I Matter....You Matter...We Matter

I Matter....You Matter...We Matter

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Power of One Word

via quotesnew.com

One of my favorite times of the year has arrived. A time for reflection on the upcoming year and finalizing my one word. One word that will be my focus throughout the entire 365 days of the 2018 year. This will be the third year of intentionally picking one word, and for my #oneword2018, I took a completely different direction than what I had originally been thinking on for some time now.  The power of one word. 

2016 - Blessed 
2017 - Gratitude
2018 - ???

The notes section in my iPhone is my hidden treasure for the start of my one word list.  I keep my lists each year, and I am always intrigued by how my word choice varies with each year.  First comes an honest reflection where no words are off limits.  What went well this year? What was missing this year? What is my focus? What am I seeking to find within myself? Where do I need to grow?  How might I influence others?  What is my point of inspiration? Reflect and go. The power of one word. 

My one word list grows before settling on a final selection.  This year, 16 words were on my list initially.  From there, it involves looking for any trends within my list, and then finally narrowing to one final word.  The power of one word. 

L.Smith, 2018

My #oneword2018 is SLOW. While this may seem like an odd selection, this word is perfect to drive the year ahead.  I always tell my family, friends, and colleagues that we have to make time for what we value of importance as well as give ourselves grace to breathe, slow down, and relish the moments. We live in a fast paced society, and we have all felt the feeling of going a million miles per hour in a million different directions on a given day.  SLOW brings the grace to pause.  The power of one word. 
Image via Pinterest

This year is about being more intentional about not getting so caught up in the "busy", taking the time to breathe, and living fully in the moments, both big and small.  We must make time for what is important to us, even when the to-do list is seemingly unending. SLOW. The power of one word.  

Image via Pinterest

What will be your #oneword2018?  The power of one word. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dare to Jump: Growing Vulnerability


We went boating on the lake with my family over the weekend. My oldest daughter was eager to swim once we dropped anchor, yet was initially hesitant to jump.  While she loves to swim, actually taking that plunge to jump off the end of the boat was new and somewhat scary.  She was presented with two options: 1) Take the "safe" approach and use the ladder, which would lead to the water or 2) Take a "risk" and jump off the end, which would provide a new experience to enjoy and still end in the water equally well.  We didn't push, but ultimately left it to her to make the decision. After a brief moment, I watched her take a deep breath and jump. Do you know what happened next? She looked up at us, smiled, and continued to jump in over and over again.  Had she not taken that "risk" and allowed herself to be vulnerable, she would have never experienced something new that she actually ended up enjoying. 

via Inner Fire Outer Light
As educators, we strive to not only instill and foster a culture of risk-taking with our students, but also with ourselves as teacher learners. When we hear the word, risk, what does it actually mean to us?  I have come to the conclusion risk-taking can look, sound, and feel different depending on the individual learner. How do we allow ourselves to become more vulnerable in order to grow?  How do we continue to cultivate a culture of risk-taking, yet honor where we are within the process?

As an instructional coach, I am continuously reflecting upon my coaching work and the work being done to impact student learning. Often times, I find myself thinking about the ladder vs. the jump, theoretically speaking. I know all options will result in action being taken toward a chosen goal for the benefit of student learning, yet some options may be "safer" than others.  While I acknowledge that risk looks different for us all, it becomes more about being willing to be vulnerable....with me...with students...with colleagues. How do I continue to meet my colleagues where they are with risk-taking, yet gently nudge toward becoming more vulnerable for the benefit of our students (and themselves as learners)?  How do I continue to model my own vulnerability as an instructional coach?

via Pinterest
I recently attended a conference where we were asked to write down a dream and then share it with someone near us. While we can save that story for another post, I realized in that moment, I had to be vulnerable with those around me.  I felt many of the same emotions our students and colleagues feel when taking a risk, but do you know what happened? I did it, and as a result, felt empowered to take that jump and make my dreams actionable.

I have been busy growing more ideas that will require vulnerability and risk-taking this year, yet I cannot wait to see what happens next.  Much like my daughter showed me, "sometimes you just have to jump in both feet first."

