I wish it weren’t so, but there are days that drift by when I don’t notice anything in particular that will fill my sails with wind. My Dad entered hospice care two weeks before school ended in May; it’s been a difficult summer for my family. This week I went back to in-service at my school and, truthfully, I was not emotionally ready to give up my summer, even though this summer has not been one of excitement or much happiness. Although it is great to see my colleagues, it’s been hard to get back in the swing of things. By the end of the week, however, I started noticing little things that caused my heart to skip and smile. It was a pleasant surprise to get four quiet shout-outs all within a few days of each other.
I try my best to daily practice these things: Always have integrity. Always work hard. Always be thankful. Always look for the silver lining. If I practice these things over and over, I’ve found that things usually work out.
Becoming a blogger has been a wonderful experience in many ways, but my favorite way is the online community that is forming around me. Blogging is making me more vocal. It is helping me to be brave. It is holding me accountable. The community of people who are willing to help each other and share encouraging words is the best part. It’s so easy to make someone feel good by simply “liking” their blog post. It’s affirming and encouraging and I love to receive those little nods of approval. WordPress sends me a notice every time someone “likes” or begins to “follow” my blog. Links to other’s blogs are included with these notifications and it is fun to check out who liked what I wrote. As of this writing, I have 75 followers and 24 Twitter followers; this equals 99! (Who will be number 100?) This is so encouraging to me! Thank you so much everyone. I feel connected to you.
Because of blogging, I want to share four little examples of how I was encouraged this week:
I received an email from the NAEA (National Art Educators Association) congratulating me that my proposal called Blogging in the Art Classroom, had been accepted for inclusion for the 2013 NAEA National Convention in Fort Worth, Texas! I was told that they received a record number of highly competitive presentation proposals this year and they accepted just over 1,000 of them! Without giving it all away, I will tell you that last spring I developed an art project for my high school students that required them to make a blog and keep it for fourteen days. It involved photography and poetry and was met by enthusiasm from both the students and my school. If you are a teacher planning on attending the Fort Worth NAEA convention, please sign up for my session!!!
When I went to the WDS 2012 conference in Portland this past June, one of my roomies at the Hostelling International Northwest Portland Hostel was a young woman, unbelievably who attended high school just across town from where I currently live in Dallas. She now lives in Germany, however. She’s involved in the arts, teaches yoga and is about to embark on a new adventure with her husband. We became quick friends and shared our blogs with one another. She read my post a few weeks ago about my Dad and felt my charcoal drawings would compliment an article she was writing for her blog. She asked my permission to use these drawings and I happily agreed. You can read her post called “On The Farm” here where her beautiful poetry and my drawings are featured.
Quillan and Angela found my blog article, En Plein Air in the Plain Air and marked the “like” symbol at the bottom of my post. When I was notified of their “like”, I went to their “pun intended” blog, Toemail and found their blog to be hilariously about toes. “. . . making the world a better place, one foot at a time” reads their tagline. This creative team accepts pictures of feet and toes to post on their site and there are many wonderful examples sent in from people all over the world. I decided to submit some photos of my own feet from several years ago after I underwent foot surgery. After they received my submissions, and with my permission, they chose to post my photos and a link to my blog on their blog! You must click on this link and look at these photos of my feet! They’re funny, if I do say so myself! Paying it forward is the name of the game in blogging and in doing so the world becomes a little bit smaller and community grows.
Last night, about 8 pm, I received a phone call from a new teacher friend in Taiwan! Originally she read my post about ISR (International Schools Review), found my email address on my blog and wrote me. Unbelievably, my new friend is from Texas (like me) but now teaches internationally and we’ve been emailing back and forth, sharing our life experiences and encouraging one another. I’m so happy that I wrote that blog post because by doing so I’ve made a new friend. We’re critiquing each other’s resumes as we head into the international hiring season this fall and we’re practicing talking on Skype. Although we met online, I can’t wait to meet her on land one of these days.
Have you ever thought about blogging? The way it was explained to me was that once you determine your unique interest and curiosity, the entire world is a captive audience. That’s big, my friend. By sharing yourself and your interests, you will benefit others simply by being YOU. You have so much value. What the world needs now is YOU. Consider it. I’m glad I did.