Looking for the Blessings of God's Goodness

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yes, I'm That Obnoxious Person...Sorry!

Have you ever been in a public gathering, conference, maybe even church and seen a person typing on their phone/device and you annoyingly think, "Can't that person put their phone away and focus just for a little bit?!?"

News flash! I'm one of these obnoxious people but unlike you think, I AM focussing my mind with my device! I'm a kinesthetic person that needs to be involved in what I'm experiencing. My career puts me in front of people constantly interacting day in and day out, so when I have to sit still and try to focus, I have to engage my mind with what's being said or "grasshopper thinking" and constant yawning usually ensues. I used to take paper notes, but then I would lose the notes or forget to bring my journal I was taking notes in, so I took to using my device to keep electronic notes. I especially love tweeting my thoughts because I considered, "If it was meaningful to me, could it also be meaningful to others?" Notes plus helping other...makes sense to me!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"You Matter".... Do I Really Matter?

This weekend I had an excellent time at #TCCA16 in Houston, Texas, and yes, I was tweeting about many challenging ideas Angela Maiers said in her keynote as well as other presenters throughout the conference. I knew I needed to flesh out these provoking thoughts if I truly wanted to put into action true change. I headed to my tweets as I reflected and considered an action plan for moving forward.
From the time I was born, I was always told what to do, how to do it, what not to do, etc. and NO, there was no debating an issue. Being the middle child, I acquiesced, not only because I wanted to please others, and I didn't want to stir the waters, but I was also afraid of what would happen if I didn't obey. As I became an adult, I internally sensed this wasn't right, but I didn't have the courage to voice this disagreement till I got on my own and purposefully displaced these types of negative influencers in my life. Even on my own, I had to fight different entities for my voice and the ability to be me no matter what others thought. For the last ten years of my life, even though it may have been difficult and lonely at times, I have learned to be proactive about being me despite some strong odds. Yes, I've dealt with internal battling about what I perceive others may be thinking about me, but I'm immensely determined to be me and deny pressures from others to be anything different.

These were the thoughts I mulled over as I considered one of Angela's first thoughts. "Teachers, all you need to do is be fiercely and fully you!" She's absolutely right about the fierce part! In today's education world, there is so much pressure to be many things as teachers, things that may go directly against who you truly are. I respectfully yet firmly refuse to do this, not out of rebellion, but out of respect to myself. I've come a long way from being that little impressionable girl, but now I think of myself as a graciously firm individual passionately intent on being me. Not only is it emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting to try and be all things to all people, but it will NEVER work. Since moving to Texas and turning my life upside down, I've digressed in this important focus, but as I'm getting my feet back under me, I've slowly been readjusting. Angela's words on Saturday where a mental spark that I needed to fiercely plant my feet firmly in the ground and renew my focus to be ME ~ nothing else...period!

"You matter." I know the phrase, and I love the passionate voice of Angela Maiers and others who promote this invaluable perspective. Sure, I believed it, but in all honesty, I struggle truly believing it...making it a "heart knowledge," not just a "head knowledge." I tell my students they matter, but as Angela said, "Can you really help students understand they matter if you don't truly understand that you matter. Time for an honesty check!

A major struggle I have is thinking that others don't need me in their lives and that I don't matter. At school and in life, I continually give to my students and others, but I don't feel as if anyone has a thought about my wellbeing, needs, or concerns. I don't say this selfishly because I know that if I were to mention this to certain people in my life, they would be more than willing to reach out. But, in my heart I wonder if reaching out "when asked to" is the same as knowing I matter to them without having to ask for something? I have family and friends I never hear from unless I call to connect. Does this lack of communication and connecting mean that I matter or don't matter to them? If something matters to you, shouldn't there be a conscious activeness to show value and meaning towards that person? My norm is that my phone will rarely ring bringing personable conversations for days and sometimes weeks unless I first reach out to make it happen. Life is busy. Everyone has their jobs and families, life gets hectic with schedules. I've come to accept all this. But still, I'm left wondering, do I really to matter to the people that know me.

In considering my own heart and mind while reflecting over Angela's challenge of mattering, one of the words that stood out to me the most was choose. My ability to matter cannot depend on how someone may or may not treat me. I matter because I choose to matter. I can make a difference because I choose to make a difference. I may struggle in knowing if I really matter to people, but there is no in between ground in choosing to matter. I know this choice is a daily decision that some days I may not feel like making, but ultimately, I matter because I choose to matter! Thank you Angela for your inspiring words to challenge my heart and mind!

