Secret Santa Sans Santa

Sorry for not posting yesterday, friends! I had a lovely trek into the big city during the winter snow “storm” and think I may have landed a pretty spectacular job. But enough excuses…This was supposed to fly yesterday…

Some of you may remember way back in the fall, when I joined Pocketful of Joules and some other bloggers in a Fall Secret Swap. Much like Secret Santa, we were secretly paired with another blogger, and sent them a little token of joy to brighten their day. Because EVERYONE loves mail. Don’t you?

I had a lot of fun with it the first time around (in which I sent The B(itch) a funky Chi-town poster and I received an AWESOME Nyan Cat scarf from Chewylicious), and decided definitely for sure, I was in for Round 2.

I forgot to give Joules my new contact information, so the package was delivered to the parents’ house this weekend. I was SUPER excited. When I finally got to open it up, I was even more stoked. A really awesome journal greeted me inside the mailing envelope. At first I thought, OMG. This matches my mug. The mug that was ALSO a Secret Santa gift from a couple of years ago that my dear friend, Carla, gave me (crazy right?)

inspirational coffee mug

Love this mug.

Upon further inspection when I arrived home (yeah, I may have opened it while driving home from the parents house…I mean…I was at a stoplight, MOM. Stop worrying), I realized that it was not a match, but still a complement to the mug…

inspirational journal

AWESOME.

OK, so I’m one of those people that is SUPER easy to buy for. I love EVERYTHING. Inspire me. Make me laugh. I’m easily distracted by sparkles and fluff and pink stuff. I would be entertained with a refrigerator box. That being said…This journal is AWESOME. My swapper done good.

She even wrote a little note on the inside (as anyone should do when they send a book or journal).

Journal message

Don’t worry, I’m a procrastinator too! And I have a lot of dreams…quirky ones and normal ones! 🙂 I hope they all come true too.

Seriously, I was the last swapper to mail out her gift last time. I felt bad, but it was REALLY hard to find the perfect gift for Heather [The B(itch)], a Chicago native.

Now, I’m supposed to GUESS who my swapper was…

After careful consideration, and sneakily stalking the locations of the potential Secret Swappers…I narrowed it down to Baby Shmizz and Mom-spirational…

And my guess is….

MOM-SPIRATIONAL

Let me know if I’m right!

Thank you so much to my swapper! I love the gift and can’t wait to use it!

Today’s Post is Dedicated to…

And you thought I would forget. I told you on Monday, that I was dedicating each blog post this week to a blogger or two and today is no different. (Yay for me meeting The Bloggess on Thursday!!!)

Pocketful of Joules

I was introduced to Joules, through Katie, when she started the blogger swap last fall. I love the blog, because she’s SO MUCH MORE than a mom-blogger. She has all sorts of crafty DIY home improvement projects, honest product reviews, an affection for marshmallows that can only be matched by my obsession with cheese…and she’s hilarious with a side of road rage. So, go visit Joules. And send her marshmallows. Because if someone were shamelessly plugging me, I’d want them to tell you to send cheese.

Happy Hump Day, Y’all! No WTF today! Just pure bloggie joy. And sloths.

Wednesday Sloth

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Greetings Blog Friends! Today I’ve got some amazing Friday fun for your! First, I’ve got Fiction Friday with the Fearless Fiction Femmes. If you’re looking for that post, my I direct you over to my newest fiction piece, The Rock. If you’re not particularly looking for it, I recommend it anyways, because fiction is FUN!

Next, you’ll note that I’m participating in a Secret Subject Swap, in which 15 bloggers around the globe submitted and answered random questions on their blogs. Thanks to Karen from Baking in a Tornado for putting this sweet gig together. Without further ado, here goes!

If you were allowed one do-over in life, what would it be?

submitted by: http://www.somethingclever2point0.com/

I pride myself on the fact that I don’t believe in regret. If I were going to do anything again, I like to think that I would do it all exactly the same. I truly believe in the butterfly effect, and that if I changed one hair on my head, one crumb on the floor, one butterfly in the garden, or one kiss on the cheek, my whole world would be completely and utterly changed.

And I like my world. Sure, I struggle with a little bit of depression. Sure, life has thrown me quite a few curve balls. But I have Brian. I have my family. I have my friends. And I have you.

Brian and Quirky Chrissy

This guy kinda makes my world go round.

Everything that I have done, everything that I will do, guides me as a creator and as a writer. I look back on the countless “mistakes” I made…and they all led me in the right direction. I am the person that I was always supposed to become. And I will never hope to be anything different. My life has shaped the person that I am. I eat fear for breakfast. With cheese. I write about my life. I write fiction. I create visions for myself and for my future. I have a plan. And I can only move forward from here.

So, if I were allowed one do over in life, I wouldn’t take it. Not for the world. Not for fame. Not for fortune. Not for anything. Not even for cheese. Because I can shape the rest of my life to get what I want…and this way, I’ll get to keep my people.

I leave you with this, Blog Friends– Instead of looking to the past, look to the future. What motivates you? What visions do you have? What will you do to make your life your own?