Let's dare to jump together.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Day 31: This Isn't Goodbye..It's See you Later-#SOL17

Holy cow! How is it the end of March already?!  Today brings this Slice of Life Challenge to a close, and I feel like I'm ending on a charge.  I've learned so much more about myself as a writer and individual as well as the many others who have become part of this writing community.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect when signing up for this commitment, but I can easily say, it was a decision that was well worth it.  I've always enjoyed writing, yet finding the time has always been my enemy.  This challenge has made that previous nonexistent time to write a priority, even if it's just for ten minutes.  I've learned to become more vulnerable with an authentic audience as well as reflect on the small moments more intentionally.  

I've pushed myself to try new formats and stretch myself as a writer, thanks to the continued inspiration of this community.  I've never met you in person, yet I feel like your daily snippets provided a lens into your lives.  THANK YOU for growing me.  THANK YOU for allowing me to grow you.  As a Slice of Life, "newbie", you have found a new regular slicer.  You will find me again next March ready to tackle year two.  As I transition away from my daily slicing, I hope to continue to see you all around on the blogging circuit and for Tuesday slices.  Let's keep growing together.  

For that reason, I'll simply say this isn't goodbye...it's see you later! Keep writing!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 30: Making Memories-#SOL17

As I begin to wrap up this Slice of Life Challenge, we continue to enjoy our Florida trip and make memories together. Being here brings back old memories of my childhood and visiting my grandparents, yet unites the old with the new as we make our new memories with our children.  My hope would be that someday, they too are able to make memories here with their children.  

Memories are the glue to our life.

Watching the cars and people walking in the morning from the balcony...making memories
Swimming multiple times a day...making memories
Picnics on the beach...making memories
Building lots of sandcastles...making memories
Jumping over waves...making memories
Finding the best shells to add to our collection...making memories
Eating at new restaurants...making memories
Walking to the beach to watch the sunset...making memories
Dancing to live music...making memories
Enjoying ice cream past bedtime...making memories

Thank you for letting me share some of our memories throughout this Slice of Life Challenge as you set out to create your own.  Look for the small moments and add to your story.  

Memories are all around us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 29: Sensational Sunsets-#SOL17

Our first full day was yesterday, and we couldn't miss an opportunity for a sensational sunset at the beach after a cloudless day.  I'm in awe of the natural beauty of sunsets...aka no filter needed.  My favorite picture from day one includes my four children unposed enjoying saying "goodnight" to the sun.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 28: Small Moments-#SOL17

Small moments from yesterday's day of travel through the eyes of children...

Mommy playing Tetris with luggage in the car (it all fit!)
Four backpacks filled with books, markers, and other forms of entertainment
Enjoying the moving walkways (multiple times)
Watching planes take off and land
Meeting the captain and co-pilot (they were nice)
Going "fast" (time to takeoff)
Gum and suckers (help for that ear popping)
Eating snacks and drinks on the airplane (there's always time for eating)
Watching cartoons (thank you free wifi)
"I'm so excited! I'm so excited!" x's 4 little voices (Mommy lost count, which is a good thing) :) Noticing how the trees look different
Big "bump" (time to land)
"It's hot and sunny!" (yes, yes it is)
"New" car (or just the rental car...we will return it)
Watching the sunset (from the car)
"We're here, we're here!"
Beach closed (yes, just for tonight)
New surroundings
Bedtime (for us ALL) :) 

Today brings sunshine, excitement, and a beach calling our names!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 27: Happy Place Bound-#SOL17

As I sit down to write this morning, the house is quiet yet starting to stir and my coffee is hot and just what I need.  I'm looking over my to-do list for the hundredth time.  It's time to get the last of things packed and ready to go before our spring break adventure.  Packing and getting ready for a vacation is a small feat in itself, especially when it involves four kids, but it will be well worth it when my feet hit the sand.  Our flight leaves later this afternoon, and I can't wait!  My kids definitely can't wait because they've reminded me of our itinerary every five seconds since last week-HA!

We are heading to my happy place...otherwise known as the beach.  I love to travel and explore new places, but I'm a warm weather, beach girl at heart in terms of vacation spots.  We are heading to a spot in Florida where I spent a great deal of my childhood visiting my grandparents.  It's exciting to be able to now share this with my own children and create new memories with them.  Sunshine, warmth, (oh, and I did I mention the beach?) are good for the soul. My happy place may be the beach, but really it's about being with the people I love the most no matter what adventure we are tackling next.  

Where's your happy place? :)