i believe your mind believes what you tell it~i believe you should tell it positive thoughts~i believe you should make your life a story worth telling~i believe you should tell your story~i believe some days it’s difficult to be strong~i believe you can be brave and show up~i believe there are 3 c’s in life~i believe you have a choice~i believe you should take a chance~i believe you can make a change~i believe you should make a list of things that make you happy~i believe you should make a list of things you do everyday~i believe you should compare the lists~i believe you should adjust your list accordingly~i believe life is an adventure~i believe you should go live it~i believe it’s nice to be important~i believe it’s more important to be nice~i believe you should bark less~i believe you should wag more~i believe you should throw kindness around like it’s confetti~i believe when faced with fear you have two choices~i believe you can forget everything and run or i believe you can face everything and rise~i believe you shouldn’t count the days~i believe you should make the days count~i believe you should live your life to the fullest~i believe you should laugh along the way~i believe you should share some love~i believe you should repeat it again the next day!~

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a celebration list

I love to make lists. I make to-do lists, grocery lists, exercise lists, lists for projects, book lists…heck, the list goes on and on! I have an app for my lists and I keep lists in a journal. If I complete a task that’s not on my list, I sometimes put it on my list just so I can experience the thrill of checking it off my list…I know, I’m not right.

Well, this week I decided to keep a celebration list. Here are a few of the simple, yet meaningful, celebrations from that list.

Sunday’s celebrations,
sleeping in a little extra longer,
then a shopping trip with Maddie to the new At Home store,
finish the day with Matt making pork fried rice for dinner.
celebrate!
Monday’s celebrations,
seeing and feeling the warm sunshine after a rainy weekend,
running a fast 4 miles followed by a relaxing yoga class,
finally concluding the day with tacos for supper.
celebrate!
Tuesday’s celebrations,
another day of the sun basking in the crystal blue sky,
knocking out a 3 mile run,
starting a new book, The War that Saved My Life.
celebrate!
Wednesday’s celebrations,
a trip to the salon for a fresh new haircut and color,
spending time with family,
dinner out on the town celebrating our *25th wedding anniversary.*
celebrate!
Thursday’s celebrations,
embracing the warm weather that has arrived,
discussing summer reading with my students,
heading out to the gym for some strength training and stretching.
celebrate!
Friday’s celebrations,
getting ready for a three day weekend,
knowing that there is less than a week left of school,
picking up take-out for a quick and easy dinner.
celebrate!
Saturday’s celebrations,
waking up extra, extra early to leave for Lake Placid, NY,
spending seven hours in the car chit-chatting with great friends,
a visit to the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery for some pizza and brews.
celebrate!

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 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!

Let It Be Saturday!

This is the day to sleep a little extra longer,
not rely on the subtle chime of the alarm.
Snuggle under the blankets,
allow the sun to rise in the sky.
Let it be Saturday!
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This is the day to go for a run,
add a change of scenery
as my feet pound the pavement.
Get those miles in,
without worrying about rushing the run.
Let it be Saturday!
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This is the day to make my own agenda,
sprinkle in some errands,
a quick excursion to the grocery store,
maybe cruise into T.J. Maxx.
Then grab a bite for lunch.
Let it be Saturday!
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This is the day to bask in the sun,
with a book in my hands,
turning the pages,
getting lost someone else’s journey,
meeting people whom I’ll never meet.
Let it be Saturday!
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This is the day to celebrate,
time with family
a special dinner on the deck
as the sun sets
or an evening outing
to a best-loved restaurant.
Let it be Saturday!
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This is the day we all need
to unwind,
to chillax,
to just slow down.
Let it be Saturday!
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 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!
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