Making Connections at the Gym

Yesterday, I unveiled my “one little word” for 2019 – CONNECT.  I want to be more intentional about the connections I already have or plan to create in my life this year.

Some of you know that I began attending a gym about four years ago.  I was looking for something that I would enjoy going to, someplace or someone to hold me accountable.  I was looking for something beyond the “box gyms” and all of their equipment.  I had the same equipment at home and I never used it.  I found a Groupon for Prime Fitness and decided to check it out.  Prime became exactly what I was looking for! With Prime, I found my tribe.

Eric, one of the co-owners, just began a podcast and I’m honored that he asked my friend Greselda and me to be his first guests on The Prime Fitness Project.  Take a listen to hear about my health and fitness journey so far.  My hope is that you will hear my story, and while your story might be different, you might find a connection in some way.

I also read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis over winter break.  What a motivating force to be reckoned with. I appreciate Rachel’s candor with the lies that women tend to tell themselves.  She is relatable and I could connect to many of the lies she told herself.  It’s high time that women lift each other up.  It’s time that we become support systems for our sisters and we stop dragging each other down.  If you are looking for a little pick-me-up to start 2019 off on the right foot, check out Girl, Wash Your Face .

©2019 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

 

 

One Little Word for 2019

Happy New Year!

I truly can’t believe that it is 2019.  As the saying goes, “The days are long, but the years are short” and nothing screams that louder to me than the fact that it is 2019.  It feels like just yesterday that I graduated high school, yet, I attended my 25th reunion in 2018.  It feels like just yesterday that I began teaching, yet I am closing out my 20th year in education in 2019. It feels like just yesterday that we were blessed with our first-born, yet he turns 16 in February and will graduate high school in two short years.  So, yes, the saying is true, “The days are long, but the years are short!”

I reflected on all of this as I began to think about my “one little word” for 2019.  I want to be sure to continue to build long-lasting relationships with people in my life, both personally and professionally.  I want to make time for the things and the people that are important to me.  I want to cherish these long days and short years with my children as much as possible. So for these reasons, the word I chose going in to 2019 is CONNECT.

This year I chose a personal symbol as well.  Chloe gave me a beautiful necklace for Christmas this year of two links hooked together.  She told me it was symbolic of our love for each other, that even when we fight, we will always be connected!  I have taken the two links hooked together as my personal symbol for this year.  I want to make connections in every facet of my life.

Yesterday, I shared my 19 for 2019 visual.  I tried to tie some of my goals for 2019 into my “one little word”.  See, making connections already!

 

Looking Back to Move Forward in the New Year: 19 for 2019

I’m a goal setter and last year, after learning about 18 for 2018, I set 18 goals for 2018.  Now, while I pride myself on setting goals, I’m not the best at reaching all of my goals. . . yet! Today, I reflect on the goals I met, the goals I haven’t met. . .yet, and the goals I’m setting for myself for 2019.

18 for 2018

  • monitor sugar intake – During a challenge at the gym in September, I was able to successfully monitor my sugar intake for about 3 weeks.  Within those 3 weeks, I lost about 8 pounds, but more importantly, I was able to quit soda! I have not had a soda since September 18, 2018! 
  • get back in touch with creative side (craft, paint, re-purpose, etc.) I enjoyed many crafty activities in 2018, including beginning Pinterest Parties in which the participants create a craft based on a theme.    
  • weekend at Hotel Hershey (particularly the spa!) I was not able to schedule this in for 2018, so it’s on my list for 2019. 
  • create accent wall in basement We did create an accent wall out of reclaimed wood in the basement.  
  • say “yes” to my kids more I tried this, but I’m not sure I was incredibly successful! 
  • Family Fun Friday Night once a month This, unfortunately, fizzled out pretty quickly in early 2018. 
  • finish 3 puzzles and frame them Never even took the puzzles out of their boxes. 
  • bi-monthly adult evenings out We were fairly successful at this.  I forgot to keep count, but there were several times that we went out with other couples in 2018
  • plan family weekend trip to Philadelphia I wasn’t able to schedule this for 2018, so it’s on my list for 2019.
  • date night once a month We were able to get several date nights in during 2018, but I don’t think they were monthly.  
  • clean out email in-box (this is a doozy!!) I did not get to this, so it is on my 2019 list. 
  • be in touch with long-time friends I did an OK job with this, but I want to do an even better job in 2019
  • read every day (2017 was not my best reading season) I did not read every day and 2018 wasn’t my best reading season either.  I’ve set a new reading goal for 2019.
  • increase weight when strength training I started increasing the weight, but I stopped weight training regularly.  I hope to get back to it in 2019.
  • watch Big, Little Lies I binge watched the first season and hope to be able to binge watch the 2nd season when it comes out in 2019.
  • write EVERY day I was unsuccessful at this, but hope to find, no make, more time for writing in 2019.
  • create family photo albums I created one family photo album.  ONE!  
  • organize home library I was unsuccessful at this in 2018, so have added it to my 2019 goals.  

 

And here are my 19 for 2019

I hope that you are able to take some time to reflect on your 2018 and project what you would like to see in 2019.  As the ball drops tonight on another year lived, I am hopeful that you find exactly what you are looking for in the new year!

