Tag Archives: teaching

Winding Down


I am sad to say that my summer break is almost over. This summer went by faster than any summer in my memory. It was good in many respects, but I am sad to say goodbye to the luxury of time. Recently, I went swimming and had the whole pool to myself. I floated for a long time, and then finished one of my favorite summer books in the sun. 

This summer was busier than I really wanted it to be, and I’m going to have to be cognizant of scheduling less next year. I taught and volunteered. I spent time with people I love. I got a new tattoo. I took lots of naps. I finalized two short stories and submitted them to contests. I ate good food and did a lot of dancing and yoga. I organized my bedroom and bathroom. I was able to slow down. 

I am excited to see students and staff I care about, but am sad to let go of the ease in my days. So often during the school year, I run too hard and over schedule and it leads me to exhaustion. I am hoping to be able to hold on to some of these summer practices, as I move into the coming months. 

There are things that I wanted to accomplish that didn’t happen too.  I wanted to write more and finish a novel this summer. I wanted to complete more short stories and re-organize my whole house. I wanted to find more freelance writing opportunities and make more money. It is easy to berate myself for the things I did not accomplish. Yet I’ve learned it doesn’t serve me to focus on those things. At one point, as I was complaining about not getting more writing finished, a close friend said, “You chose to work and volunteer this summer, so you didn’t have enough time to finish that. You’ll still get it done, just not before you head back to work. ” 

That should have been obvious to me, but it took someone else pointing out that certain choices, made other intentions difficult. And there wasn’t any reason to judge those choices or intentions. When I am honest, I didn’t finish the novel, but I did fix a lot of plot holes and I am in a better position to finish it now. 

I also have continued to build a yoga practice over the summer. I am coming to the mat for exercise, yes, but I also come to the mat to breathe and become more centered. The yoga challenges me and supports me mentally and physically. I still have a long way to go, but I am finding solace in the strength and flexibility I am building. I have come to crave the time spent there, to turn off my brain and slow down. Perhaps yoga is another way of bringing my slowness and intention of summer into my daily life during the busy school year. 

I often feel that my new years observation and reflection revolve around the school year beginning. I think a lot of teachers feel the same. I have been thinking in the past week of all the things I want to do during the year, but in the last couple of days, I have been rethinking building any more “shoulds” into my life. Yes, I want to write more and I am the kind of person who always is loooking for ways to learn and grow, however, this year I want to continue to cultivate a blend of presence and stillness. That means I want to write as often as possible because it’s a part of me and I feel better when I’m doing it. It means that I might also take a nap instead of writing one day because that’s what I need more. I am also going to try my best to continue to let go of my judgment as to what constitutes a good, productive day. 

My personal life is also changing and in anticipation of these changes, I am choosing to build more freedom into my life. A schedule is helpful, but sometimes I get too many things on the calendar and don’t have the freedom to just be spontaneous. I hope I can change that this year. 

Here’s to a beautiful summer that went by too fast. Here’s to a new school year and a continued commitment to whatever feels best to me in the moment. 

Take a Breath


Happy Summer! It has been hot here in Colorado, but nothing compared to some other states! I have been on summer break for a couple weeks and I wish I could slow down summer. Time off always seems to fly by! Every year I  find myself making big plans for productivity and projects as the school year is winding down, and inevitably, I neglect to schedule rest. My body had some plans of its own and I am proud of myself for listening and slowing down this year without judgement or criticism.

I don’t seem to be able to sleep in anymore, which is sad, but it has actually been nice getting up early in the day, even if I am moving at a slower pace. I have found myself being a bit lonely lately too, which makes the quiet difficult. That said, the quiet is what I have been craving. I used to ignore my self care in a reckless fashion, and now that I’m invested in my health (mental, physical, spiritual etc.) I know that when my body talks, I need to listen. 

I have made some goals for the summer, but have given myself some wiggle room for those days when the thing I need to accomplish the most is rest. I have been outlining and organizing my wip in Scrivener. I’ve been journaling. I’ve been napping. I started teaching this week and the structure of seeing kids again has been nice. It is only half days, a couple days a week, but I think I am enjoying it because I have gotten some rest and quiet. 

I also started a new tattoo about a week ago. It is healing nicely, but because of the location of the tattoo, I haven’t worked out in a week. I realized yesterday that the lack of exercise was negatively affecting my mood. Today I was planning on meeting a friend at a coffee shop. She had a conflict, so I sipped my iced Americano and worked on my book. I came home and danced and did some yoga. It felt really good to move again. To breathe in that particular way that clears my head and centers me back in my body. 

