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It is time for a mid-year review!

shaped by your own choices

As an educator, I enjoy two New Years annually. There’s the one that happens in January and then another one in August with the new school year.  I know that I am not alone when it comes to thinking of August and back-to-school time as a reset and so I wanted to share some questions for you to conduct your own Mid-Year Review.  Grab a journal, a pen, and some time and nestle into a quiet place to reflect on these 20 questions.

1.  Describe yourself at the beginning of 2014.

2.  What are five words that describe your 2014 so far?

3.  What are some things you started doing in 2014?

4.  What are some things you stopped doing?

5.  What are five words you’d use to describe you or where you are right now?

6.  What do you want to be doing more of in your life?

7.  What do you want to be doing less of in your life?

8.  What relationships, if any, feel hard right now and why?

9.  For what are you most grateful so far this year?

10.  What are five words that you hope will describe the rest of 2014?

11.  What are three things that are absolutely on your to do list this year?

12.  What do you need right now, more than anything else in your personal life?

13.  What do you need right now more than anything else in your professional life?

14.  From waking up until you fall asleep, what does your ideal weekday look like (in detail)?

15.  From waking up until you fall asleep, what does your ideal weekend day look like (in detail)?

16.  What actions do I need to be taking now to get what I want out of 2014?

17.  What resources do I have to support my journey?

18.  What do I still need to do, learn, or find?

19.  What will this effort give me?  Why do I want this in my life?

20.   How will I begin?

We all have our answers deep down inside   It is just a matter of asking ourselves (or being asked) the right question, taking the time to listen for the answer and then empowering ourselves to act from that space of self-awareness, self-care, and authenticity.  If there is anything that I’ve learned in my quest to live an authentic and self-accepting life, it is that intention matters.  A mid-year review allows me to assess how intentional I am being so I can set things on the course I intend.  I wish the same for you!

Friday Reflections

 

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Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little senses exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for the last two weeks:
tasting ::  low country boil (my FAVORITE summer time meal) at the beach with friends, Mud Pie Ice Cream at Cabarrus Creamery, Hushpuppies with cinnamon butter, Fried Shrimp, Crab legs

hearing ::  wails of pain in the middle of the night from poor Happy who we learned- after a 3 am emergency room visit while on vacation- had an ear infection and a bleb on his ear drum (my new favorite medical term; a bleb is basically a blood blister).  There’s really nothing worse than hearing your child cry in anguish.

smelling ::  Ella B candle in South Union which is an incredible grapefruit, citrus and evergreen scent.  Smells so incredible that I kinda wish I could eat it.

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seeing ::  crazy waves, epic rafting and boogie board sessions while at the beach with our friends, The Kellys, and their really fun, adorable kids, incredible sand castles, and impressive face painting (Thanks, Leon!).  Also, I came eye to eye with a 30+ pound raccoon in the middle of the day when I departed the outdoor shower at our beach house while he grazed in our trashcan. Who knew that raccoons like shrimp, too?  Also, you should have seen my delicate, nothing to see here, please don’t chase me, and holy crap, I better not drop my towel back away.

feeling ::  like summer just evaporated.  Where did the time go?  One more week of Mommy camp with Happy next week and then just a couple weeks until school starts for me and him.  Wow.

wishing ::  for a rewind button.  Instead, I’ll just opt to savor every last bit we have left while riding off of last week’s beach high.

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

This post was inspired by Teacher Goes Back to School who was inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Getting it out of your head

the opening page of one of my many journals...

the opening page of one of my many journals…

I started journaling as a girl.

I had always been a reader, and writing became a natural next step for expressing myself.  Soon I was processing everything I was experiencing on the written page.  By high school, I had discovered that if I gave myself the time to think it through, I had far more answers to my questions than I could have ever imagined.  Even more interesting, writing kept me safe because it made me incredibly self-aware. I couldn’t claim a truth in my journal- I want to do this or be this kind of person- and then behave differently in the world.  If I wrote my dreams and hopes, I did everything I could to realize those things.  What I learned was that there was incredible power in self-knowledge and practicing the personal leadership that would take me where I wanted to go.

Now, when I work with people who want to live more authentic lives, I always incorporate reflection exercises into our work to boost their own self-awareness.  People typically know their answers if they will just give themselves the time, room, and quiet to listen for them.  Because being in tune with yourself matters at any age and because who we are develops over our lifetime, having a reflection practice can be incredibly empowering.  Want to incorporate more reflection into your life?

