Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013...Living Life as a Thank You

Continuing to work my renewment phase in 2013 with daily gratitude for the many gifts and blessings in my life.  There have been many challenges that arrived at our doorsteps this past year and into the New Year, but we continue to move forward with optimism and hope.

Enjoying these quotes from the book sent to me by a friend - Living Life as a Thank You by Nina Lesowitz & Mary Beth Sammons:

     "There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.
      The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

     "Gratitude is the intention to count your blessings every day, every minute, while
       avoiding, whenever possible, the belief that you need or deserve different
       circumstances." - Timothy Miller

     "Life is full of beauty.  Notice it.  Notice the bumblebee, the small child and the
       smiling faces.  Smell the rain, and feel the wind.  Live your life to the fullest
       potential, and fight for your dreams." - Ashley Smith

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vision for 2012

The Kaleidoscope is the image that represents my vision for 2012...

The power of participatory, connected learning organizations can be visualized symbolically through a kaleidoscope. 

I will stay connected to previous networks while connecting to new ones in 2012.

I will partner with individuals and organizations who care deeply about doing what is best for our Hispanic student population in Cleveland, Ohio. Students will graduate and have equal access to 21st century post secondary learning and choices. The connections we will make will be action driven.  Partners for the same cause will forge ahead to implement creative solutions that connect the individuals and organizations dedicated to improving education for Latino students in Cleveland, Ohio.

The outcomes of the collective and passionate work for kids can be visualized by turning a kaleidoscope and observing the creation of  colorful, vibrant and connected patterns.  As networks engage in the collaborative process, fragments of innovation will turn, spin and change - endlessly rearranging themselves in ways that connect ideas that will help Hispanic students to succeed beyond the traditional classroom walls.

In each kaleidoscope waits a world to be discovered.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gentle Reminders

It has been six months since I made the decision to leave my career pathway and embrace a road yet untraveled.  I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to experience this gift of time and reflection. I am frequently asked the question, "So what do you do with your time?"  I don't enjoy answering this question because my responses fail to capture the complexities of this next phase in my life.

Through my personal learning network I have encountered individuals who helped me revisit purpose and passion in life. Lisa Petrilli’s "Visionary Leadership Blog" and "The Introverts Guide to Success in Business and Leadership" eBook have inspired me to rethink how I can continue to work and partner with individuals and teams who are deeply passionate about innovative change and new ways of learning/leading for students teachers and administrators.  

Angela Maiers’ TEDx You Matter Video reminds me to consider two very powerful  words – YOU MATTER. These two words “can change your mood. They can change your mind.  They can change your heart.  These two words can change lives and the world if we understand them and we leverage them in the right way.”

I have learned that I can retire from a career,  but I will never retire my passion for change in this world!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saying "Yes" To Experiences

Continuing to read the book Smart Women Don't Retire - They Break Free. Refusing to go through the book in one clean sweep!
The authors of this book truly get it!  Their words and stories are making a difference.  Thinking through the powerful message below...

"Suzanne Braun Levine wisely says, "It takes time to break free.  It begins she emphasizes when we enter a fertile void where the things we have done before no longer apply, yet we haven't figured out how to replace them.  Entering this void as ambitious, competitive, agenda-driven women, we must learn, she says, to take the long, slow, deep breath - the gathering of strength that will lead us to a place where our priorities and goals are less rigidly managed and perhaps more deeply felt."

Made the decision to join The Transition Network today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Visit to Asia

My renewment journey led Al and me to Japan and China for three weeks.  Our visit went by so quickly, but we arrived home with treasured memories of China and Japan and their culture.  Our travels connected us to friends and memorable, cultural experiences in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guilin, Xi'An, Beijing, Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto. A few photos to share...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Navigating Transitions

Curious to know how individuals define and work through transitions in their lives. Currently connected to a book titled from working full-time to living full-time.  The authors (The Transition Network and Gail Rentsch)  share dramatic phrases such as "turning point," "course shift," "cutting loose," "sifting out," "separating," and "resolving contradictions."

They describe a common metaphor to explain what transitions from work to retirement may feel like.  "Think about transition as having to jump into a river and swim to the other bank - except that it's a foggy day, so we can't see how far off the other bank is, we have no idea how long it will take us to get there, nor can we know what to expect once we arrive.  That is us.  On the bank, in the fog."

The authors go on to describe  that "part of the process of being in transition is leaving behind certain dreams, beliefs, and concerns we considered important so that we can allow ourselves the space for new or modified dreams."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Redefining the Role of Teacher and Student

If we embrace students' gifts and talents, the following practices will emerge in the classroom.

