Friday, September 23, 2016

A Time for Every Season

Years ago, at my grandfather's funeral, the pastor talked about how there is a time for every season. It is a theme found throughout the Bible. Living in the Midwest there are 4 seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. When I lived in Alaska, I felt there were only three seasons: Summer, Cold and Really Cold.

In many ways, the idea that there is a time for every season is comforting. At the same time, I find it brings a bit of anxiety. There are many different seasons and our lives change constantly, but does this mean one season is more important than another? Does this mean I should look forward to other seasons?
In high school, seasons were separate. I played three sports and each had their season. As a musician, there was solo/ensemble season, musical season, marching season and large group contest season.  Seasons in my life also overlap and sometimes things need to be put on the back burning for a while. 

As a mom of a toddler, coaching for me has taken a back seat for the moment. As a mom of a 5 week old, this season is focused on staying home with her. Soon I will go back to teaching and my season will be as a mom and a educator.  The struggle for me is that some seasons feel like a let down.  I am 'only' a mom or 'only' a teacher.  That is where this idea of seasons really starts to bother me.  I know that my life will not always be like it is right now.  Eventually, I will be able to sleep through the night again and eventually my kids will grow up be more self sufficient. It is easy to feel like my season is not as important as what others are working on at the moment and I think this will be a constant struggle for me.

I am slowly working on accepting this new stage of life.  There is a season for everything and this season will not last forever, although sometimes it feels like it will never end.  There will come a day when I will miss the baby snuggles and miss the hilarious (albeit sometimes frustrating things) that my kiddos do.  I am trying to learn to enjoy this new phase of life and not compare my life to what I see around me.

What season are you in?  Are you enjoying it?  How do you accept this season and enjoy it to it's fullest?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


What are you passionate about?

This has been a challenging question for me.  I always saw myself as a teacher and a coach who was willing do fill any positions that my school needed me to, but now I am starting to wonder.  What am I passionate about?  What activities fill my energy?  What activities sap my energy? This is not an easy question for me to answer and it is one that will require more time and reflection.

Morning Yoga

One of my fitness goals is to work on my flexibility.  I decided to start each morning with a quick Yoga routine.  YouTube makes accessing workouts and videos very easy.  Right now, my playlist includes only Tara Stiles workouts.  I find her to be laid back and her workouts are effective, but easy to follow.  Plus, I appreciate the variety of workouts and the fact that many of them are short. 5-15 minutes is the perfect length for me in the morning.

Sharing vs Connecting

One of my struggles lately is the idea of sharing on social media verse the idea of forming connections using social media.  Being home on maternity leave is wonderful, but I struggle with the lack of social interaction and I have found myself posting more often on Facebook.  It may be a random comment or a picture.  My life at the moment is consumed by Kiddo 1 and Kiddo 2, so many posts include them and their randomness.  

I find many benefits to being on Twitter, but I am beginning to question the role of Facebook.  At times, I find myself feeling like a slacker because I don't feel I  "measure up" compared to what I see online.  On Twitter it is easy to compare myself to what others have done and what I have not: I have not created a Twitter chat, I have not written a book, I have not created an organization and I am not an administrator. On Facebook, it is easy to compare myself to "perfect" lives others show in their pictures.

There is a place for social media, but I am concerned that we (maybe it is just me) are sharing post and pictures without really connecting with people.  We click the like button on Facebook, but do we communicate with others and make sure they are doing alright? Do we connect with them and enjoy their successes? Do we support them during times of struggle?

I know there is research about the dopamine that is released when a post receives likes and although I have not done a lot of reading on the topic, it is an area that interests me.  Life is wonderful and joyous, but it is also hard.  My life is filed with hilarious moments.  Toddlers have a way of adding joy, but they also bring moments of frustration.  This is real life, not the candy coated version we often see on social media.

It might be time for me to take a break from Facebook.  I know my family and friends appreciate seeing pictures of my family, but at times the level of frustration out weights the positives. It is time to text, e-mail or maybe even call people and connect with them instead of relying on Facebook and likes.

How do you balance connecting and sharing on social media?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Reflections While On Maternity Leave

I feel like my life is either busy or boring.  I am either running around trying to take care of many responsibilities or I am "relaxing."  I don't get a lot of time to relax and maternity leave is supposed to be time for me to relax, recover and adjust to a new baby.  Although it is nice to spend time catching up on TV shows and having time to work, I am finding the calm pace to be challenging at times.  Over the course of the past four weeks I have had time to reflect and think about teaching and life in general and I know I will learn even more in the next three week.  This is what I have learned/thought about so far...

  • I should enjoy each day and moment and not live for vacations, weekends or time off of work.
  • I need to learn to take care of myself during moments of calm and busyness. 
  • I need to find time for myself: learn something new and take care of my health.
  • I need to be intentional about the time I have with family.
  • It does not need to be fancy, but each day should include some family activity (a walk, the park...)
  • Each day needs to include reading and writing. 
  • Time spent doing Bible Study needs to be a cornerstone of each day.
  • I need to remember to focus on what is really important (that is not how many things are left on my To Do List.)
  • I need to remember to enjoy the little things ever when life is crazy.
  • I need to live life based on principles not feelings.
  • Life is constantly changing. 
  • Enjoy the Journey.

I'm Just Me...

Most people compare themselves to those around them. I know I do.  Social Media, specifically Facebook, makes these comparisons even more difficult for me.  Everyone posts their happy pictures, bright moments of their lives and all the great things that are happening.  Rarely do we get a true glimpse of the struggle and challenges.  All of these happy moments make it easy for me to feel like my life does not measure up to what I see on Twitter and Facebook.  I have not created a chat, written a book or started a business.

These are some of the comparisons that I am struggling with right now.
  • Husband gets to sleep. I'm up with the baby.
  • Classroom teacher has prep, but I have to drive to another school.
  • S/He has a better job than I do. (I am "just) a teacher.)
  • They are more successful/more important.
  • They have better friends than I do, they are always going to games/concerts...
Comparisons steal joy from life and make it impossible to enjoy life.  I am trying to make a conscious effort to not spend as much time on Facebook.  At times I find Twitter to be overwhelming, but most of the time I find it very helpful. Facebook is where I struggle the most with comparisons.  

How do you deal with the comparing yourself to others?  How do you limit your Social Media access?

What is the Goal

In education it seems we are always looking for the best curriculum, technology or teaching strategies to use in our classrooms and schools.  There are many different options and each of them comes with their own set of success stories.  The same is true for other areas of my life.  I am excited to work out again after many months off and I was creating my plan I realized that there are so many choices. 

How can I possibly know which is it the best?  This reflection reminded me of all the technology tools that are available.  There are so many choices and the most important thing is that the technology we use aligns with our goals and what we want to accomplish in our classrooms.

There is no one correct answer. There is no magic tool that will fix all of my problems.  The main question should be, what do I want to accomplish?

Fitness encompasses many aspects. When thinking about a fitness plan it is vital to think about what you want to accomplish. This was an "ah ha" moment for me recently. As an athlete, it was always simple. I wanted my workouts to make me better for my sport. Now as an adult, things are a bit more complicated. I don't have a sport dictating what I need to do.

My fitness goals include increasing my flexibility and becoming stronger.  I enjoy running so that will also be  a main part of workouts.  My main goal is to be in shape so I can play with my kids.

Fitness Goals
Overall Strength

Chosen Activities
Body Weight Exercises (ex. XBOX workouts)

What are your goals?  What tools are available to help you reach your goals?