Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

I am sure if you are in the life of a young child you have read the book goodnight Moon (a million times…) because it is an awesome book. Have you ever gone out to look at the moon, especially with children. They love to look at the moon. I also love to look at the moon and am very aware of its presence throughout the month. Tonight is a Blue Moon.

A Blue Moon is an extra full moon in a season, making a total of four full moons in the season, when normally there are only three. This happens every 3 to 4 years. The moon is so magical, along with the stars that we wish upon; this shinning bright presence in the night sky often gave us human’s different feelings. We have many folk tales and scary stories that use the moon. Many people associate the full moon with crazy behavior, women going into labor, and good or bad luck.

Whether or not the moon has any special power over us, I think that the mere fact that it can affect the waters of our ocean is amazing. I decided to go with this pulling of the tides, this strong pull to something new and make a few changes in my life. I started the other day by writing down what I am grateful for. I wanted to bring some good things into my life, and I thought the best way to do this was to be grateful. I decided that I wanted to focus on being my authentic, creative, and intelligent self. That it is important for me to be who I am and enjoy what I love. Even if that means that some people will not be able to follow along or may even be repulsed.

I started by writing in my journal what I was grateful for, even if it wasn’t part of my life for now, I put it in there. I also put everything in present tense first person. This is all based on books and videos I have read or watched say to do. Honestly in the past when I have tried to image my life, as I want it and to pretend that it was this way it has been a real struggle. How can I pretend that I have unlimited wealth when I can barely pay the bills, how can I pretend that I have a great job that I love when I don’t? This way or this time was different for me, maybe it’s the blue moon, maybe it’s not; but I do know that writing down what I was grateful for in present tense, even if it wasn’t here yet, felt good. I was able to suspend disbelief and just let go, be grateful for having health, wealth, and happiness in my life.

Here is an excerpt from my journal:
I am grateful that I am surrounded by people who love me and that I love, I am grateful that they are supportive and loving of each other as well. I am grateful that I have a career that allows me to use all of my knowledge, creativity, and intelligence on a regular basis to collaboratively create amazing projects. I am grateful that I can share my knowledge and that people are willing to listen to me and help create a better world for teachers and students. I am grateful that I am a vessel of change in the world.

I wrote many different things in my journal that I was grateful for, I even put things down that I didn’t realize were important to me. I am also going to do a vision board (a collage of images and sayings that I want to bring into my life). I hope that this is another step on the road to being my authentic self.

Since doing this I have already made changes to my diet and exercise habits, have contacted a life coach and made a couple of decisions about my career and where I want to take it. All very exciting stuff that I am changing!

I realize that the last two posts were not really in regards to teaching, but that is what happens when you are looking for your authentic self. I know a lot about how I want to teach, and why, but I am still working on being my authentic self professionally. On a personal level I am still finding my authentic self and in the process learning to be that person both professionally and personally. I believe that every little step helps.
Image found at

Here’s to a beautiful Blue Moon!
Many Blessings

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On becoming a Grandma...

My Daughter and her baby bump

When I found out that my daughter thought she was pregnant so many things raced through my mind. I couldn’t help it, it is sad that the father will not be participating, it is terrible that she is only 18, it is unfortunate that she doesn’t have a job or a way to support herself or the baby. Others in our family told her to end the pregnancy, I kept quiet, believing that she could make the choice that was right for her. A baby would be hard work, I know this personally. I was pregnant with her when I was 18. It was hard, her father did not participate in her life, I struggled to support us; but I did. I waitressed and was on Welfare, but I educated myself. Yes, I needed a little help, but the pay off to society is worth so much more than what it cost. Knowing all of this I still felt Joy, how can you not when it involves a baby. I kept it all to myself until she made her decision to keep the baby.

You see, much of the negative feelings I was having was about me, about my experience as a single mother. There is a lot of fear, a lot of social stigma, and a lot of loss when you have a child so young. I thought that I had raised her to make better choices, but as the parent of two teens you begin to realize that they are going to make their own choices. I preached for her to abstain, and if she didn’t abstain, to use protection. She was actually a very good child; she made good decisions and stood out from peer pressure. She had to deal with some really hard tragedies, including the loss of her father to suicide. It was only in her last years at home that she rebelled. She rebelled against herself and against me. It was a struggle, I was constantly asking myself what did I do wrong, and she was constantly telling me what I did wrong. Despite all the things I did to try to sway her she had chosen a long hard road to go down and getting pregnant allowed her to make a U turn and choose a better path.

