Thursday, December 27, 2018

#mustreadin2018: Reading Goals or Bust


Thank you Carrie for continuing to graciously host our reading community. 

Okay.  So it wasn't a total bust.  I had set a goal for 40 books, because I turned 40 last year.  Actually, my 10 year old suggested it.  I thought it was brilliant, since in 2017 I read 30 books.  It seemed reasonable. 

And then some life happened.  I won't bore you with the details, since we are about the books here.  But we've made some great memories and had a lot of fun.  I've learned lessons along the way.  Even my Mr. stood in the kitchen last week and declared at 6:23 AM, "December is kicking our butts!"  But we take the good, the bad, and the ugly, and just keep moving forward. 

However, as of today, I've read 16 books. 
It's okay to giggle.  I did too a bit when I saw that. 

Here they are:


I loved all my reading for different reasons.  But I won't forget hopping behind my teenager as he finished Long Way Down, because I needed someone to talk to about this book!  Everybody Always was a timely read, and part of the reason why I didn't get to 40 books-more interruptions! 

Here is to 2019!  Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

#mustreadin2018: An Update.

I'm so thankful for a reading community that encourages just that...reading!

It's been a busy year.  I've entered the sweet spot of parenting and don't want to miss a thing.  For me that means I have two boys almost 14 and almost 10. 

But yet, there is time to read.  It's part of our family's make-up.  I have blog posts set aside on how our youngest is developing his own identity as a reader. 

Now, let's get to the update. 
I have set a goal of 40 books.  I did that on a whim of my almost 10 year old telling me I should-because I turned 40. 
It's not looking great friends.  I'm at 15 books, currently reading 2.  But the year isn't over yet!


I'm currently reading:



Sunday, August 19, 2018

Run Like a Pirate: On a Vegan Lifestyle and a Few Other Things.


Wow.  It was over 4 years ago that I wrote about becoming a Food Allergy Mama.  

What's funny about this link post is how I used running to get through that time in our lives and I remember it well.  

I've always watched vegans with curiosity.  Could we really do that?  Is that part of who we could be?  I always thought no, until I did a little research.  You see nut-allergies are among the list of foods that we avoid.  I never thought I could feed Tiny Guy a plant based diet until I did some research. 

With a little research, I'm learning that we can definitely eat more plant based foods than I thought we could. I've been studying this blog like crazy.  

I also have some questions:
Anyone reading this who is vegan with a nut-allergy?  What other resources do you use?
Also, are you a vegan with no nuts and no soy?  Again, do you have any resources?

Our journey with food is far from over.  But I loved getting this little nudge in reading this book.  

Have you picked it up yet?  


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SOL: Run Like a Pirate Chapter 9: Day Three-My Husband


Have you purchased this book yet?
Do it.

After reading chapter 9, I couldn't help but think about how Mr. and I met.  

My favorite part of our meeting story, is our timing.  

As a junior in high school, I really thought I'd be headed out west to college.  A small college where my Mr. was in his Freshman year.  At this point, I have no idea he exists.  My mom and dad trekked out there with me.  The conversation with admissions went like this.  

A:  "Sometimes you have to have faith that the finances are going to work out."
My Dad:  "I have faith, but I also see the numbers.  This isn't going to work for us."  
(I didn't appreciate it then, but I Love my Dad.  And if you know him, you can hear him saying this.)

So.  Little did I know as I was making plans to attend a State U, Mr. was making plans to move back to attend the same State U.  (Remember, neither one of us knows the other one exists at this point.)

I absolutely believe in the timing of this.  

When we all landed at State U., I met him.  And I knew.  Even if it took another 12 months to get to the good stuff.  

My high school bestie, "You did not just find the guy you are going to marry."  Oh yes I did.

He just needed to date 1-2 more girls to figure it out.  
And I needed to date 1-2 more guys to figure it out.  

But the following summer, we figured it out.  
And we have been figuring it out for 21 years now.  

This picture is from the best birthday party I've been at in awhile.  

He's pensive.  But if you earn his trust and know what he's thinking!  
He's wise.  
He is a great running partner. 
He loves to read.
He's funny.  Don't blink or you might miss it.  
He loves his family in an unwavering way that let's us all take chances.  


slice of life_individual

Monday, August 13, 2018

Run Like A Pirate: Day Two


Alright Friends.  It's later in the day than when I usually write.  But we have to talk about chapter 7.  

The day before I read this chapter I was out on a run with my hubs.  

The kids were with the Grandparents.  

We had a Sunday morning to do what we wanted.  
Can you hear the angels singing?  I mean we went out for brunch that weekend!  

6 miles!  Yahoo!  I was on track to register for the half-marathon in October.  

(Need a flat, fast race?  The Des Moines Marathon/Half Marathon is that for you...just saying...)