Try these four strategies to foster more reflection and self-awareness.

3 Small Questions When I teach journaling workshops, I often give participants a series of prompts that I call Three Small Questions.  The catch is that they aren’t small questions at all.  They are often big questions but what I want is short, simple, one sentence answers.  Choose three questions from this sample list and answer them every day for a week.  Then choose the next three questions or incorporate your own.  Who am I?  How am I?  What do I need right now more than anything else?  What did I learn today? How will I apply it?  A year from now, what will I wish I had started today?  What inspired me today?  What challenged me today?  What changed me today?        

Intention Setting Start each day with either a one word intention that captures what you want to focus on that day or a one sentence answer to this question:  What am I practicing today?  Maybe your word will be connection, patience, grace, joy, peace or leadership.  Maybe your answer to the question about practice is “I am practicing being more gentle with myself or others.”  In your journal, capture the intention and why you’ve chosen it.  At the end of the day, return to your journal and record how that intention showed up for you that day.

Friday Reflections  At the end of each week, I complete the same exercise.  Using my senses as a guide, I record what I tasted, saw, heard, smelled, felt that week.  In those notes, I capture new recipes that I want to try again, unique family moments, the complete sensory sensations of a new experience or the every day things like the scent of cut flowers and the soaring of bats at night.  I end each Friday Reflection with what I am wishing or hoping for in the week to come.  Even if I complete no other reflection exercise for the week, this one always grounds me.          

Happiness Box  The happiness box is a great way to capture your world without having to write too much.  Buy a box that speaks to you- it can be a beautiful wooden box or even a simple organizing box- and place it in a location where it will catch your eye often.  Leave memories in it that bring you joy- a family photo, a Mother’s Day card signed by your three-year-old daughter, a locket of hair.  Sometimes our memories don’t even need words; they simply need to live on in the very way they are embodied.

Do you have a journaling practice?  How do you build your self-awareness?

checking in on S-O-I

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“Did you check off watching clouds?”

We are doing our weekly Sunday night Summer of Intentionality checklist and my five year old wants to make sure that I haven’t forgotten the cloud watching we have been doing from the comfort of our backyard hammock.

“Got it,” I reassure him.

“And the bike riding on that bridge?”   He asks.  I point to where I’ve checked off bike riding on the greenway in our town.

Satisfied, he turns his sights forward.

“So, what are we going to do this week?”

When I first conceived Summer of Intentionality, it was because I wanted something to gently remind me not to spend all of my summer working to make up for the lack of teaching income that was coming in or recovering on a couch somewhere from the latent school year exhaustion that felt like it took months to overcome.

Now, it is a way for everyone in our family to look forward to unique opportunities on these insufferably hot but more open summer days.  Every May, we sit down and brainstorm and write our list for things we can do as a family or individually and then every Sunday, we look over our lists and celebrate what we’ve done and plan for what might come next.

So far this year, we’ve checked off: go to the beach, bird watch, host the neighbors for dinner, go to a baseball game, go to a movie, play mini-golf, take the bus to the city, go to a splash pad,  go out on the lake, clean out toys, ride the greenway, visit my parents, go to the Penguin Palace (shaved ice!),  watch clouds, and use sparklers.

We are actively working on finishing our kindergarten workbook, finishing Handwriting Without Tears, reading 100 new books, and participating in the library summer reading program and there’s still plenty of time (one more month, not that I am counting my return to school or anything) to get in some more one-time items like going bowling, hiking, camping, fishing, and to the amusement park.

Meanwhile, I am tackling things off my own little list.  I’ve checked off take at least 10 yoga and 10 pilates classes, trying a new to me local restaurant, trying 10 new recipes, reading at least ten books and actively participating in the library summer reading program.   And I’ve got plenty more to look forward to checking off like stand up paddling, trampolining, checking out some local stores that I am interested in exploring, enjoying thai yoga, and finishing up and submitting book proposal.

Since I was a high school teacher, I have said that the pace of the school year is only possible because of summer (and, now, I always add AND REALLY GOOD SELF-CARE)  and now I think it’s true in general about being a mom or just an adult running through life.  For me, getting the most out of summer means not just zoning out but tuning into what I most want to be learning, doing, and experiencing.

How is your Summer of Intentionality going? I’d love an update!