There will definitely be adventures this summer. I have already had the chance to do some really fun things with friends. I will go to the mountains and kayak and float in a hot spring. I will continue to work on this story. I will rest. I will breathe. 

Say It Aint So


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Today was my first day back to school and it was extremely difficult to get going. I will be happier  when we get kids back next week, but this week is all the boring stuff. I have tried to dial back my night owl ways lately, but it really was hard to wake up to an alarm again today. I didn’t get to relax this summer in the way I had planned and I am sad to see this break go. It is truly amazing how fast time flies.

For all intents and purposes, my last week of summer was the best. There was one terrible hiccup on Tuesday, but for the most part I was able to relax, release, connect and have fun. I had a sleepover with one of my favorite kiddos and I had some deep connecting experiences with great people in my life that I really care about.

I also participated in a flash fiction contest. I registered a couple of months ago and didn’t realize that I would need to do it in the last 48 hours before I went back to work. It was a little tricky, to say the least, but I got it done. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, yet it was good to see that I can still pull something out in a crunch.

I wrote more this summer than I have written in a long time and I am going to do my best to continue a regular writing practice as I am teaching full-time again. I am also intending to move more and spend time doing yoga and meditation as often as possible. They are grounding for me and it is good for me to fill my time with good things.

Last year was one of the most stressful I have ever had in my professional life. I don’t want another year like that. Some things have already changed to help this be the case, but I have to do my part too. It’s easy to come home and just turn into a vegetable, but I can try to establish time after school to write, exercise and mediate.

I am not setting up any rules or rituals, but loose guidelines to ease me into more productive experiences during the school year. It might not always been smooth waters like I saw at the lake last Monday, but grounding practice can make things feel more smooth. I’m willing to try.

Friday Night Blues


I made it through another week! TGIF and all that.

I wanted to go out tonight, but after I went for a walk and made some dinner…I decided that staying in might be a better idea. I’m pretty tired any way. Friday’s are weird because you want to go out and do something fun, but it was still a work day. I’m turning into a pumpkin rather early tonight.

I haven’t posted in forever! I have been busy being a new teacher and trying to get my new life together in a new home. It has been awesome, but I’m still not quite settled. And I haven’t really been writing either. I did write one flash fiction piece  last month for  a contest. I got some good feedback and I am excited to revise it and submit it somewhere else.

For now, I’m going to drink a glass of wine and go to bed. Tomorrow I am going to put some stuff away and try to get some writing done…after I sleep in, of course!


With Honor


With Honors came out when I was 14 and I remember seeing it in the theater and being very moved by it. I bought the soundtrack and I also remember carrying around a small bag of stones for all my “important memories”.  Silly right? Looking back, nothing of importance had even happened yet that would have merited being including in my life bag, but hindsight is 20/20.

I hadn’t watched the movie in a long time and it was nice to see it again as an adult. I don’t know if the lessons were more impactful, but I saw them with the lens of experience this time.

I still cried when Simon dies. I still got goose bumps when Monty read his obituary at the grave site. He may not have graduated with honors, but he learned how to live with honor.

The movie is a great lesson in character and dynamics. All of the roommates are three-dimensional and we learn just as much from the subtext of their interactions as we do from the dialogue. That is something that film can do that is difficult in books. In a movie, we can see longing and disgust. In a novel, we have to be creative about how to show those emotions in our characters.

In my own life, I always am trying to live with honor. It isn’t always easy, especially when I’m feeling slighted, but I feel I have good, honest character most of my days. I’m in a holding pattern in my own life right now, like Monty, I’m fighting for something I believe in. However it shakes down, I will keep my head up and keep living with honor.

I have been working with my voice journal and that is proving to be enlightening and inspiring. This week, I’ve also been inspired to go back to a wip that I had shelved. I think I am going to dive back into that as I continue to court the characters for this other series.



Having faith is not always easy. But I’ve been reminded recently that when I truly need assistance in my life, it always shows up at just the right time. Last week I was beside myself with worry, so much worry that I didn’t even think to ask for help. Regardless, angels have swooped in to save me again. I am very grateful for all the big and small opportunities to make some extra money that have come my way lately.

Also, I have yet to get back into my daily writing grid again, but I have been working out some of the bugs in my wip and that feels like progress even if the page is still blank. I also have been reading a lot of short stories and feel inspired to write short fiction again. I think the commitment of a novel has me a bit spooked lately and a short story might be exactly what I need to get my butt back in the chair.

Yesterday I was working on lesson plans at school with my Clinical teacher. I sat at her desk and worked on plans while she read through our students fiction stories. I had worked hard the last month on creative writing lessons and these were the students final copies. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that one of our kiddos had a fantastic lead in his story. I was curious to see what he did with the rest. I found out yesterday that he not only had a wonderful lead, but he also used specific vivid language and wrote a truly engaging story.

