Tag Archives: World Domination Summit

It’s All Good

Spirits lifted.

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.

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3 Short Stories on Giving

Strangers among us.

I’ve been thinking about the act of giving this week. I’ve been reflecting on how much I give compared to how much I take. After coming home from the World Domination Summit last week, it’s the stories that were told of ample giving that are keeping me up at night. Mostly we hear stories about how people take advantage of one another, but there are also many stories about those who give to one another. I wanted to share a few.

Story 1

Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to help immigrants with the laws of the land. His gentle voice and wise council seemed to draw people toward him from around the globe. He always had a story to tell and a lesson to be learned. He wanted to make a difference and invest in people’s lives. This man is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, a non-profit that represents immigrant victims of human rights abuses. He is a frequent commentator on 90.1 FM, KERA, and writes Law Man Walking for D Magazine’s Front Burner blog. He is a certified Master Naturalist and maintains a blog, primarily about local hiking and art. This man is making a difference in people’s lives.

Story 2

Once upon a time there was a woman with a bright smile, a twinkle in her eye and a star in her house.  She loved organic people and she loved organic food. She liked to draw characters and one day, she made a few, from wood, for her daughter to play with. In time, these wooden toys found their way to the top of wedding cakes and the rest is history. She works hard to make people happy every day but especially on their wedding day. She is a oneness blessing giver and my own name has been in her bowl for months. She is genuine and full of Grace.

Story 3

Once upon a time there was a little boy who grew up and ran away to the city and fully rebelled against his parents and his faith. He began working in nightclubs and made a lot of money, fully participating in drugs, alcohol and all kinds of addictive behavior. In time, he found that he was morally and spiritually bankrupt. He began reading theology. He wondered what his life would look like if he served others. He began volunteering as a photo-journalist, on Mercy Ships. His heart was torn open and he began a new journey and eventually founded a charity that you should know about. How about giving up your birthday in order to give people clean water?

While at WDS, I went to a break-out session given by Erick Widman, titled, ” How To Have The Best Year of Your Life By Volunteering and Traveling Overseas”. Erick really opened my eyes to this as a very real possibility. He posted ALL his resources on his blog, under an article of the same name. There are so many possibilities. Some volunteer experiences actually cost money; others are free or low cost. Volunteer-based organizations are all over the planet and are focused on such things as turtle conservation, teaching English or medical help. There are great needs all around us.

This coming week, will you partner with me to explore the question of “what can I give back?” There’s all sorts of needs in the world, close to home and far away. You could invest in something as small as writing a “Thank You” note or as big as serving overseas. No job is too small. You can create your own amazing or you can partner with others. Find your own interests; there is something for you! Do it. Give your life away.

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Proud To Be a Non-Conformist

Take a chance.

Months ago I signed up for a conference in Portland, Oregon called the World Domination Summit. This summit was Chris Guillebeau’s creation. For the past two years I’ve been following Chris’ blog, The Art of Non-Conformity. He fascinates me both with his advice on traveling the world and his ability to inspire his readers. Tens of thousands of people follow his blog and his “small army,” as he calls his followers, live all over the world. This army of people is changing the world, one day at a time, in very diverse ways. One thousand small army members have joined forces to learn from one another in Portland this weekend.

On Thursday, I flew from DFW to PDX by myself. I didn’t know anyone on the plane and I don’t know anyone in Portland. I had an idea that I would likely be one of the oldest “army” members, as this summit has much to do with new technologies in the forms of blogging, eBook publication, world travel and living life without conforming and it seems to me that thirty-somethings have the corner on this market. There was a slight hint of fear in me if I stopped long enough to give that negative energy a foothold in my mind, but I tried not to. These little, creeping fears included thinking I’d be “too old”; fear of knowing how to get from the Portland airport to my hostel, fear of feeling inadequate amongst these amazing small army members, fear of fitting in. I love adventure and making friends from all around the world and I really do believe I have something to offer the world in myself, so I didn’t allow these feelings of fear sit for too long in my head in the days leading up to the summit. Every time one of these little, creeping fears started to tickle my imagination and turn my stomach, I’d squash it the way you would an annoying Texas mosquito by reading a blog from an inspirational writer or imagining what exciting paths could be opened to me at this summit if I would only just keep walking in that direction.

From her blog, Shanna Trenholm posted an article for those of us arriving in Portland who had never attended WDS before. Her mindful advice helped soothe my restless soul. As I was reading her list of “pitfalls”, I connected with one in particular:

“You’ll struggle with comparison-itis. You will be sure that everyone else is living a remarkable life, that your life is the only small life in the room. Stop it. Don’t fall into that trap. It isn’t true. Being remarkable is on a continuum and it can be measured in many ways. Make your own measure. Create your own amazing.”

Create your own amazing. Isn’t that wonderful? I wanted to share it with you.

Finding my way to the hostel, I remembered the last time I was in Portland about 25 years ago. At that time I attended the NCECA conference. It makes me smile to remember that even back then, I went to Portland by myself. I’ve never forgotten it and always yearned to go back. So here I am.

This is a very partial listing of a few of the seminars I’ve gone to and persons I’ve listened to:

• World Premiere screening of “I’m Fine, Thanks”

• Indie Publishing with Matthew Gartland

• Finding Freelance Jobs Online with Andrea Warner

• What’s Curation? with Jodi Ettenberg

• How to Have the Best Year of Your Life Traveling with Erick Widman

This week why don’t you try something different? Give yourself to the world. You’re awesome and the world needs you. Get involved and don’t ever stop.

Oh, yeah. The first day I arrived I found a super hip, interesting and fascinating group at the summit: The WDS Baby Boomers!!! Why was I worried? 🙂

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