My Words for 2018

We are nearing the end of the first month of 2018. January. The month where every year we vow to make a change. January. The month where most of us spend more time visualizing the future than taking in the here and now. We make plans to recharge, refine good habits, drop bad ones, or perhaps altogether adopt new ideals with the use of a resolution. The month of January can sometimes carry a lot of weight to ensure that plans are upheld so that they can be continued on through the rest of the year. But a lot of times as we all know those well-intentioned resolutions fall by the wayside. So in an effort to avoid the feeling of having to face yet another failed resolution, this year I planned to take on a new approach which was to adopt a word that would carry me through all of 2018. This word would serve as my anchor through all of my thoughts, encounters, adventures, daydreams,  musings, and experiences that 2018 has in store for me. I began to think of the words that could handle the responsibility of encapsulating the hope that an entire year could bring.

The first word that came to me was “choices“. It’s an interesting word because in one sense it can relate to variety, as in a range of diversity. In another sense, the word relates to the act of making a selection from a realm of opportunities you may be faced with. I like to think of the word in the hopeful sense of what possibility may bring. Every day we are encountered with an overwhelming amount of choices. I find this to be true whether you’re dealing with weighing the pros and cons of considering a new life path or just walking the aisles of the grocery store – there are choices all around us. This can be a liberating feeling or sometimes it can feel downright stressful. As of late, I am surrounded by stories of people who are weighing the cost of choices that could change the course of their lives as they know it. I know that the process of considering choices can feel daunting, but for me, my hope for 2018 is that I face choices with bravery, excitement, and a clear head.

The second word that has resonated with me is “purpose“.  This word found its way into my life after reading Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden.  The poignant message this book sends across is to live your life filled with purpose. Two years ago Joe Biden’s son, Beau, passed away from a highly dangerous form of brain cancer. When he delivered the diagnosis to his father Beau made him promise to never worry, maintain a positive attitude, and above all always keep going as dire as the situation could become. The book displays the authenticity and humanity of a person who is faced with the heart-wrenching pain of seeing a loved one suffer but being able to maintain a promise to be strong and not lose sight of the dreams and potential for change to make the world a better place. We may not yet know what our future holds for us but with hope, perseverance, and humility,  we may be a little closer to finding our purpose. 

 I know that armed with these two words, choices, and purpose, I won’t just have a great month filled with resolutions, but a great year filled with enriching experiences, fulfilling relationships, and memorable lessons. Here’s to 2018.



The Road Ahead


Minnewaska State Park

Running has a lot of connections to life and it’s been something I’ve been thinking about more and more. Through my years of running, I have learned a lot about myself and how I can take that knowledge to become a better version of myself while on the road logging in miles and in the real world as a teacher, friend, and human being.

There are days when the runs feel easy, effortless, and as if I am one with the road ahead. But then there are days when I feel like I can’t take one more step and I just need to quit. I have learned over the years that the times when I have felt like giving up are the exact moments that are making me a stronger runner. This is just like in life. If something is easy how much reward is there to be had? There is so much to learn from the times when we struggle and perhaps fail to meet our goals but through that struggle we can uncover some important truths about ourselves.

As educators I think it is important to share our own stories about success and failure with our students. We can use our own lives as ways to teach our students the universal feelings of pride and determination when we meet a goal that we have been striving towards. For me, I have been continuing to learn a lot of those lessons on the road and I think I have become a better person in setting out on the road ahead.

It’s Never Too Late To Set A New Goal

I recently received an e-mail from WordPress notifying me that my yearly subscription fee would be due in a few months. It was at that moment that it dawned on me that I hadn’t posted on my blog site in more months than I would like to admit. After that e-mail sat in my inbox I began to question why it was that it had taken me so long to write on a platform that I once enjoyed so much.

I began to consider all the reasons why sitting down at the computer was starting to feel more like a chore than what was once a fun diversion for me. While I could convince myself that the summer months were meant to be spent outdoors rather than posting to my blog or that preparing for a new school year ate up all my free time, one truth kept nagging at my conscience that was difficult to avoid facing. The truth was that my initial motivation to create this blog was to share my passion for teaching and leadership, and what I began to realize over the last few months was that the spark had sort of fizzled out for me. I’m not sure exactly what prompted my temporary “burn-out” as I will call it but I will say that I know the only way to separate myself from this feeling is to move forward in both thought and action.

I find it simultaneously difficult and liberating to admit the truth to myself, let alone place it down on this blog post, but I feel that it’s necessary for me to move forward in being able to re-evaluate my current status as a teacher and consider the future choices that lie ahead in my career. So it was at 2 am this morning as I laid awake in bed that I realized I needed to admit this truth to myself so that I can begin to find what will reignite the curiosity, passion, and excitement again that I have for teaching and contributing to my blog. While I don’t have all the answers yet I am surprisingly excited by the prospect of not having it all figured out yet.

Who knew that a subscription reminder to WordPress would have such a profound effect on my thinking?

Thank you WordPress.

Navigating People and Ourselves


There is always a reason why certain people cross our paths and enter our lives. It may not be for long but the reason is always unique to where you or they are on their journey. Being able to understand and navigate people is an extremely complex skill, albeit an important one. As humans we are all flawed and have areas of ourselves that need some improvement. Some of us are fighting harder battles than others. To bring understanding to relationships it is important that we remember to be open to others. Being open requires an embrace to your self, your thoughts, your actions, your words, and your heart. The practice of being open is especially important in schools where emotions typically drive people’s motivations. Schools are places where trust and understanding should be the foundation for all relationships. It takes time to cultivate these environmental qualities, but with patience, love, and care a school most definitely can be a place where relationships are fostered and cared for.

My professor showed our class a Jelaluddin Rumi poem yesterday. We spoke about the importance of communication and understanding people’s motivations. In learning your own motivations and that of other people and being ok with potential differences that arise, we can learn to function from a place of understanding.I hope this poem brings you peace as it has for me.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-Jelaluddin Rumi

We Are A Constant Work in Progress

Today I watched President Obama’s speech that took place to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama. President Obama stood proudly at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge where 50 years ago hundreds marched to protest for the constitutional right to vote. The march on the Edmund Pettus bridge was one of three planned marches that would galvanize the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As I stood in my kitchen watching the speech live on CNN, I was struck at how far our country has come in terms of overcoming obstacles. On a day to day basis the time for a deep reflection on our nation’s history is not taken. The President so eloquently captured our nation’s most trying times and focused on the positive changes and growth we have made as a community of people.

The speech was powerful and poignant. The central message encompassed the work of not just a few, but of all Americans. The emphasis on the collective power of a group showed that together we can make amazing things happen. I know that today’s speech was directed towards all Americans on a day meant to commemorate the history that took place there 50 years ago, but it was the President’s call to young people that really struck me.

You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.” -President Obama 

I plan to keep these words close to me as I find them extremely inspiring. Empowering ourselves and empowering our young people to take the first steps toward positive change will undoubtedly affect the greater good of humanity.