Below are more tweets that stood out to me during this powerful keynote!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Whoa! What Happened to my Life?!? Everything's Upside Down!

"I really need to blog more" is an understatement since my blog title indicates such extremeness. To say my life has been turned upside down is not an exaggeration! I wish I had the discipline to be a consistent blogger (a challenge one day I will accomplish!). For you who have followed my journey through social media, you know some of what is going on, but for others, let me give you the cliff notes version:
  • I sold my house, left South Carolina and moved to Texas in exactly one month this summer.
  • I'm back in apartment living :(
  • I moved from a district office position as Director of Instructional Technology back into the classroom under an amazing principal I saw doing excellent things at his school and in his sphere of influence. I knew I wanted to be a part of this type of organization, so I was willing to take the risk to step back into the classroom to work with this type of leader and have potential amazing opportunities in the future.
  • I left an established state education PLN that I loved and decided to reach for connecting and building relationships with my national Twitter PLN I had grown to love.
  • I'm basically rebuilding my entire life over again, thankfully not as a twenty year old, but as a wiser adult using my life experiences to make this transition much easier.
  • To say I'm totally excited and immensely scared to death makes no sense, but represents my heart and mind right now.

There's more, but that catches you up on the highlights. This life transition happened in the beginning of August, so I'm reflecting back almost 90 days into the experiences of my new life. I'm still considering my thoughts about everything, but here's just a couple:
  • Did I REALLY move to Texas? I know I drove 17 hours (split up between two days) and there are blatant signs of Texas all around me as I travel the state, but I still don't feel like I'm in Texas...hmmm, I guess this will come with time. I'll tell you how I feel about this perspective after traveling back and forth from Texas to South Carolina a couple times.
  • I LOVED the experience of leading a whole district in their transition to the digital world! It gave me great joy to help reshape teacher's mindsets about technology in the classroom. Digital transformation through becoming a Google for Education district, rolling out 1:1 Chromebooks, and sharing my passion for instructional technology was what I had trained so many years to accomplish. Was I stepping backwards by going back into the classroom. Absolutely not! I viewed this new season of life as potential stepping stones for even greater platforms to share my enthusiasm and passion for instructional technology. I'm just in a holding pattern waiting with great anticipation to see what the Lord does with my future.
  • Moving back to the classroom has been challenging, but there are so many positives from this move; I know it's only going to mold me into an even greater leader in my profession. First, I am so much more mindful and respectful of teacher's time when I recommend technology ideas and perspectives. It is so easy for district leaders to pass down initiatives (sometimes unknowingly and sometimes not) showing a lack of respect for the teacher's hard work and job stressors. To much is being pushed down onto teachers, and I firmly believe this would change if district office administrators had to go back into today's classroom. Second, technology has drastically changed since the two and a half years I was in the classroom! I'm grateful to have the opportunity to personally implement all the amazing things I used to recommend to teachers as well as to be able to restock my experience tool belt! Finally, the children, while challenging at times, bring a component to my life that my nurturing heart wants to embrace. My students are truly like adopted children that I get to love and pour my heart into. I get to make a difference and be a change maker in their lives.
  • I need community, people to live life with experiencing the ups and down, joys and disappointments, encouraging each other as we do this thing called life together! As a single girl, I have found it's extremely difficult to build community, and it's something I have to proactively pursue. Many of the weekends I've been in Texas, I've experience excellent opportunities, more than SC could offer, to come together with fellow educators to communicate and collaborate about a wide spectrum of information, but especially about my passion, instructional technology. I have LOVED this part of being in Texas! Also, I'm grateful for a fellow teacher who invited me to a ladies Bible study that I've been able to join and be a part of one day a week to help build a community basis. But there's still a desire and great need for more! When you live life alone, there are many struggles of loneliness and hopelessness that can to easily creep in if you're not careful. I've seen lives destroyed from this and know this is the reason I have to proactively search for community!
I know that part of the beauty of life is sharing each other's struggles and successes bringing hope and encouragement as we live life together. How many others are experiencing struggles that I can encourage through sharing? Finally, even if no one else reads this post, I know building my focus for what needs to be accomplished is a must! So, as I rest in my front porch chaise enjoying my beautiful potted plants, the fluffy wispy clouds and pastel blue skies, I contemplate my next steps! :)

#Grateful #Thankful #KeepInspiring