I Did Something Scary a Few Weeks Ago

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 9.31.01 AMA few weeks ago, I did something scary.  I made myself vulnerable to our staff in a meeting.  I opened up about my adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

In the late 1990’s, a doctor from the CDC and a doctor from Kaiser Permanente set out to find connections between childhood experiences and lifelong health.  They created a questionnaire and sent it to over 17,000 people in the Kaiser network.  The results were astounding.  The more adverse childhood experiences a person had, the more likely they were to have health issues.  Someone with an ACE score of 4 had twice the risk of heart disease and cancer.  Those with an ACE score of 6 or more, on average had 20 years lower life expectancy.

Of course, ACE scores don’t tally the positive experiences in early life that can help build resilience and protect a child from the effects of trauma.  Having a grandparent who loves the child or a teacher who understands and believes in the child may help mitigate the long-term effects of early trauma.

So why did I share this information with our staff?  Because many of our students are living with adverse childhood experiences right now.  How can the adults in the building help?  First, we need to be aware of the types of trauma that our students may be living with.  Then, we need to arm ourselves with strategies to help our students build resilience and coping skills.  If each staff member is “the one” for at least one student enduring trauma in the building, think about the impact we can make!

My ACE score is 4.  Thankfully, I had two teachers who took me under their wing and helped to mitigate the long-term effects of my early trauma.  I’m fully aware that my life could have gone in a different direction.  I’m also acutely sensitive to the trauma that our students endure, as a result of my own trauma.

Last week, I finally had a chance to sit down and read Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.  This is a timely and profoundly important memoir, that unfortunately too many of our students will see themselves in.  But, that is exactly why it is a necessary book for our middle school and high school students.

Students who are living in a similar situation will see themselves in this graphic novel and will see how Jarrett was able to overcome his childhood trauma.  Other students will read Hey Kiddo! and will become aware of situations that some of their friends may be going through, perhaps building some empathy for their classmates.

Think about the students in your classroom or building.  Do you know them?  I mean really know them?  Do you know the trauma that some of them may endure in their homes?  As we close out 2018 and begin to edge into 2019, I will think about how I can “be the one” for the students in my building. I hope you will do the same.

©2018 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Family Fun Nights

IMG_3620Last year, I wrote a post about “last times”.  In it, I reflected on the sadness that I feel when participating in “last time” events with my kids.  A few weeks ago, I developed a visual of my 18 for 2018.  One of the items on my visual is “Family Fun Friday Night” once a month.  That is one of my ways to make sure that as the kids get older and want to start doing things with friends, that we have one Friday night a month that is for our family.  We are each responsible for planning the evening for three different months in 2018.  Each person is able to plan Family Fun Friday for their birthday month and then we are randomly choosing the remaining two months.

Chloe chose January and last night was our first Family Fun Friday Night!  She did a great job in planning. She decided that we were going to have an evening in and she told us that we needed to wear our pajamas (my kind of girl!).  Then, we had game night.  She had us play three different games, and even though her brother complained about having to spend so much time with us, I think that he secretly enjoyed himself, too!

Our schedules are so crazy these days, and my friend Donalyn Miller once said that we make time for what is important — she was talking about reading, but I have a feeling she will agree that family is important, too! It is with that attitude that I wanted to create something where the four of us set aside the outside world for a few hours and just concentrated on bonding as a family.  Our first evening was a success!  Clark is in charge of planning the February evening, because February is his birthday month.  I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us!

 

 

One Little Word 2018

As on reflect on the year 2017, I recognize that it seems to have gone by in a blur.  As I began 2017, I had plans to live with more intention.  While my year certainly started off that way, it most certainly did not end that way, as evidenced by my five blog posts for the year.  What the heck??

I feel like 2017 was the year of pinning my life against the target of time.  There just never seemed to be enough of it.  But, isn’t that always the way?  So, 2018 will be the year I take my time back.

I want to make time to make memories with my family, to write regularly, to paint often (a newly discovered enjoyment), and to have clarity.

So, with all of that being said, my focus for 2018 is to CREATE.

In order to live with intention around my focus, I’ve also created a map of 18 for 2018.  Hopefully, these two visuals will help the planner in me CREATE action!    IMG_3657

 

18 for 2018

IMG_3658About 7 years ago, I made a “40 for 40” list.  My intention was to achieve all 40 items on my bucket list by the time I turned 40.  However, on my 40th birthday, I had only achieved 1/4 of my list.  But, that’s ok. I’ll just add 10 more and turn it into my “50 for 50” list.  I have seven and a half more years to accomplish those!

A few weeks ago, on the Happier podcast, someone mentioned that they had a list of 35 items they wanted to accomplish during their 35th year.  Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft, the podcast hosts, adapted that line of thinking and decided to create a list of 18 for 2018.  I have followed suit.

I am a planner. Last year, at the last minute (and therein lies the problem for a planner!), I decided to create a “one little word” post that was meant to be my focus for 2017.  However, I chose the word, but there was little follow through, because I did not have a plan.  This year, I created my 18 for 2018 vision map first.  My 18 choices led me to my one little word, which I will reveal tomorrow.

A New Year is always a time for reflection, projection, and action.  As I reflect on 2017, I realize how chaotic (in my mind) the year became.  I feel like I lost a lot of time to meaningless things.  There are certain things in my life that become time sucks and I need to change that.  I need to reframe my thinking and start projecting.  My vision map for 2018 is my projection for the year.  And having a vision will help me take action!

I hope all of you have a wonderful start to your new year, and achieve all you set out to in 2018!