Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Challenge to Reveal

As I start my winter break, I have time to thoughtfully respond to a challenge that has been handed to me by both Rhoni McFarlane (@rhonimcfarlane) and Andrew Sharos (@AndrewSharosAPT). Never one to pass up a challenge, especially by two amazingly gifted educators, I am happy to reveal a little bit of myself to the world on this blog post.


  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
11 Random Facts About Me
  1. My pinky fingers are crooked, pointed inwards at about a 45 degree angle. I am bow fingered. 
  2. When I was 6, my mom vacuumed my hair up in a cleaning frenzy. It took her about forty-five minutes to unwind the vacuum from my scalp. Surprisingly there was minimal physical or physiological damage done. 
  3. I attended four different high schools and had a quick stint with home schooling.
  4. I have stood inside the prison cells of Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. 
  5. When I was 18 I had my palms read by a gypsy women. She told me I would marry a man in the military who wears a blue uniform, and he would be “ahead of me in many years.” My husband spent 10 years the Air Force and is 9 years older than me... 
  6. I hate being scared. More than that though, I hate when I am falsely frightened. The only thing worse than feeling fear is realizing you are not really being attacked, having your home broken into, or about to see a ghost, but that you are just a wimp. 
  7. Stars are one of the most beautiful things I could ever imagine seeing. 
  8. I turned down an opportunity to live and teach in India when I received a job offer to teach in Baltimore City. I still have mixed feelings about that decision.
  9. I am incapable of staying awake through an entire movie.
  10. I hate cold weather. I do not care for the seasons changing. I just want warm weather all year round.
  11. I am addicted to caffeine. I drink between 4-6 cups of coffee during my work day. I drink red bull on my commute home. I am unwilling to critically look at this habit with any level of honesty or acknowledge how excessive this may be.

Rhoni and Andrew's Questions

1. Where is somewhere you have always wanted to travel?
I have always wanted to travel to India, Peru, The Galapagos Islands, and New Mexico.

2. What is something you keep that you should really throw out?
I have a pair of suede Adidas Gallezes that I purchased as a senior in high school. I will probably wear them until the the soles have holes. That hasn't happened yet...

3. What do you wish you did more of?
I wish I traveled more often.

4. Who is someone that you are grateful for but never tell them enough?
My sister. She is brilliant and beautiful. I am not good at communicating my gratitude to her.

5. What is your favorite quote about education?
"Create the things you wish existed." 
(This is really just a quote about life, but I think it applies to my views on education as well)

6. What are you most passionate about in life?
I am most passionate about connections and relationships. The people in my life, our conversations and connections, these things passionately drive and inspire me. I find myself yearning to build better connections, small and large, every day of my life. 

7. What is your favorite Sunday activity?
Family dinner with my parents, siblings, and our significant others. 

8. Who inspires you the most?
Recently, Amber Johnson, my teaching neighbor. She is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met. She pushes my thinking, models extraordinary love for our students, and is one of the most creative thinkers I know. Plus, she is just a fantastic woman, great listener, and makes me laugh. I strive be better in all these areas, and she inspires that growth in me.

9. What advice would you give to someone interviewing for a job?
Be confident. If you are sitting in the interview chair, the company has already decided they like you. Prove them right!

10. What will classrooms look like in 20 years?
In 20 years I hope classrooms will are a thing of the past. I hope learning will be mobil and experience-based, taking place in the world in which we actually live. I hope schools will enable kids to learn in a variety of spaces that do not resemble our current classroom, but are more of a large home or community center.

11. Most significant historical event/sporting moment you've seen "live" in person?
The events of 9/11 are, unfortunately, the most significant historical event I have lived through. I was 15 years old and, to this day, I still have trouble communicating my emotions and reactions to those events.

Your Turn to Reveal

Below are 11 educators/bloggers that I am challenging to answer my questions.  I have nothing but respect for this group of people, and I hope they will reveal a little bit more about themselves with their posts!

11. Matt Goode

My Questions for You

I have to admit, I am cheating here. These questions were created by Ms. Johnson's 6th grade humanity students during their unit "What does it mean to be human?"  These are the big, beautiful questions our students are asking, so I figured it wouldn't hurt for us to try and figure out a few of them here. Good luck!

1. What was an experience that changed your life?
2. If you could go back in time, what would you change?
3. Have you ever been heartbroken?
4. What keeps you going in life?
5. What is something that you are not proud of?
6. If you were able to do something good for the world, what would it be?
7. What age do you think was your best age? Do you think you would want to be that age again?
8. What was the most painful moment in your life?
9. Are you proud of yourself?
10. If you could have something back, what would it be?
11. What’s happening in the world that you are completely against?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Beauty in Sharing

"It is with you that I discover me."

The world is full of beauty. All around us there are magnificent wonders to take in, scaled both small and large. Often, I miss the small moments. Call it oversight, call me absent minded. Usually, I am just too consumed with my own concerns to see what is in front of me at any given moment. 

Recently, I was given a challenge: Find something beautiful that is right in front of you. My perspective shifted as I was observing my everyday world. I began to see beautiful things all around me. Things I looked at everyday, for years, took on a new shape. I was taken aback by the small details I had been missing for so long. The colors in a mural. The architecture on the church out my window. The sky over the park. How could I have missed so much for so long? 

Once I began to see the world around me, something strange happened within me. I was unable to keep this beauty to myself. I felt compelled to share my view with the people around me. This beauty, quiet and divine, was incomplete left in my hands, yet grew in strength when given away to another. Together, when shared, the stunning knowledge and observations of the world around us multiples. 

In our connected world, let us not forget to see the beauty in our own spaces. The small moments of smiles, nature, thoughts shared, and laughter. What is your perspective in your daily life and is it beautiful enough to share with others? What small details are you missing? What is left overlooked that is shinning to be seen?

As the craziness of the winter holidays rushes us through our days, I will vow to take time slow down, to pay attention to the small moments. In these moments, I will be selfless enough to reach out and give it away to another. It is through sharing that true beauty is revealed, pure hearts are shown, and we are able to learn the most about our own humanity.