Changing role of the classroom teacher

12 Most Important Things to Know about Kids Today

Blog posted by Angela Maiers on August 9, 2011.  Another reminder that we need to stop living in the past and create school cultures that promote students' voice and prepares them for today and the future.

Taking time to understand today's students and their gifts and talents

Sunday, August 7, 2011


My beautiful sisters took time to celebrate with me today.  Love their questions about renewment.  It will be the questions I continue to ask throughout this journey that will lead me to where I need to be.  Listening to my heart.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Re-connecting to my blog!

Last posting - February.  It's now August 5 and I'm ready to reconnect and continue the journey I'm calling renewment. Behind the scenes I continue to visit my PLN.  I learn so much from their voices, dreams and visions.  Thought it was time for me to take a risk and share a little of my story, hopes and dreams.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Passion-Driven Journey

I'm reading - Creating a Life Worth Living: A practical course in career design for artists, innovators, and others aspiring to a creative life by Carol Lloyd: Founder of the Writing Parlor & the Life Worth Living Workshops.  I was ready to put it away, because I felt it may be written for those starting their career journey, but as I delve deeper, her writing and examples keep me connected. 

"The task of looking at your life as a series of paths winding out in different directions emphasizes two of the beliefs inherent in this book: First, that there are many roads to choose from.  Second, you really do have free choice." The book is a reminder that "every life of work should be a work of art."

The Passion-Driven Classroom -  I'm so glad to have encountered this book through my PLN! When I read it, it makes sense why I am grieving -- I am about to leave a passionate community of learners that have taught me so much -- made such a difference in my life. On Friday, Feb. 18, several teachers and students came together to share their passions and stories about student learning ... a moment I will never forget.

Angela & Amy's message is helping me heal and deal with my personal transition.  Their words - "In order to tap into passion as a resource to motivate, engage and empower our learners, we must understand these underlying values of passion - Passion is serious, internal, perservering, often quiet, difficult and rebellious at times, purposeful."

I know that my passion for helping to change outdated educational systems so they take on life for students and teachers will never leave my heart and soul. How do we un-school schools? I know I will find that place/cause in time that allows me to keep the flame burning. I also need to give myself permission to "play" and enjoy the things in life I  never had a chance to connect to. My career journey - Living in the projects, being a silent voice throughout K-12 schooling, no hope of going to college, cleaning homes, working in dry cleaner and factory to special education teacher, literacy teacher, academic/professional development director to renewment...The stories and journey will continue.  Alicia's current definition of passion -- Passion is listening to your pain, joy and dreams - believing that there is so much to become part of and make happen.

Emotional Jolts!

I'm trying to prepare for this phase in my live I'm calling RENEWMENT!  Decided to go out for Chinese food.  Received my "fortune cookie."  As soon as I read the written words, a flurry of emotions took over and so the  tears emerged as I read this simple  phrase - "Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors."

For my entire career journey, I've been great at listening to others and providing support about change in one's life. Now that I'm at crosswords, I can't seem to wrap myself around everything I know about transitions and loss.  The pain within really hurts.

My friends, family & colleagues are so happy for my "retirement."  They look to the day, they can enjoy this phase in their lives.  Many ask if I'm counting the days! My response is an emphatic "no!" It seems like no one really understands what lies deep within my heart.  I'm surrounded by so much love and understanding; yet I feel so, so alone in this process. Al, my soulmate, is there for me unconditionally.  He's been retired for several years and certainly looks forward to our life journey together. I almost lost him to cancer.  He is an amazing  man and has made such a difference in my career pathway.  Without him, I would be working in a factory or clerical position.  It's because of him that the hidden passions/inner light were ignited within.

Words cannot capture the life-long learning that led me through 30+ great educational experiences including Aurora City Schools. 

Spring will be here soon.  For me this means my time to walk away and venture into the unknown is fast approaching. I don't know how to say, "goodbye" to teachers, colleagues and students. I know I will find a way. For now, I'm struggling.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Letting Go

I did it today - Wednesday, January 11, 2011.  I found the courage to let go and let someone else lead and connect with teachers.  It would have been so easy for me to hold on and be in control of this professional development experience, because I'm so deeply involved with teachers' through the teaching & learning process. 

I'm learning to trust and let go like never before.  I keep wondering what lies ahead when I disconnect from a place that has been so good to me; a place that has allowed me to grow in ways that cannot be captured in words -- at least not at this moment.

Judy-Arin Krupp -- You're always with me!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My phrase for 2011

Let Go...

To get ready for renewment, I need to really work at letting go and trust that Aurora will continue to grow for kids, teachers, administrators and parents.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Creative Living

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less imporant whether I am afraid.  -- Audre Lorde

The WORLD we have created is a product of our thinking.  It cannot be changed without changing our thinking  --  Albert Einstein

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. -- Goethe