At the end of each month, I take stock of the previous month. What went well? What did I learn? What brought me a simple joy? These monthly reports are a way to encourage myself to take delight in the littlest of things. I find that Ten Things I Loved allows me to always see the silver lining, even when there are hard moments in a month. And taking joy in the simple things is paramount to how I want to live, making 10 things an invaluable tool for me. Here’s this month’s simple pleasures.
1. The Women + Girls Research Alliance Summit. This was a day long summit at my university that looked at actionable items inspired from two year’s worth of research on women’s and girls’ issues in our community and beyond. Olympia Snowe was the keynote and the day was packed with incredible panels and inspiration.
2 & 3. Circle de Luz State of the Circle and Run Big Dream Big. Two of the biggest events of our year happen the last weekend of April each year. On Friday night, we throw a celebratory event we call State of the Circle and a girl from each class speaks about her Circle de Luz experience. It is just the sweetest event and there are lots of tears (and Tres Leches cake). Families come, our volunteers come, and we all just have a very happy little “we love each other” time.
On Saturday morning, we all meet up for a local 5k race. The girls train for it throughout the spring and we call the experience Run Big Dream Big. Supporters raise money for Circle de Luz in anticipation of the race and then we all take off together on the streets of Charlotte for the run. The girls remember their times from year to year, cheer each other on, families join in, and we all go out for breakfast afterwards. It’s a blast.
4. Continued medical school partnership. As you might recall, I wrote reflection curriculum for 3rd year medical students this year and this month I got to read the reflection journals so far. Wow. So much powerful observation is going on and the medical school and hospital involved have been so deliberate about how to use the experience to not only help the students grow but the hospital improve its systems. And we also took time this month to map out the experience for next year which will include more medical students, at different stages of their education, and doctors. This project really has been one of the great thrills of my work this past year because the self-discovery work is just so powerful.
5. Lunch at Johnson and Wales. A friend works at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, and she invited a couple of us to come to French Cuisine lab lunch with her. What does that mean? The French Cuisine students cooked all morning long– their version of a laboratory experience– and then we were served their creations for lunch. As you might imagine, best meal all month.
6. A trip half-way across the country. My little family drove half-away across the USA to see two of my dearest friends from college for a little weekend on a farm in Missouri to celebrate a 40th birthday. There was finishing, pick-up truck rides, redirecting of Alpha horses, wildlife spotting from coyote to snapping turtles, and fierce games of spoons. Very good time including a hotel stay for Happy who LOVES a hotel and night swimming (in a hotel pool since it was snowing in Missouri).
7. An epic Easter egg hunt. 3 cousins. 265 eggs. And a grandmother who heard there was chocolate in some of the eggs and started hunting them for herself (she at least put back the eggs that had money). All you need to know there.
8. A trip to see Sue. So Sue is the most intact T.Rex skeleton around and she was in North Carolina this spring (on tour) so we took a day to go see her and a dear little friend and his mom who we try to get together with each year despite the miles between us. Between the aquarium, the splash table, and a tiger, there was plenty of fun to be had.
9. Mother’s Tea. Happy’s preschool hosted a sweet mother’s tea. We painted, had a tower building competition (whoever’s tower fell first lost), played tic tac toe, read books together, ate cookies and drank lemonade, and received sweet gifts from our children. A wonderful morning and makes me so sad that Happy’s time in this so wonderful that I want to report to this classroom each morning classroom is almost done.
10. Soccer. Happy’s team from the fall got back together for the spring season, and it was just so fun to watch them again. They understand the game much more now so it wasn’t quite so bumble bee soccer as it was before. And they all LOVED it– the coaches– two adorable dads- did a great job making it really fun for the kids and the parents.
So, what did you love in April?