 

How to Say No

no is a complete sentence

Technically, we all know how to say no.  It is just that the saying of no can be such a hard thing.  We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or disappoint them or we may even be a little sad or disappointed that we need to say no.  And so saying the word, even in its two letter simplicity, isn’t all that easy.

I get that.

And, yet, we’ve all heard this clear adage (so popular these days that when I tried to figure out who said it, I found about 5 different attributions so who knows who said it first): No is a complete sentence.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve learned about The Continuum of Wholeheartedness, a powerful filter for discerning when you need to say no and the Realities of No, some insights about saying no that make the whole prospect feel a lot less dire.  Today, we’re looking at choosing your words when you say no.  Here are four suggestions for turning down the next opportunity that you just can’t do wholeheartedly.

Go sweet and simple.  I’ve done it all when it comes to saying no from saying nothing at all, just hoping that the invitation fades away (please note this option isn’t listed here as I don’t actually recommend it) to issuing a dissertation length negative response.  Sometimes, it is just as simple—for you and the person hearing it—to say, “No thank you.”

Provide perspective.  In general, I like to provide a little insight as to why I am saying no.  The person may not care at all (likely, she doesn’t), but I just find that it helps me.

One boundary that I have, for example, is that I do whatever I can to not miss more than one bedtime ritual with Happy a week (especially on weeknights where the routine is really critical for him and the sweetness is really critical for me).  And so when I already have an evening commitment and get a second request for that week, I just tell the person that  I have a personal rule that I don’t miss more than one bedtime ritual on a week night and I’ve already got a commitment that week.

You can also provide perspective by saying, “I am not doing that any more.”  For example, you might have provide a fair amount of pro-bono service in the past but found that you were donating more of your work than earning a livelihood for your family.  It is absolutely okay to answer that sort of request with something like, “I love what you are doing but, right now, I am not able to take on any more pro-bono work.”

And, finally, you can provide perspective by saying that it is not a good fit for you.  Something like this might work:

Thank you for asking, but I just don’t think I can do that as well as someone who is more adept at: fill in the blank here.

Don’t provide perspective.  That said, you are allowed to say no because it is Monday night and The Voice is on and you have a date with your couch.  And you also have the right to keep that to yourself, if you want, in which case you don’t have to provide perspective.  When you are looking for words for those situations, just say:

I am so sorry, but I am not able to take on any new responsibilities right now.

or

Thanks for thinking of me. I am so sorry to have to say no, but I know you’ll find just the right person.

Buy time.  Sometimes we need to say no but, holy cow, this person is right in front of me asking or on the phone asking and I am sweating because she makes me nervous and I can feel myself caving and this is so scary so I cannot say no is what is going through your head.  When that happens, just buy yourself some time with

I need to get back to you.   

Then you can get perspective and rehearse how to deliver the no in person or just send the no via email.

While saying no takes some practice, the good news is it becomes easier, and, when you are consistent, you’re actually able to use more of your energy for what the world most needs from you and for what you most need for yourself which is a powerful way to live.

Friday Reflections

lifespan of a sparkler

Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little senses exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for this week:
tasting ::  low country boil (my FAVORITE summer time meal), lemon blueberry layer cake, lemon chicken orzo soup, citrus water (we dice up oranges and lemons and put them in our carafe of water in the refrigerator), seaweed salad, kale salad, shrimp and strawberry salad, chocolate cake, mushroom ragu spaghetti, grilled veggies in a red wine vinegar marinade, grilled corn, raspberry pistachio oatmeal cakes, perfect grapes

hearing ::  Happy’s thrilled reaction when he passed the swim test at the community pool and is now able to go off the diving board.

smelling :: Choose Happiness candle (from Target), Old Bay tinged air from the low country boil, blueberry muffin air after I made some one morning for Happy’s breakfast.  Related:  Happy came up to me mid-way through breakfast and said, “Mommy, smell my breath.  I think you’ll want to eat.”  I think that means my muffins were good.

seeing ::  Happy go off the diving board about 47 times after passing the swim test.  Never. gets. old.  Also: sparklers.  Though we have done them before, loved the look on Happy’s face with his first sparkler on July 4th.

feeling ::  continually inspired by the women who do the Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreats.  I worked with three of them this week.  Amazing to see how women embrace possibility.

wishing ::  you and yours a lovely little weekend.

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

This post was inspired by Teacher Goes Back to School who was inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

an invitation to be part of the good news

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I am honored to invite you to join me as a mija, a member of the Circle de Luz giving circle. Joining a group of women from around the country to become empower young women as a part of this circle is one of the most powerful ways I make a difference in the world.