Being a good parent doesn’t always mean that your kids go off to college and find a spouse and a good job, these days it can mean that you all made it out alive. There are so many factors in a child’s life that affect their choices. The older they get the more influences these outside factors play. Teachers, peers, family, and strangers all can affect your children. I had to let go of the idea that her going to college out of high school was not going to happen. She might not get to be a “bent twig” at Mills College, she wouldn’t travel around Europe, but she would be alive and safe. Mostly I had to let go of the fact that even though things did not turn out the way I dreamed they would they did turn out good. I am still a good mom, I have judged others by their children, but what do I know about their life, their choices, or their experiences. I now know that when they become adults they make their own choices. A parent can only hope that their influence will win out in the end.

I am very proud of my daughter. She has come through a lot of things and is still doing so much good for herself. I feel she has grown into an amazing and powerful woman. She has created a place for herself and her coming daughter that is safe and secure. She is thinking about stability, parenting, and her career. She has also joined some groups where she has met some great friends who are also young parents. She has created a community of good people for herself and her baby, and created some lifelong friendships, the kind you might find in college. Personally I think she has not only risen to the challenge but has exceeded expectations. She is starting off with many more parenting skills than I did, that’s for sure.

When I tell others about being a grandma in my 30’s they often freak. I freaked out too. All my friends my age have infants and toddlers of their own and here I am about to be a grandma. Then I was at the dog park and made friends with some women, they were about 15 to 20 years older than me and one of them told us she was going to be a grandma. She did not want the title; she said she wasn’t ready for it. They clearly didn’t know what to say when I told them I was going to be a grandma too. I didn’t really know what to say either; we sort of just changed the subject.

When my daughter and I were in the store, setting up her registry, my daughter kept showing me little shirts, and outfits printed with, “Grandma loves me,” or “I’m grandma’s favorite.” I was thinking, “Oh those are so cute, Grandma would love them,” then it hit me! “I am Grandma, that’s for me!!” My daughter laughed so hard, and then asked me whom I thought it was for. Well I guess I will have to get used to the title, but I know when I see that baby I will feel so blessed and in love.

This is not a tragedy; this is not terrible; this is a miracle and a blessing for my family. My mom used to tell me “have your kids while your young and dumb.” If you wait for the right moment you will never have kids because no one is ready to be a parent. It really is a blessing to have children.

Many Blessings
Wittle Baby Foots!!

Evelyn Rose 10/27/12

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What now, discipline without spanking...

When I first started parenting I knew that I wanted to avoid spanking. Actually I did spank and it made me feel so horrible and I knew there had to be a better way to parent and teach. It struck me as wrong and inconsistent to spank as punishment when my child hit, or ran into the street. I did not see that there was an accurate lesson here. But what do I do I do instead. I struggled for several months, years even, looking for a better way. I am still learning in many ways. I am still learning to choose my battles, to say the right thing, or not say the wrong thing, to continue to discipline appropriately even when I am angry or tired, as well as how to parent each new age as my children grow. I have used a lot of techniques and some have worked and some didn't work or fit for my family.

Some of the things I have tried that didn't work are timeouts and reward systems. Timeouts were a struggle, having now watched Super Nanny, perhaps I was doing it wrong. It didn't seem to matter to my children that they were separated from the group or I would just spend my time chasing them down and 4 minutes would turn into an hour. It was frustrating and too much work, with both of us often left in tears. I also felt there was too much physical force to have to remove the child by picking them up and placing them into a timeout place. I wondered what they were really learning as well. I also don't agree with the idea of forcing a child to apologize. I later found that avoiding the problems that lead to a timeout worked better, or dealing with the situation from the point of view of the child.

