How will you STOP in 2016?

HNY2A group of fifth grade writers meet monthly with me to ponder life, share ideas, and enJOY general conversation about all manner of topics.  We sat down before the holiday break to reflect on our new resolutions, one word goals, and more…our chance to start fresh, leave the past behind, and move forward in a positive way.  The interesting consensus of the group during this discussion was how a new year takes great courage, strong conviction, and a growth mindset to move forward because the best is yet to come!

During the course of our conversation, we also noted how important it is to STOP doing things no longer in our best interest.  Here are a few of their thoughts to STOP in 2016:

1.  Stop telling everyone everything on social media.  Leave some things to chance and imagination.

2.  Stop comparing yourself to others and worrying about what others think.  March to your own drummer and the positive path you create.

3.  Stop focusing on self and more on others; help others and be good to each other…kindness matters!

4.  Stop making everything a competition in life.  Compete with your best self and not with others.  Make your choices, accept responsibly, and deal with the consequences (good and bad) of your choices.

5.  Stop being like others; own who you are, where you are, and tell YOUR story in a caring manner.  There is only one “YOUnique” you…  :-)

6.  Stop fearing failure; no one has it all figured out because nothing in life is perfect, especially on the first time.  Failures bring powerful clarity and change in the most positive way; embrace failure to find personal success.

HNY2016I think they’re on to something amazing as we close out 2015 and move boldly forward in 2016 at LME!  Here’s hoping you create your own STOP list as the old year washes away and the new year begins.  Happy New Year!

May you always have enough…

As we gathered together with family and friends to share in thankful celebration this past week, these words of my Granny B. reminded me of the real blessings in life:

May you always have enough…

  • happiness to keep you sweet,busyhands
  • trials to keep you strong,
  • sorrows to keep you human,
  • hope to keep you JOYful,
  • failure to keep you humble,
  • success to make you eager,
  • friends to give you comfort,
  • wealth to meet your needs,
  • enthusiasm to look for tomorrow,
  • faith to banish worry, and
  • determination to make each day better than before! 

It is important to teach our children to share and embrace the gratitudes of daily life (along with the necessary coping skills to deal with life too).  Allowing their “busy hands” to assist, to explore, and to share in the work builds strong character traits (like trust, respect, responsibility, service and more).

Thanks for walking the journey with us; thanks for sharing your most valuable blessing, your child, with us!  It’s the start of the holiday season but may we always remember to focus on our priorities and remember we always have enough…

Sharing the Bread…

It’s no secret Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; the students are always commenting about it.  :-)  While milling through the bookstore recently, I came across a new gem to add to my ever-growing collection of Thanksgiving stories to feast upon:  Sharing the Bread…An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story.  Written by Pat Zietolow Miller and Jill McElmurry, this heartwarming story shares how an American 19th Century family prepares a delicious feast together, one not very different from what we eat today.

th“Mama, fetch the cooking pot.  Fetch our turkey-cooking pot..  Big and old and black and squat.  Mama, fetch the pot…”

“Grandma, bake your pumpkin pie.  Whip the topping light and high.  High enough to reach the sky.  Grandma, bake the pie…”

Each family member contributes to the growing meal, sharing their thanks while gratefully giving their service throughout the day.  Written in rhyme and filled with holiday spirit, it’s truly a mouthwatering read-aloud for any family to share.  Here’s hoping you find your treasured family traditions as the holidays begin once again!

Note:  Speaking of feasts, our annual LME Thanksgiving Feast is set for Wednesday, November 18th in our cafe during all lunches.  Please make your reservation now for this fun event. 

SYATP!

We have a strong group of student leaders at LME this year and today was most definitely a beautiful indication of this observation in action!  The fourth Wednesday of September this year marked the 25th anniversary of a global day of prayer started in 1990 with a group of ten students leading prayer around a school flagpole.   See You At The Pole (SYATP) is simply a student-led prayer rally before school outside the campus flagpole.

