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31 day wrap up

13 days later and I am finally writing a follow-up post to the 31 day blogging challenge. I guess one might say I was all blogged out! I’m pretty proud of myself, though. I only missed 3 days and I managed to stick with it and see it to the end, which is a big deal for me.

I started the challenge thinking it was going to help me clean and organize my house and my life. I wanted to let go of clutter in order to make way for more structure and order in my day to day. This did not happen. (I did find some really cool resources, though, that I think will help me in the future. Hopefully.) What did happen, however, is that I became more aware of the emotional baggage that was cluttering my life. Past grudges, fear, worry, insecurity, change. Because I had to blog every day, letting go was constantly on my mind. And what mostly came to my mind was the stuff of the heart, not the stuff.

The experience was definitely a challenge. Writing for a whole month is not easy! But it was worth it. I plan on participating in this challenge again next year. Maybe then I’ll make it to 31 days instead of 28!



Clearing the clutter

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On turning 32

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 32.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was the first time since I hit the late 20’s that I didn’t get depressed over my age. You see, I loved my 20’s. I was so carefree and spontaneous and fun. Then, around 27 or 28, things started to get serious. I needed to get serious about my career and finances, and all that other stuff that comes along with being a grown up. Not really my idea of fun.

This year was a little different. I guess it was the first time in a while where I didn’t feel like anything was missing from my life. I no longer feel the need to hold on to my 20-something-year-old self, or the desire to get her back. I’m happy with right now. Really, really happy.

I didn’t have a party or big dinner like I usually do. My dad graciously watched my daughter as my husband and I had a date night at a prime rib place I’ve been wanting to try. When we came back home from dinner, my sister and mom had come over and brought a cake. We sang “Happy Birthday” twice so that my daughter could blow out the candles two times. And then I was in bed by 9:30. The night was perfect.

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This was the only picture I took the night of my birthday. Please excuse the little minion…we were trying on her costume!

So, here’s to turning 32. I’m excited for what (and who!) this year will bring.

Everything will be alright, if we just keep dancing like we’re, 32!



You are beautiful.

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This weekend we travelled to Southern California for our good friends’ baby shower, as well as to visit my husband’s family. It was a quick trip; we spent less than 48 hours there. I packed lightly (by nature I am NOT someone who thinks less is more…hence the letting go theme for October) and in the process I forgot a couple essentials: my razor and contacts. We had such a tight schedule that we literally had no time to go by the store and pick anything up, so I had to do without them. Luckily I brought pants to wear (it would not have been a pretty sight otherwise). I spent a good amount of the weekend feeling self-conscious in my dressed down outfit and glasses until I realized how stupid I was and made the decision to let it go and focus on why we were there that weekend – to spend time with people I love.

I’m really loving how this 31 day challenge is helping me be more conscious of what’s really important.



Grace

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We can’t be afraid of change

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
― C. JoyBell C.



Letting go of worry

Because it’s easy to get sucked into the “what ifs”…

Because I am not in control…

Because it could happen at 10 weeks, or 20, or 30… 

Because I don’t want to live in fear…

Because, as far as I know, he/she is alive right now, and that alone is cause for celebration.

 

 



being me

When I went back to school to get my teaching credential, I was overwhelmed by the techniques, theories, and strategies one needed to learn in order to teach effectively. We learned how to help children who had special learning needs, plan a lesson that covered our state standards, make content accessible for English language learners, use technology to enhance learning, and everything else in between. What they didn’t teach us, however, is how to connect with our students. How do we build relationships with these young people who we see almost every single day? And more specifically for those like me who teach in a Catholic school, how do I help students cultivate their relationship with Jesus?

During my first few years of teaching, I kept my distance from my students. I was their teacher, not their friend. They knew nothing about my personal life aside from maybe which basketball team I was rooting for that season or what I watched on TV. I never joked around with them because if I did, I thought the class would erupt in all kinds of crazy. And I never shared stories about my faith with them, because at the time, I felt those stories were only reserved for those closest in my life.

Over time, I began to realize that by keeping my distance from my students, I was harnessing the most powerful tool I had that would help me connect with them and meet them on their level: ME.

My students needed me. They needed me share my thoughts, dreams, fears, and favorites in order to see me as a real person, as someone they could look up to. They needed me to laugh and be silly and let go every once in a while (not too much, but just enough) to see that there is a time to be serious and work hard and a time to be free. They absolutely needed to hear me share stories about my faith journey, because just like them, I am a child of God. By being who I am, I inadvertently allow my students to be who they are.

Now, I obviously make every conscious effort to know where to draw the line. I am still not their friend, nor do I divulge every detail of what I do with my personal time. I joke around with them but never let it get out of hand. They’ve seen me be relaxed, but they also know that I expect nothing but the best from them, and that any form of disrespect will not be tolerated. There is still a divide between adults and children that should never be crossed. But if you share just a little bit of your human side with them, they feel more at ease, more willing to do for you what you ask of them. They feel comfortable asking me questions about concepts and topics they don’t understand, and when I try to help them, they don’t resist. (Most of the time…)

When I look back at my middle school experience, I remember very little about the things I read in textbooks or learned about in lectures. But I do remember finding it funny when my teacher would laugh at one of our jokes. I remember my 8th grade teaching sharing with us the story of how his wife died, and how broken he was for a long time. I remember when one of the seminarians that worked at our church (he was a super tall, skinny guy) showed us how he could reach the top of the door frame with his shoe by kicking his leg up really high. And I remember our principal dancing, just to make us laugh.

That’s what it’s all about. Sharing and laughing and learning and connecting. It’s about letting go and being who we really are, so that our young people can feel comfortable to be who they are meant to be.



Officially a Houzzer

I often like to scour the web for blogs and websites to help me declutter and organize my life. Today I came across one that had good tips and beautiful, inspirational pictures.

Houzz is one of those websites that constantly makes you say, “I wish my house looked like that!” You can browse photos of any room in a house and add the photos to your Ideabook. The photos have tags on certain parts of the room that will tell you what type of material it is and/or where to purchase the product. You can browse discussions on various design dilemmas you might be having and even pose questions and include photos so that others can give you their input.

One of my favorite parts of the website is the Ideabook section which includes decluttering tips and pictures. One particular article about pilers and filers has the potential to change my life.

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I am most definitely a piler who has thought that the only way to be organized is to be a filer. This article makes it ok for me to be a piler and still gives me ideas for how to make my life more manageable. I’m hoping to put this idea into play before the end of the year. Stay tuned for an update!



10 to zen

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