My investment is in the future of a group of young women who will more than likely be the first in their families to graduate from high school and pursue further education. My annual contribution supports their post-secondary education, but the connections that Circle de Luz donors and volunteers make with these girls—from the time its members are in seventh grade until they graduate from high school—are even more amazing.

Charlotte-based writer Jodi Helmer has been a Circle de Luz mija since the very first class. “I signed up to be a mija because it was a simple and powerful way to support a group of young women in pursuing their dreams of a college education,” she says. “In addition to signing on as a mija for the class of 2014, I also support the classes of 2015 and 2019. I am continuing my support of the organization—and the amazing young women who are following in the footsteps of the first graduating class—by becoming a mija for the class of 2020. Circle de Luz is an amazing organization that I’m proud to be part of and I know that my contribution has a big impact.”

Now, with our first class of Circle de Luz graduates about to start their freshman year at college, I am reminded of how important this work is. We are eager to find 65 women to answer this year’s call to the circle. The commitment is flexible; you can be as involved as you’d like. And you do not have to live in Charlotte (or even the United States) to join!

Please read on to learn more about Circle de Luz and our Class of 2020.

HijaMija

There is the hard news…

  • 51% of Latina girls get pregnant before the age of 20.
  • 44% did not graduate from high school
  • Only 13% of Latino students have a college degree

And the good news…

  • Girls with long-term plans or educational aspirations have more hope for the future, are less likely to get pregnant, and become more engaged in school and related activities—all factors making it more likely that they will graduate from high school and make it to college.
  • Research has shown that a relationship with a caring adult helps students stay in school and graduate.

 

We want to invite you to be part of that good news.
Circle de Luz is a non-profit focused on radically empowering young Latinas by supporting their transformation through extensive mentoring, holistic programming, and scholarship funds to help further their education. You can help them by becoming a mija (a Spanish term of endearment for “girlfriend”), one of hundreds of women across the country participating in the Circle de Luz giving circle, making a dramatic difference in the lives of some wonderful young women.

In September, we will select the Circle de Luz Class of 2020 from the seventh graders at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina. From now until the girls reach high school graduation, we will support them with mentoring and programming to empower them to achieve their goals of graduating from high school and pursuing further education. When they graduate from high school, we will support them with a minimum $5,000 scholarship provided to them by our mijas.

Mijas are women from all over the country who believe in the power of education, who want to make a difference, and change the count. Mijas make a commitment to donate a minimum of $100 for each of the six years that their class of girls is in the program. That money is used to award a scholarship to every Circle de Luz hija (what we call the young women in our program) upon high school graduation and enrollment in a further educational opportunity. We believe in making philanthropy accessible and the $100 amount is roughly the amount of one lunch out per month.

We need at least 65 mijas to provide this life changing opportunity to at least 5 new hijas. Mijas can have any background and can live anywhere. Will you consider joining this powerful group of women making a difference?

You do not need to make your donation for the 2014-2015 school year at this time. To join the circle, please complete this Class of 2020 Letter of Commitment. We then ask that half of your year’s commitment be paid by September 15 and the other half by March 15, 2015 (don’t worry, we’ll send you a reminder when the time comes). You are welcome to mail it or scan and email it by following the directions on the form.

Interested but have questions?  Ask away!  I am happy to answer any questions you have about the program or mija experience!

Talking You Into No

bigger yes

Last week, in You Have to Say No to Say Yes, I shared my Continuum of Wholeheartedness, a filter that I use to figure out whether or not I should yes or no to an opportunity.  The Continuum has been revolutionary for me in deciding whether or not something is a fit for me, and I hope it will be useful to you, too.  But that said, even getting to the place where I knew I needed to say no didn’t automatically make it easier for me to say no.  Then these five realities about saying no slowly began to dawn on me.  If the Continuum of Wholeheartedness made it clear to me whether or not I wanted to say yes then these Realities about No made me understand even more clearly why it was necessary to say no.  Hopefully, they’ll provide valuable insight to you, too in your journey to get more intentional about living authentically, passionately, and purposefully.