SeeYouAtPoleThe student-initiated, student-organized, student-led event at LME this morning lifted up friends, families, educators, schools, community members, and our nation in prayer.  From the beautiful gathering music and sounds of students singing to the power of joining hands in unison throughout the event, hearts and souls were united.  Special thanks to these student leaders, their supportive parents, and to all who chose to participate today…such a powerful way to start the first day of Autumn at LME this year!  :-)

Living Legacy

I had an amazing conversation today with our school’s namesake and decided to share her legacy once again…

Van Am Gram

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:  they want more things, more education, more money, more order in an attempt to do more of what makes them happy in life.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  This is the lesson Mrs. LaRue Miller teaches our learners daily.

LaRue Miller017 01Our school namesake reflects:  “You must first be who your really are and then do what you need to do in order to have what you need and want in life.”  It is interesting to note how Mrs. Miller’s philosophy rings true in the generations of lives she has touched through her teaching and volunteer legacy in Midlothian ISD.  While she would never admit it, she remains a critical part of something profoundly extraordinary because she was the catalyst.

Mrs. Miller will also tell you she is humbled and honored to have her legacy carried forth in the classrooms…

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A Pirate’s Life For Me!

As the noted American author, Mark Twain, wrote in Life On The Mississippi“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”  Our time to be pirates has come, LME!  In his powerful manifesto, Teach Like A Pirate, educator extraordinaire,, Dave Burgess, creates a treasure map for educators to consider for a passionately transformed, innovative, inviting, engaging, ticket-selling, empowering classroom learning environment.  Our LME staff along with the other MISD  elementary crews have spent Wednesday mornings this summer on Twitter (#tlapmidlo) sharing powerful pirate conversations, challenges, collaborative ideas, and much more; this professional learning network (PLN) is inspiring!

But why pitlapDaverates?  Educators don’t usually attack and rob classrooms (although great teachers “borrow” each other’s great ideas).  Dave shares:  “…teaching like a pirate has nothing to do with the dictionary definition and everything to do with the spirit of pirates.”

Consider:  Pirates are adventurous risk-takers, daring, and willing to set out into uncharted waters with little guarantee of success (like teachers).  Pirates don’t conform well to rules stifling their creativity and will travel to the ends of the earth for what they value most (like teachers).  Pirates travel with and wholly embrace a highly diverse crew (like teachers, who know parents send their best children).  Pirates live by a strict code, commit 100% to the voyage, and always pull their share of the load during the voyage no matter the “extra duties as assigned”  (like teachers).  Pirates are mavericks for change and seek alternative solutions to challenging situations on the high seas (like teachers).  Pirates passionately immerse themselves in the work, build rapport with each other, ask tough questions, and transform quickly to any situations (like teachers).  Besides, let’s face it; everyone likes pirates and we definitely need the true spirit of pirates in our educators today…ones who are willing and capable of captaining our school classrooms through the choppy and changing educational waters (especially in Texas)!

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll highlight part of our summer pirate journey for you so you know what to expect upon your return to LME in August.  We have also added lots of new pirates to our LME Crew this year, so we’ll introduce these outstanding folks to you.

Yes, it’s a pirate’s life for us this year!  As one of my favorite pirate characters observed, “Life’s pretty good, and why wouldn’t it be?  I’m a pirate, after all!” ~ Captain Jack Sparrow (aka, Johnny Depp).  Here’s hoping you AARRHHH ready for the pirate’s life at LME this year!   :-)

From the Top!

IMG_7909My view at 8,900 feet…worth the effort (and attitude) to achieve this breath-taking (literally) experience!  Making my way along the rustic Canadian Rockies trail of choice each day, I encountered some profound vistas and some important observations (ponderings); here’s what I gleaned from each pathway on this adventurous journey:

  1. Expand your horizons.
  2. Reach for new heights.
  3. ROCK on!
  4. Keep a sense of wonder.
  5. Rise above it all.
  6. Be an inspiration.
  7. Cherish wilderness.
  8. See beauty all around you.
  9. Patience, patience, patience.
  10. Be well-rounded.
  11. Be uplifting . . . and
  12. EnJOY life’s peaks and valleys!

IMG_8064Here’s to Summer 2015, the adventures, the lessons, the stunning moments (touching a receding glacier), and the memories…profoundly blessed to have my little two legs take me to unimaginable heights of pristine beauty.  Here’s hoping you have your own ponderings to share too!   EnJOY the rest of your time away LME friends; the school bell rings soon!  :-)