But we only made it 4.5 miles before my foot had such a pain in it, I wasn't sure if we were even going to be able to walk home.  

It's rare/unheard of for me to cry about running, but I did that day.  Mr. didn't say much, he just held my hand and let me grumble for 2 seconds about the pain.  And walked home with me.

Monday afternoon I find myself in the doctor's office with my RunLAP book.  And I read chapter 7 before the Xray and before I knew what was really wrong.    

So, this pesky case of Plantar Fasciitis has nothing on me.  
These days, I wear sensible shoes all the time.  (If you know me, hearing that I shouldn't be barefoot all the time...well...that's just crazy.  I totally gave the doctor my teacher look.  Then went out and bought sensible shoes.)

I'm still running.  Not on my original plan.  It's flexible.  Because I'm not running as many miles, I noticed my splits were getting a Wee faster.  

I'm hiking more through our parks.  And biking more.  My oldest son got a new bike out of the deal!  

I'm doing my yoga and stretching.  For real now.  

I love this idea of running my own half, maybe in November.  And who knows?  Maybe I'll be ready by October.  But I'm at peace with being flexible about this.  

But You guys.  It was chapter 7 that allowed me to tackle this head on.  I'm not really accountable to that race, only to myself.  I can run my own half marathon when it's time.  

And who knows?  Maybe I'll win.  


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Thoughts on Run Like A Pirate-Day One


It's true.  March ended and my writing went silent.  
Well.  No it didn't.  I just went out to collect stories.  
I just wasn't putting them here.  
But after finishing this book, I realized, it was time.  

Time for the stories.  

Have you read this book?  I'll wait while you go order it... 

Are you done?  Good.  

This book?  Stirs things up.  
Don't read it if you are content being right where you are.  
It will push you.  It pushed me.  

So let's get on with the story telling, shall we?

In chapter 3 of Run Like a Pirate, Adam talks about clarity.  

Where does yours come from?

My thinking place is definitely outside.  On a trail, running or hiking or biking.  

What happens is the music is playing? (because I do have one ear bud in.  Hip hop on the trail for me!)
I can release anything that is considered a "have to" and just let my mind open up.   Ideas and thoughts that maybe seem impossible other places are only possible on the trail.  

This book also reminded me that writing clarifies things for me.  
So here I am.  

Over the next 6ish days, I'll be writing about my thoughts from this book.  
(Order it already!)

Also J, if you are reading this, I ordered Wild Card.  It's here on Monday.  :)


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Slice of Life Day Thirty One: How Did You Do That?

31 days.
I feel like my writing groove is coming back.
But how?  How do you really write everyday?
Some reflections on what I did to prepare and sustain this month.

Before March:
In February, when every other day was an ice storm and we all had the flu, I was on the couch.  (In an ice storm, with a fever--that as probably the flu.)  I made a 31 point list with topics to write about each day.  So when March hit, I wouldn't have to worry and fret about "what" I was going to write about.  I stuck to some themes and sub-topics to get me started:

  • What I'm reading.  (Go here to see a link up on Mondays:
  • Ideas around pedagogy, management, assessment.
  • My One Little Word:  Abide  
  • What I'm Eating.  
  • Fun Topics!  Ideas to get to know each other a little better and to share more of our story.  
  • Celebrations.  Ruth Ayres hosts some celebrating each weekend.  Check out her blog:
During March:
I wrote.  It just became a priority.  My husband noted in January, "You are happiest when you are running and writing."  A side comment for him, a truth bomb for me.  So I've been fighting like hell to get those two things back in my schedule.  
I wrote before I sat on the couch at night.
I wrote while snuggled up on the couch in the morning.
I wrote before I watched tv, scrolled through a phone, tuned out for the night.

The Growth:
I know, I'm preaching to the choir, but the more I wrote, the more I found my story. 
Here are 3 posts from this month that I'm pretty proud of:

  • This post allowed me to share my classroom story a bit.  It was a moment that I felt like my vision and the work of that all came together.

  • This is a topic I continue to be passionate about.  I will continue to share thoughts and discoveries on this.

  • This is probably my most vulnerable piece of writing.  And probably the most that I will share about my last year.  I see this piece of my story as being more of a storytelling piece to share verbally.  But I always think sharing our stories can help.  If this piece helps someone see something than I did what I wanted it to do.

  • Food is such a big part of who we are as a family, I may end up writing each week about this.  
What's next:
More writing.  I'm opening up a notebook to try out some poetry.  

I'm also considering extending my streak.  

We'll see!  

Congratulations for your writing accomplishments.  


Friday, March 30, 2018

Slice of Life Day Thirty: I Think I Always Knew I Was Going To Be A Teacher

Talking with my hands, pretty confidently.  

In my cozy chair with a book.  