Hey! I’m not the only one with a secret subject! Go find the subject I created! I’ve listed the links to other Secret Subject Swappers below:

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

An Inspirational Teacher

While I was in the early stages of my M.A. in Education, I was assigned an interview project. Meet with a teacher in your future specialty, and find out about their take on teaching. Ms. Tanner was one of the two teachers that inspired me to teach high school English. Here is what I wrote:

I had the privilege to learn from one of my personal heroes her views and beliefs on teaching. Having been one of her students eight years ago, I am able to understand how she has become such an amazing teacher.
Prior to becoming a teacher at the age of 37, Ms. Tanner had many career changes; from factories, restaurants, and retail, to running her own advertising agency, she truly tried them all. At that time, she was provided with the opportunity to travel with a fifth grade class to France. She and the fifth grade teacher toured France with the children, while keeping them up to date with their schooling.  Ms. Tanner learned that she greatly enjoyed being with the students, as well as being in the classroom environment, so she decided that she would become a teacher.
After considering teaching fifth grade, and remembering that she wasn’t a fan of math or science, Ms. Tanner decided that she would prefer more specified subject matter. A journalism degree and her strength in English classes led her to teaching high school English, where she would be able to help run a student newspaper.
As a teacher, Ms. Tanner has many roles. First and foremost, Ms. Tanner is a role model and a listener. I can attest that she has inspired many students, including myself, who still think extremely fondly of her. She makes a point to know something about each and every one of her students. She takes their writing to heart and keeps the information confidential. She provides a shoulder to cry on for students who need someone to talk out their problems with. She shares in the excitement of students who have succeeded and want to tell her first. She still visits with students who have graduated, and takes joy in learning about everything in their lives. As I was sitting in her classroom after school, an old student of Ms. Tanner’s came to visit. As he spoke, she listened with her entire being, happy for his accomplishments, and sorry for his losses.
Ms. Tanner believes that “the classroom is a mirror.” The way you treat the students reflects back on you. If you treat them with kindness, respect, and trust, you will get that back to you. She also believes that it’s important to divulge a piece of herself to her class. One of the first things you learn about Ms. Tanner, is that she’s married to Keanue Reeves. Or at least that’s what she tells you.  A little humor and embarrassment can go a long way. Her classroom is full of possibilities.
Another role that Ms. Tanner takes on a daily basis is that of a disciplinarian. She describes herself as a “foot soldier in the trenches to convey the administration’s rules,” and a “prison matron for the warden.”  She also considers herself a facilitator and a guider of learning. Her job is to “expose students to opportunities for learning.” Over the years she learned that her job is to bring the horses to the water, but she can’t always force them to drink.  She is not in charge of the learning. She provides the tools and the knowledge to learn. Only the students can make themselves learn.
Ms. Tanner is a professional colleague. She is a resource for young teachers. She feels a sense of camaraderie with her fellow teachers. Ms. Tanner also considers herself a bookkeeper. She tracks everything from assignments and grades to tardies and truancies. She is one of the few remaining of her colleagues to still use a paper grade book. She feels it’s important to have everything in one place, accessible immediately.
The challenges of teaching are always present. Some days Ms. Tanner wants to be too mean. She wants to yell and scream about the small things. She recounted a recent experience about a student who didn’t do his work all semester, but when grades came out, he asked what he could do. She told me that she was probably too harsh in her response, and days later she softened, giving him an opportunity to improve his grade. She sometimes wishes she didn’t react quite so immediately.
With challenges, come rewards. Ms. Tanner divulges all the perks of being a teacher. She loves working with students. All of the rewards are student based. “Students are fun. Adults not so fun,” she tells me. She appreciates seeing all of the students who come to visit her and the people she’s helped. She had inspirational teachers in high school and hopes that she is doing the same. I know from experience that she is.
In the 17 years that she has been teaching, Ms. Tanner has learned one very important thing. She never stops learning. “There’s never a dull, boring moment in teaching,” she reveals. She learns about human nature, her contribution to her job, and there’s always something new to learn about the subject. She regularly learns new things about the pedagogy. She recalls visiting several schools that run on a block schedule, which her school was considering. She is always learning new ways to deliver instruction. She smiles when she tells me, “You never know what the day will bring.”
Since becoming a teacher, Ms. Tanner has never looked back. Her only regret is that she didn’t start sooner. She wishes that she had known at 22 that she would love being a teacher. Of all the careers and jobs that she has had, teaching is, by far, the most rewarding and best job she has ever had.  She fondly discusses how enriching the job has been for her. She shares with me that she has been to many graduation parties, weddings, baby showers, and even funerals. Because she never had any children of her own, she always feels as though her students are her children. Ms. Tanner puts her whole world into teaching, and from what it appears, she gets a world back.
 

Of course, inspiration from a truly great teacher does not a great teacher make, and teaching just wasn’t for me. As much as I loved working with the students, teaching was not what I hoped it would be. Ms. Tanner is still an encouragement, and I know that she’ll be proud, no matter which direction I take.  She has one of the rosiest, shiniest, happiest personalities in the whole world, and I’m proud to say that I know her.

To this day, when I chat with her, she’ll still call me Sunny or Sunshine, and I’m glad that she considers me a bright spot in her world of amazing students.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!