I tried different reward systems to encourage good behavior, or actions such as chores being done. I found these did not fit well with my idea of life. I didn't want my children to grow up to be oblivious consumers and I felt that reward systems took away from the pleasure of doing things just for doing them and it also created consumers. Soon I had to up the ante every time I wanted to encourage a positive behavior. I was trying to "catch" my children doing good so I could reward them. Part of the problem of this was that I was busy also working, cooking and cleaning. Sometimes they were doing good but I didn't catch them. The positive that came out of this was that I did become more aware of what my children were doing right, but giving them a tangible reward was not for me. So now what?

I read books, my favorite being Positive Parenting by Jane Nelsen, and years later found There's got to be a Better way by Becky Bailey. These books literally changed my way of thinking about my children and how I parented. I also soaked up the book Raising your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I began to plan my day so that it was a mixture of one on one (or one on two) attention and kid time and those chores and things I needed to do as an adult such as shopping and laundry. I used a lot of skills learned from these books and feel that it really helped me change my parenting style as well as understand my parenting style.

my note
I wrote lists of what to do instead and posted them on the refrigerator and carried it around with me. My list looked something like this:

1) Do Nothing
2) Take a deep breath
3) Choose your battle
         a) natural consequence
         b) logical consequence
4) Take time for training
5) Ask questions
6) Give a choice
7) Redirect power
8) Cool off

Taking just a moment to not react the way I used to, the way I had been raised, helped me to make better choices as a parent. After reading Raising Your Spirited Child I knew that avoiding issues worked best. I would avoid letting the children get too tired, hungry or overstimulated. I would stop for snacks and play, I would slow down and pay attention to my children. I would slow down and pay attention to myself.

After reading Becky Bailey I learned a lot more about how the brain works durring times of stress or upset. You brain literally stops and you go to the reptillian brain. She has so many skills to use as both a parent and a teacher. What is really brillant is how it is about teaching the child to become independent of the parent and self soothe. Giving them skills to make themselves feel better and make better choices without having to guard them. By fueling them with love and seeing children as having good intentions you can really make a difference in your parenting.

I was once at a workshop called Children with Challenging Behavior: strategies for reflective thinking based on Linda Brault's book of the same name. She showed us how the brain works durring upset and literally Flips it's lid. She showed us this by using her hand.  I will always remember this.
She held up her hand:

She folded her thumb in, telling us this represented the reptilian brain, the emotions raw and wild:

Then folded her fingers over her hand, telling us that usually our cerebral cortex, our higher thinking, is covering and managing the reptillian brain:

But when we get upset, we flip our lid and those raw emotions are let loose:

Of course as adults we have learned how to self soothe and relax enough to not act on those feelings and thoughts. We know that there are both logical and natural consequences to misbehaving. Children have yet to understand this and we need to be their bigger selves. To be their conscience so to speak, if we are still hitting or yelling to discipline them what are we teaching then...

To discipline without spanking you need to find what will work for you, what you are comfortable doing, what your parenting style is. You need to understand your child in particular and children in general. You need to build skills to put into your "tool belt" so that when you are stressed and the kids are stressed you can make a better choice. Most importantly you need to forgive yourself, allow your self room to learn.

To new ways of parenting.
many Blessings

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sharing Wonderful Ideas!

I always want to work in a place that allows for the creative genius in me and in children to be not only encouraged but also taken to another level in innovation. I am sure that children want to be in a place like this too.

In my previous classrooms I have focused mainly on encouraging the social skills of my students. I am not saying that I taught manners, although I did; nor am I telling you that I taught them to simply share, instead I am telling the story of how I taught these skills by teaching them how to collaborate, how to see each other as teammates, as wonderful thinkers, and creators of ideas. I did this though looking at our daily routines, and activities that caused friction. Places that often cause friction are transitions, bikes, play dough and painting. There are always other things, often when there is limited supply and the demand is high. Over the years I have tried different ways of doing things, I am very reflective about my work so I really looked at what these children are learning.