Just enough sass.  A cute Skirt, and I guarantee that I'm wearing sneakers.  

I see the finish line.  Let's Finish this challenge!  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Slice of Life: Day Twenty Nine: Laughable.

Dear Friends,
This post has been brewing all day.  Maybe for a year or more.  Thanks for being kind as I let a little more out.  I wanted to explore a bit of what it's like to write and be vulnerable and honest as I share my story a little more. 

A year ago these three things were a part of who I was (all at the same time):

1.  A Case of Strep Throat.

2.  A dog wearing an E-collar after eye surgery.  He eventually lost sight in his right eye after running into a stick chasing a squirrel.

3.  A Job Situation that would make many of us run for the hills.  And I started to.  Because I didn't feel like I had a choice. 

Oh man.  Did I struggle not to become the jaded old lady who wanted to only talk about these three things. 

I spent a lot of time with my Mr. 
I closed my circle in a little further. 
I quit writing. 
I quit running.
I slept.  A Lot.
Well.  That's not a healthy list. 

I took up Bible reading, because I knew if I was going to make it, I had to let everything fall away and let there be only Jesus.  Wowza.  That part was HARD.  Because I can do this thankyouverymuch.  And at that point, what else did I have left emotionally?  Not much.  Also, may I gently say, notice I said Jesus and not the church.  Sometimes seeing the wrong side of the church can be soul crushing.  And church was crushing mine at the time.  I went.  I sat in the back.  I cried.  I left early.  I visited lots of different ones to stay invisible.  Because I only wanted to be seen by Jesus. 

So.  After a year.  A Year that wasn't without more to add to the list, here I am. 

And the stress of last year? 



Because I sit here this year with two new things:

  • values clarification.  I feel pretty rooted in what I value at this point.  I don't feel like I'm struggling at this point to know what I feel is important.  (In case you are wondering, Love is at the center of these values.  Because everyone of us deserves that.  Everyone.  I will Always lead with love.  Which might be translated into feeding you something.)
  • a protected heart.  After a lot of clawing, crying, laying down, getting back up again, and crying some more, I came out on the other side.  And I know that I was being protected spiritually from things that won't ever deliver what my heart seeks.  
I can abide in what I know protects my heart and values:
  • Quiet time with Jesus.  (Reading.  A Lot.)
  • Time at home.  With Mr.
  • I'm writing again.  
  • I'm running again.
  • Sharing Love.  
  • Spending time with wise, discerning women.  That is critical to my well-being.  
The joy of coming out of this journey?  I can see it as laughable.  

I'll take that.  

Joy!  (In the laughing.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Slice of Life Day Twenty Eight: Self Care for When It's Really Hard.

A few days ago, I wrote about self care here.

But no.  Really.  What about the days when you leave at 7 AM, and arrive home at 8 PM? 

My secret?  I don't do all those things I wrote about before. 

When days are long, and I am away from my house for 13 hours, here is what that looks like:

1.  I still eat.  
Today, I had a smoothie, more Diet Dr. Pepper than I should admit, soup, a chicken sandwich.  I also had some turkey sausage as a snack.  I can't get hungry on days like this.  So I always have a plan about what I'm going to eat.  I confess. I get hangry.  No good comes of this. 

2.  When I'm home, I rest.  
When it's possible, only good vibes here people.  I snuggle my people and pets.  I put on pants with elastic.  I get under my favorite blanket.  I read.  I write.  I visit with my people.  I drink coffee in the AM, and tea in the PM.  Those dishes don't bother me.  They will be there later. 

3.  I work my plan.  
Last night, before the crazy started today, I made a plan.  I knew what I needed to do about every 30 minutes.  And I stuck to it pretty faithfully.  Not in a "No time to visit, I need to stick to my schedule" kind of way, but a "I'm here for many hours, let's make this work" kind of way.  

That's it.  Eat.  Rest.  Work the plan.  
Some days, that is all we can do.  

Continue to give yourself a LOT of grace.  
You are doing enough.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Slice of Life Day Twenty Seven: Leaning into a Crisis

Friends.  Have you read this book?


I'll wait.  Go read this.  It won't take long. 

So, I want to talk about leaning into crisis. 

We had to lean in before we knew it was okay.

And then this book encouraged me to not shy away from the tough topics. 

So this year, when it hard topics came up, we got busy. 

This year, my students are especially interested in homelessness and how to help.  
Were first graders ready to tackle this topic?

First I applied for a Thrivent Grant.

Then I started buying fleece like it's running out!  

And the kids.  They are still tying blankets.  And they know they are helping.  The blankets will go to a local homeless organization.  

It was Smokey Daniel's Book that encouraged me not to back away from these tough topics.  
I could write for days on this book.  It is so encouraging in so many ways.  

Go get it.