THE REALITIES OF NO 

1.  People are so much more ready for your no than you realize.  

A couple years ago, I received a lovely emailing inviting me to be a board member for a local non-profit.  It was a non-profit that I feel does REALLY important work in our community, I really admired the people that were on the board, and, yet, Circle de Luz was just a few years old and we were still completely volunteer-run and I just could not add one more thing to my volunteer plate.  And so I wrote this very thoughtful, tortured response email that was about three paragraphs long that basically, if I were to paraphrase, said  ”I LOVE Y’ALL! I THINK Y’ALL ARE AMAZING! I AM DROWNING HERE AND MY NO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW AMAZING I THINK Y’ALL ARE! I AM JUST DROWNING! I AM SO SORRY!  I AM SO SO SORRY!  Y’ALL ARE AMAZING!  I AM SO SO SO SORRY!”

Totally cool, I know.

And then, I kid you not, NOT ONE MINUTE after I hit send, I received a response that basically amounted to this:

No problem.  We figured you were too busy.  Do you know any other Latinas who might be interested?  

I read that and had the biggest guffaw.  Here, I had been tortured about what to say in response and what I realized is that they really wanted a Latina on their board,  I was the only Latina they happened to know, so they asked me even though they knew I was busy (I bet there was even a conversation along the lines of “well, let’s ask Rosie to do it.  If she can do it, great.  If she can’t, maybe she can recommend someone”).  Their Plan B was to ask me for someone, but they probably thought asking me to do it first was more polite than asking me if I knew someone who could do it.

That is when this dawned on me: people are ready for your no.

People usually have run the thought through their head that you might say no and they have a back up plan.  When I thought more about it, I realized that I always have a back up plan, and I am not all that special.  So, it stands to reason that when someone says, “oh, I’ll ask Rosie,”  she also thinks, “and if she can’ t do it, I’ll ask Sue.”

So, it is not your job to worry about what people will do if you say no.  Chances are they have thought about that themselves.

2.  Your No is Someone Else’s Yes.  

When I say no to something that I was only half-heartedly interested in, then what I do is open up the possibility that the person whose whole-heart would be in it will find that opportunity.  And that’s what we want, right?  We want people to be able to do things that whole-heartedly light them on fire.  If I am going through the motions of something, I am taking up space that could be whole-hearted for someone else.  When you say no, you allow that situation to get closer to the person whose yes is more like YES!!! than yes?.  So you aren’t just doing yourself a favor when you say no.  You are doing the situation a favor and someone else a favor.

3.  Saying No is an Act of Faith.   

When I say no, it is an act of faith; it is a belief in the expansiveness of the universe.  It’s a turned nose to the idea of scarcity.  When I say no, it says that I believe in the proposition enough to know that the person that needs to be doing it is out there (and, heck, sometimes I might even have an idea of who that person might be and I can recommend him or her which is always awesome) and it also says that I know that my time is needed for something else because I intend to live in full-fledged purpose.  Saying no, then, is an act of faith in the circumstances, my fellow man/woman, and myself.

4.   My Yes Has Meaning.   

Before when I said yes, all it really said was that my calendar was open at that time and that I was technically capable of doing what was being asked.  Now, when I say yes, it means that there is nothing I would rather be doing.  Showing up some place with my energy in the place of “this is where I most want to be” is really, really powerful.  To live in a way that allows my yes to really mean something more than my calendar was open is pretty inspirational for me.

5.  Saying No at the Right Time Allows You To Be Pure, Powerful, Passionate, and Purposeful.   

I believe we are all here on purpose.  I believe that when we align our time and energy in a way that allows us to be pure (meaning that what we are doing is really what we want to be doing) pushes us into a passionate and powerful place while living purposefully.  And in what may feel like an ironic twist, I think that the closer we get to saying no to the stuff that doesn’t grab us by the heart and/or throat, the closer we get to healing the world– because we are allowing someone else to live their purpose by getting out of the way and we are allowing ourselves to live more purposefully because we are putting our finite amount of resources (time and energy) towards the solution we are most meant to be offering right now.

What have you learned from and about saying no in your life?  

Also, next Monday, we’ll look at strategies around actually saying no so that you feel more comfortable saying (or typing) that response when you need to do so.

Friday Reflections

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Every Friday, I reflect on the week that has just passed by doing a little senses exercise.  This practice is a gentle, easy way to tune into how we are doing, what we are experiencing, and what we are grateful for while more acutely tuning into our senses.  It’s a whole heart exercise with plenty of bodily input, if you will.  Because this practice has been so good for me, I want to encourage you to do it, too.  Building some gentle reflection into our weeks is a nice way to stay grounded while maintaining some big picture perspective.  So please join me in this week’s Friday Reflections (with each sense as your inspiration, consider how experiencing it impacted your week).