One example I often see is that teachers see play dough as a big problem for sharing. Some don’t even want to bother with it in their classrooms or they hide it away. This is often because there is always at least one child who wants ALL the play dough. I often see teachers take from that child and simply give it out to the others, or they divide up the play dough beforehand and make a limit of how many and how long. I was very reflective about this, and decided to think about what the children are learning from this method. The child with all the play dough learns that big people can take things away, that they are not respected and that they are not capable of sharing.  There is often anger at the teacher and the other children, and frustration at having their ideas marginalized. The other children also loose out on the opportunity to learn. They don’t get a chance to learn how to speak up for themselves and ask for what they want, or to share in the creative mind of their classmate. They may also feel the anger from the other child and may withdrawal or become angry too.  All the children feel a fracture in the community, and all go to an emotional place where learning can stop because the brain is busy regulating. When this is repeated regularly it is not only frustrating to the children but also to the teachers. Children also learn things such as there is not enough to go around, and that the stuff is more important than the ideas. I think anytime a teacher takes away the choice and initiative of a child they are taking away a chance for learning.

I started to think about what I could do instead. I decided that it is okay for that one child to have a lot of play dough. I decided that there was a better way to share the play dough. One of the things I do is to always have a LOT of play dough available at all times, the children can get it out during any free time (I make cooked play dough so it doesn’t have to be refrigerated and can stay on the shelf). I have it available for outside play too. Another thing I do is when this child is at the play dough table hoarding all the play dough I come and sit with him. I watch what he is making and then I talk to him about it, ask him questions. Questions are about his creation, his ideas, and his story. I encourage the other children to ask questions too. I then ask if I could have some play dough to make something that wonderful too, when he shares with me I get really happy and excited. I encourage other children to ask him as well. We all get really happy and excited about what he is making and what we want to make too. The hoarding usually only lasts for a few days, sometimes a few weeks for children with disabilities or emotional issues, but children love to share ideas, they just don’t want to have that choice to share taken away.

What have children learned from this new way of sharing play dough? They have learned to be inspired by others in the classroom. They have learned to encourage the creation of great things. They have learned to be patient and to put aside gratification for a moment while they find out what ideas this other person has. They learn that the person and the ideas are more important than the stuff. In wanting our children to share we often forget that it is not the stuff that is important but their ideas. Imagine telling a child that their ideas are not important, that what they are creating is worthless, that it is more important that they give out their stuff instead of creating with it. I think that is what we say when we take the stuff and give it away. Lets instead teach them a way to collaborate, to have their great ideas, and share their great ideas with us. Let us be excited by what they have discovered with the stuff.  

In my classrooms, specialists, managers and other people who come in to observe or work often comment on how surprised they are that the children work together, collaborate and share so easily. This is the community that I build each year in my classrooms. If you were to observe you might see 8 to 10 children working away at the play dough table made for 6, I always say get a chair and ask for some play dough. Some children ask readily, and others need a little help, some children give freely and others give just the tiniest pinch, but they are working together and enjoying each other’s ideas. This the type of community that I create in my classrooms, and it makes my life easier, and it makes the future better.
Montessori Classroom, where creative ideas are allowed to flow through out the child's education! 

Many Blessings.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rituals and routines for children

Rituals are so important to families, and especially helpful to children. They can help smooth over so many hard transitions for young children making the flow of the day easier. 

Transition rituals for parents to create might be bedtime, wake up and goodbye and hello routines. Without a good night sleep everything is more challenging, you are setting yourself and child up for failure without good sleep. Waking up to a blaring alarm is no fun, but what about singing or favorite music. Routines that many people take for granted are goodbye and hello routines. For young children (and parents of young children) it is hard to let go for daycare, preschool, or school, so create a special moment to let go. Alternatively returning from away activities can be rushed and feel more like a race for the finish, take a moment to be together and it will make the rest of the day better.

Bedtime is a challenge for many parents, they forget to start winding down early in the evening. Turning down lights, turning off the TV, maybe even a slow sunset walk or stretches can help slow down the day. As a parent we want to rush through things but we need to remember that this time of our children’s lives is only here for a moment. Spending more quality time together is much richer than watching TV or chasing the kids around until they fall asleep. I think an early bedtime that allows parents to have adult time is good, whether you are a married couple or a single parent. A great ritual for every bedtime is snack, bath, story, and bed.