I was almost brought to tears as she read it a loud and I experienced the story as it unfolded with all my senses. My student had taken all the story elements that we had talked about during those lessons and created something magical. I felt like a superhero. I can’t wait to talk to him about it this coming week and congratulate him on such a thrilling story.

His victory fuels my desire to tell another story of my own.

Getting It


Today I had my first big deal observation of the semester. I was pretty nervous, but hit my stride and felt good when it was over. I ended up being observed by three people because another administrator came in as well. The students were engaged and excited to discover different fractions. I was relieved that it went well and inspired by their progress and increased confidence. Not much feels better than seeing my students “get it”.

I also did the Read Aloud lesson yesterday and today. We were discussing the idea of conflict and reading different stories as evidence of that particular conflict – man vs man, man vs self, man vs nature ect. The last two lessons we’ve been working on dealt with the idea of man vs society, which I figured would be a difficult concept. It was a little tough at first, but after reading and discussing the story, The Memory Coat, I was amazed at the connections my students were making. At the end of the lesson I asked the students to brainstorm examples of other books that would show this same conflict. It was incredible to hear the examples they came up with. This lesson was the epitome of “getting it”!

It made me proud to be a writer. I hope I write books someday that come up in “getting it” conversations at school. I love the opportunity to tell stories that children (and adults) can relate to and make connections with. I think that’s the mark of good art, whether it’s written words or musical notes or brush stokes. It is truly art if it stirs something in the audience, if it makes them feel or remember or connect.

I have to keep putting in my daily dose as a writer and maybe I’ll get my “getting it” moment someday. For now, I’m thrilled to be present in the classroom watching these young souls “get it”.

Professional Authors


Here is my first post (on this blog) in 2011. I had planned on posting yesterday, but it was my mom’s birthday and the evening got away from me. That said, from this point on I will be posting on Thursday’s and Sunday’s every week. I also said I planned to post more in the past, yet I never made any specific goals about that. That is changing in 2011. A lot in changing in 2011…

I have made a year-long commitment to change and I am documenting that journey on another blog. If you’re curious, check it out here. I will talk a little bit about writing over there, but only as it relates to my grid and the various new things I will trying out in order to remain present in my life.

I started back at Goldrick Elementary on Monday. It felt like home. I’m so comfortable there. I have an awesome Clinical Teacher again and I’m excited to be in the 4th grade. Today, the kids came back and the day was a whirlwind. As a teacher candidate, I have to introduce myself to the class with an “All About Me” poster. It was fun, even if it does feel a bit like a sales pitch. 

My Clinical Teacher is really honing in on the fact that I’m a published author. I will be working with different groups in writer’s workshop’s every week and I will be the resident writing expert in the class. The students seemed excited and that was pretty cool. I’m excited too. I’m hoping to be a good example of how fun writing can be and I hope that some of my passion with rub off. I will get lots of inspiration from them, I’m sure.

I am also committing to a daily grid. I’ve never actually done this and stuck with it. I can be so trustworthy and responsible for certain aspects of my life, but I’ve never been good as an adult in committing to myself and my talents. I want to work to change that this year. I’ll be starting small – 20 minutes daily for 21 days.

I have done a word count commitment in the past, but I never seem to stick to it for long – even if the word count was very small. I think a time period is a better plan for me because I can write more on days when it’s really flowing, yet still get some done on days where the words come with more difficulty. Where if I have a word count commitment, it might take all day to meet it or I  might fall short and get discouraged. The goal is to write every day. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Failure could happen any way – why make it easier?

Also, I’m committing to the WordPress post a week challenge. I’m planning to post at least twice a week, but getting on board with this challenge can’t hurt. I figure that posting all of this commitment stuff will help keep me in line.

I also think that having to represent professional authors in my classroom will help keep me in line too. Kids can smell a fake pretty fast, so I better walk the walk!

Attitude of Gratitude


We’re coming into Thanksgiving week and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m grateful for this year. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s almost the end of November. This year has flown by…

I’m am extremely grateful for my friends and family. For technology like Sykpe, that allows me to hear the voices of the people I love who live so far away.

I’m grateful for being able to teach every day and feel like I’m one step closer to my true purpose here on earth.

And last, but not least, I am grateful for all the wonderful writing accomplishments this year. There have been so many first’s and I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store for me and my art.

Tomorrow I have my first school visit as an author. I’m a little nervous, but I know that I will feel it and have a wonderful time tomorrow morning!