Here is my sensory round-up for this week:
tasting ::  cornbread salad, shrimp salad, black-eyed pea salad, brussel sprouts salad, greek salad (I feel like Forrest Gump but with salad instead of shrimp.  This kinda salad, that kinda salad, and that other kinda salad), corn chowder, pimento cheese and Fritos, sweet potato hash with a soy sauce and honey sauce, lemon blueberry layer cake and citrus water (a jug of water loaded with sliced oranges and lemons).  Also S’mores.

hearing ::  medical students pondering their pasts, present, and future, shrieks of glee at the community pool.

smelling :: Old Bay coated shrimp, Choose Happiness candle (from Target).

seeing ::  baby frogs, jumping fish, and sunning turtles.  Also The Peachoid.  Have you seen House of Cards?

feeling ::  wind whip our faces on a fast boat drive on the lake, full-hearted over a delightful little week with all sorts of different family time.

wishing ::  for a really productive work week after having a week off to play with Happy and feeling really behind!

What about you?  What were your sensational experiences this week?  Please share!

This post was inspired by Teacher Goes Back to School who was inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

10 Things I Loved in June 2014

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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.

Professional

Work with the hospital system.  For almost a year now, I have been working with one of the local hospital systems’ medical school office in order to provide reflection workshops and curriculum to a pilot group of their medical students.  That group finished the program earlier this month and doing the wrap-up of the year was really profound.  Moreover, I started working with first year students who are in Charlotte for a program designed to train doctors to better serve urban underserved populations and did work to kick-off year 2 of the third year medical school program (with all the 3rd year students) in July.  Really interesting, compelling work that allows me to spend time working with doctors at the beginning of their career about how self-awareness, intentionality, purposefulness, and self-care can make a significant difference in their careers for them and their patients.      

Curve Camp.  What a wonderful weekend- from doing yoga daily to meeting wonderful women, from helping women think more deliberately about living on purpose to road tripping with a dear friend and eating incredible food.  Seriously.  Good times.   

Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreats.  Every one of these retreats leaves me inspired.  It is like a contact high to watch women very intentionally examine their lives, increase their self-awareness, and make claims for their future so they can live with passion and purpose.      

Circle de Luz graduation.  I know that I have talked about this excessively.  But, of course, the celebration of our first class’s graduations was just so touching.  These young women are so incredible, we have seen them grown so much, and we are just so excited for what’s next for them.  Now, time to focus on getting ready for our newest class!   

 Reconnecting with old students.  I have seen so many former students or friends who are students over this past month—from a young man who I taught as a student teacher in 1996 to Happy’s first babysitter who is now a senior in college.  It always thrills me to reconnect and see where people are today and how the foundation of who they were years ago still peers through their spirit.  Never gets old.         

Personal things

Extended Family time.  We’ve had lots of time with extended family this month—day trips to see my parents, a family reunion with BF’s family, and some birthday celebrating.  All good times with lots of laughter.

Book Club & Attachments.  I loved Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell so much that I eagerly recommended Attachments to my book club for our latest round of books.  It was great—a really fun read and then dinner at my house with some of my favorite women featured pimiento cheese and Fritos for an appetizer, shrimp salad with crusty bread, a summer vegetable tian, and a black eyed pea salad  (I used red wine vinegar in the dressing) for dinner, and then a lemon blueberry layer cake for dessert.  Can you tell I was going for Southern summer dishes?  Yum and fun!      

Pre-dinner gym classes.  The boys and I have gotten into a cool little summer weeknight ritual that all of us are really loving.  When BF gets home from work, he and Happy take off for the pool and I take off for the gym.  They splash and eat popsicles and I take a yoga or Pilates class.  We all meet back at home worn-out and ready for dinner.    

A daily plank   I started doing a daily plank at the end of May and it is such a good little ritual.  I just go to fatigue, trying to add a little bit of time each time, and visit a happy little meditative place in my head while doing it.

Mommy Camp  With summer here, we alternate a week of day camp with a week of what we call Mommy Camp which allows me a some time each month to get some work in and some time each month to really be with my boy.  Perfect balance.  We’re in the midst of mommy camp right now which means time for Physical Therapy, play dates, movies, bike riding, mile running, swimming, baking, reading, and some learning.

So, what did you love in June?