·      A good healthy snack, that is small and light will help the child rest better, offer this before bath time, so it has time to digest. I offer yogurt and berries or fruit and nut butter for a small amount of protein and sweetness. Remember this is a small snack, maybe 2 to 3 apple slices and a tablespoon of nut butter (preferably organic or at least GMO free). A nice hot bath is so relaxing. It is also a great time to unwind and talk about the day or play a low-key bath game. Lighting a candle is a nice way to keep the blaring bathroom lights from being to stimulating, and starts the process of quieting down.

·      After a nice hot bath with a lightly filled tummy it is time to snuggle up in a comfy chair and read a book or two. I prefer to keep the bed for sleeping so I do bedtime reading in a chair. Another advantage of this is that tooth brushing and flossing can be done while reading. Just use a tiny pea sized drop of toothpaste and then there is no need to spit or rinse. I love to read children's classic novels to my preschoolers and school aged children. I would read a chapter of Black Beauty, Charlotte's Web, or Stuart Little and later the Harry Potter books (the first few, after that they were reading them on their own). Smaller children will benefit more from favorite children’s picture books and of course for toddlers and babies board books they can manipulate themselves. Remember to go at the pace of the child, you don’t have to read the book cover to cover, perusing the pictures, talking about what is happening or create your own stories together. Allow them to tell you the story if they are willing. Just remember that this is for the child. They are learning so much more about books, than just to read at this age, allow them the time to read.

·      Then it is off to bed. Lights should be kept low and the house should be reasonably quiet but not silent. The noise of adults talking has a comforting and relaxing rhythm to it and has sent many a children straight to sleep.

Somehow this bedtime routine worked so well for me and other parents who have tried it. Waking up and having a morning routine is just as important. I haven’t really perfected my morning routine; it has been adjusted many times because of the age of my children, the times we had to wake up, and other outside factors. The one thing I have tried to keep constant is to sing a song or listen to upbeat music and provide a healthy breakfast. These two factors make a huge difference in the day, it is hard to wake up cranky to fun and funky music.

One thing I have always had in my life is a goodbye ritual. My mom and dad always gave a kiss and a hug and sent me on my way telling me they loved me. Even in the middle of an argument. The last words we heard were “I love you.” We sometimes forget that it is difficult to let go, even for the day. This is also great for those parents or children who are a clingy and needy in the mornings. Becky Bailey is the author of many books including my two favorites, I Love You Rituals, and There’s GotTo Be a Better Way, Discipline that works. She has so many wonderful ideas and I really think she takes positive parenting to that next level. I highly recommend reading her books. She has great goodbye rituals in her book, I Love You Rituals, but even creating your own simple goodbye, from a goodbye handshake to a few moments of reading one book and giving a kiss goodbye. One parent at a center I worked at would nurse her baby in a certain chair at drop off and pick up. They disconnected and reconnected for a few moments each day, this baby was very interested and available for dealing with the center after that small ritual. Later it turned into reading a book together in the same chair. So letting go is very important and can really color how the rest of the child’s choices go.

Saying hello is important too. I see too many parents barely slow down enough to throw their children in the car and zoom of to the next daily event. If this is your day maybe you should consider slowing down and read my blog on slow parenting. I have see parents who I know are loving parents pick up while on the phone, the child running around trying to show the parent this or that of their day only to leave near tears. I think taking 10 minutes to be present is so important. Children want so much to show you their world, and their perspective, giving them that small amount of time is a great way to fill up their attention tanks. You can always talk as soon as you leave, or maybe just stay outside until the conversation is over so you can be present and in the moment when you walk into to room for your child. Becky Bailey also discusses these rituals in her book and many more on her website Conscious Discipline. I highly suggest reading it.

Blessed be

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What about slow parenting...

