An Exercise in Gratitude

Some days are difficult.  Today was one of those days.  To pull myself out of the negativity that surrounds me, I am going to reflect on the things that happened today for which I am grateful.

  1. Bella’s daily hugs-Everyday she blesses me with a hug as she enters my room and a hug as she exits my room.
  2. Engaged, happy students-Today my learners worked on using the Chrome Music Lab to create songs and add them to their blogs.  They were completely immersed in the experience!
  3. A laugh with my neighbors-Believe it or not, the building next door to me is my dentist’s office, and he and his staff are the best neighbors.  I had a routine appointment after school.  We talked, laughed, and caught up.
  4. Giving good news-I was able to share with a teacher of record that her student is doing great.  In fact, his jolly nature made lots of people feel joyful today!
  5. Chatting with friends-I was able to speak with two primary teachers today before school.  They are friends, as well as prayer warriors, and I am grateful to chat briefly with both of them.  I also chatted for a very brief moment after school with a dear long-time colleague and friend.
  6. Fresh air and sunshine-I was able to enjoy the sunshine on my face at recess.
  7. Jeans week-I am wearing jeans to work all week to help the fundraising efforts for Dollars for Scholars.
  8. Dinner-My husband cooked a delicious dinner on this busy evening.  I am indeed blessed.
  9. Teach Write-Tuesday evenings with the most awesome writing group ever…priceless!

My positive experiences today definitely outweigh the negative.  For that, I am grateful.

Nature Therapy

“Into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”- John Muir

When the stress of life (or the end of the school year) becomes too much, I make my way to the woods. Nature, in all its beauty and vibrancy, always puts everything in perspective.
With all of the rain in the area this spring, everything is especially lush and full of new life.

 I love the colors and textures of spring and summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Strawberry

Evidence of animal life is everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pond and wetland areas are also teaming with life.

Tadpoles of various stages of development are everywhere in this small pond!

 

This lone turtle is enjoying the late morning on the log. Usually this log is covered with turtles.

 

Look closely.  Do you see what I see?

This little guy is well-hidden!

There is so much beauty in the woods.

Fern

 

Trillium

 

May Apple

 

Bald Cypress Tree with Knees

 

Beautiful reflection even with the breeze!

My spirit is light and happy.  I look forward to visiting again soon and seeing what changes have taken place since my last visit!

Finishing May Strong

Steaming coffee mug in hand, I pause to greet the day as it begins to greet me with its lovely pinks and shades of light and dark.  I stop for a moment-just a moment-to notice the calm and quiet of a still slumbering neighborhood and acknowledge the promise of this new day.  I inhale deeply and exhale slowly.  I lift my mug and shut my eyes to fully savor the aroma and taste of the coffee and the way this peaceful moment feels.  I take one more deep inhale and slow exhale.  I offer a little word of gratitude for this moment of quiet and centering before the chaos of the school day begins.

May and December are the toughest months for me.  These months are so chaotically busy.  I feel whipped this way and that with no break in between.  By the time each month comes to an end, I am utterly exhausted and often have an upper respiratory infection or other illness.

So I have been doing what I can to build up my defenses to finish this May strong and positive.

  • I seek and savor small moments of quiet, solitude, and beauty.
  • I try to be mindful to eat more plants and less salty or sugary junk, although when stressed this is difficult.
  • I look for ways to get a few extra steps in each day.  It helps.
  • I keep a gratitude journal.
  • I strive to make time for things that matter most, like family and writing.
  • Finally, I tell myself, “This, too, shall pass.”

It’s May, and I want to finish the school year strong.  With some extra attention to self-care, I think I can.