Today I read an article titled ‘Slow Parenting’: Why a Mom Is ‘Fed Up with Frenzy’. It is an interview of Susan Sachs Lipman author of Fed up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. She is also the social media director of the Children and Nature NetworkIt is great to know that there are other educational and parenting leaders who know the value of Free time. I love the idea of slow parenting. It is so important and so developmentally appropriate to slow down and play with your children. Go have a tea party, go for a walk at their pace, build a sand castle, or play in the mud; maybe even just get out of their way and allow them to do it for themselves. This is coming from the my expereince as a preschool and homeschool teacher, a mother and having an M.Ed in Early childhood education. This sounds like a good book to read, and I will be reading it. 
Mini village created by children with imagination

The idea of slowing down for our children is something to consider. Many times I am asked as a preschool teacher why the children are "Just playing" or how can children learn anything important in "Only four hours". I also hear about all the activities that are planned for the children. Explaining over and over all the wonderful benefits a child gets from playing freely, especially outside or with open ended toys. Children who are left to play develop creativity, individuality and a sense of self. Children who have lots of free play tend to be seen as leaders of play in the classroom. They already know how to role-play and create games, they are great role models for other children and often encourage play in a very interesting and creative direction. As a preschool teacher, I can see a huge difference in play ability between children who have long periods of free play and children who watch a lot of TV, spend too much time participating in grown up activities and are too filled up with classes and sports. Letting kids play allows them to define themselves, and deal with the stress of life and growing up, even when those stresses are beyond their understanding such as divorce, abuse or neighborhood violence.

Another view

As a mom myself, one who has been a single mom for all but two years of my parenthood, I had to learn to embrace the idea of slow parenting early. I remember having to rush from work to pick up the kids from daycare, rush to the store, rush to any appointments or classes, and often rush through dinner and homework. I was getting to sleep so late, and so were my children. I was rushed and stressed and while my children are very easy going flexible children, they were having more temper tantrums, more whining and we were not having any fun as a family. I began stopping at the park to play for 20 to 30 minutes before shopping and all the rest. It felt like a miracle when my children were happy and ready to help shop. The rest of the evening went so much smoother. All from just 20 to 30 minutes of free play and undivided attention from me. 

A fellow teacher and mental health specialist told me it is like topping of the tank, you prevent your child from becoming attention empty. You give them 10 or so minutes all to them, no phone, no adult plans, just the child and following their lead. Then You have so much more time to get things done, and you have the benefit of feeling good about yourself as a parent.
 Created by an 8 year-old

Trust me on this one, stop herding your kids to every kind of early introduction to life, they grow up so fast anyway, and it doesn't really make them better nor does it make them happier. Plus it feels so good to have a few minutes to let your child be a child.

Many Blessings

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Creating Change

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman ~ Maya Angelou

Today is a new day, and each day allows us to have a new beginning. I have found myself on a brand-new path. On Monday I found in my inbox Lisa Grace Byrne's (of Well grounded life) blog titled How to eliminate your overwhelm and overdrive tendencies... and I did the exercise. I was not in a very good mood, I had had a hard weekend, it was Monday and I just was in a funk. I made myself do this exercise.

It was great. She asks you to write a list of all the things you want to change in your life. From anything small to anything big. She also has a lot of good things that she says so I would suggest that you watch the video from her. She is very inspirational. I rarely actually do these exercises and this was such an eye opening change of state for me.

My list was:
job status
vacuum cleaner belt
Exchange my king bed for a Queen
financial situation
fix car

I took a good 5 minutes to do this, maybe longer. I thought of all the really important things that I wanted to change. I did not want to skip anything and she did say big or small. All the things that were going through my head, kind of bogging me down, I put them on the list. They all mattered to me. She then asks you to put the list into sub categories:
What I Have and Don't Want and What I Want and Don't Have.

Have and Don't Want
Weight (too much)
king bed
Fix car

Want and Don't Have
House (I live in an apartment)
vacuum cleaner belt
queen bed

I was kind of surprised that I had so many thing that I wanted. I try to live my life being happy with what I have, feeling the blessing of enough. But lately I have been having a hard time and finding a lot lacking in my life. I am focusing too much on this lack, not having a job, not having a loving soul mate, not having a lot of what I am used to. I will need to start looking closely at what I do have.

Then Lisa Byrne had us do the next step, a very powerful step. She is amazing and this is the step that really turned my day around, and possibly my whole week, or life... I really want to do one of her online classes. If this is just one of the creative exercises she has you do to help you balance your life, and here I am in the middle of crisis, and it helped me, Wow is all I can say. She threw me a lifeline with this one.

The next step is to cross out what you don't have control over right now, and what you don't really care about. So simple, a second ago all those things seemed so important. Important enough to make it onto a list when my brain feels like it's going to explode with all the things I need to change and work on. Now I get to cross things off.

My list now looks like this:

Have and Don't Want
Weight (too much)
king bed
Fix car

Want and Don't Have
House (I live in an apartment)
vacuum cleaner belt
queen bed


I was very surprised that I had crossed off relationship at first, my pen hovered above that one but I don't have control over that, not really. I also don't really care right now, I can't go from heartbreak to relationship in only a couple of weeks. I was also pleasantly surprised that I am okay living in my cozy little apartment, sure I want to rearrange it and make it mine, but my son and I are okay here. I can feel blessed that I have an apartment that I can afford with basically no income at the moment.

She has another step, she asks that you make a plan to change the things left on the list, take steps to change what you really care about. I made an appointment to get help writing my Curriculum Vitae and my resume. I signed up for some free local classes to help with job searching. I started walking farther plus made a plan to eat more vegetables from my plot in my community garden, whole grains, and lean proteins; all in smaller portions. I made plans to balance my life by meditating, exercising, eating well, and being present.

Change comes to you in strange ways. One must always be aware of little things that might change your entire outlook on life. This was one small video blog that really did that. I am looking into some of her other classes as well. Here is another link to her homepage  for her blog Well Grounded Life, equipping moms to to live vibrant lives:

Many Blessings

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crisis, the beginning of it all...

I am searching for myself. I am trying to find my bliss. I have so much passion and excitement for teaching, my free time is spent finding and thinking about things for the classroom. The challenge is finding useful and creative ways to use objects and ideas without paying a lot of money. Teachers rarely have a lot of excess spending money, yet somehow I always find a way to buy what I need to make my classroom amazing. 

I love being in the classroom, setting it up for the best use of the room, planning curriculum ideas, and then implementing them. Sometimes they go great, others not so much. I find it challenging to meet all the requirements teachers are faced with each year, while also maintaining a creative open atmosphere. I often find myself pushing the limits as far as possible because children deserve to be respected and given the chance for a creative future. Often supervisors (the people in charge of how you work with children and choose the material for that work) do not realize that the clean, new plastic playground, with the neat edges and the clean grass is not as interesting or educational as the playground with found objects, dirt and water, or real tools where children are allowed to move and create with these objects. Children need these rich, authentic activities to be ready to learn about math, science, and even language arts. It is our job as teachers to bridge that gap between management and the children we know.

So here I am a teacher with passion in the middle of a crisis. I have a M. Ed in Child Development curriculum and instruction, Teaching Credentials and no job. I find myself suddenly a single mom of a teen aged son, my 18-year-old daughter is having a baby, and I don't know if I can keep my passion while teaching in a public school. I am currently in this crisis, I have been a single mom before, but I thought this was it, I had found my forever partner. He left, walked out with the rent due and me with no job. I am in the pit of the crisis. I am hoping that trying to find my bliss, trying to dig my way out will help other teachers who may not be in crisis but possibly are finding it hard to have that passion for teaching we all need. 

Two weeks ago I was reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, it made so much sense to me. I was fairly happy, I was searching to be a little bit happier with where I was. This is a great book, she really did a lot of research about happiness, and she is fun to read. She has the ability to talk about being happy, or doing the actions even when things around her are not working out the way she wants. She is honest and real and tells us the details we need to hear because none of us are perfect. She writes about feeling like a failure, and still going. These are things I need to hear. Many self help happiness books tell you to act like it's already there, but forget to tell you that it is going to be rough sometimes, it is going to be hard to get through and do your actions but to keep doing them, she does this and very well too. While this week I am single and still jobless The Happiness Project has encouraged me to pursue my bliss. 

So here I am a Jobless teacher who wants to teach with passion and excitement, I would like to share that excitement and passion with my students, children and hopefully other teachers. 

Many Blessings