And now we have a plan…

I have to admit that the decision to drop everything and move back to the Midwest was fairly sudden in some ways. So the plans for what to do when we got here weren’t quite as solid as I would have liked. I jumped from my career in teaching music without a net, but landed a job as an executive assistant at a nonprofit that I can really stand behind, and one that I might be able to start a music program at.

It was honestly a pretty tough transition, in the way that graduating from one stage of a life to another is always going to be a transition, because you can never go back.

So, also my husband and I have come up with a 5-10 year plan of getting a place out in the country to keep a few horses and grow a nice garden. I’m super thrilled with that. We’d like to build out a shipping container home, and my only request is that the horses can come to the kitchen window and enjoy a morning carrot with me.

So next month we’ll start riding lessons, and from there I think we’ll make the deposit on a horse. I’m in love with the Gypsy Vanner horses, and we’ve found a farm that breeds them. We’re interested in getting one in utero, which by the time it is born and ready to ride, we’ll all be ready to go to the farm and enjoy that simple life.

It’s a plan, and a good one at that! Of course… now for the cutting back of expenses and saving up to make everything come true : )

 

So we have had a few life changes.

When it was time to leave, we knew it and we did.

So the past year of not paying any attention to this blog has been filled with creating a life in Michigan! And it has been quite the adventure. From fixing toilets and digging holes outside to fix the pipes, to getting new jobs and careers, there hasn’t been too much time to sit down and think.  I’m trying though, to get back in to writing more often here. We’ll see how that goes. For now, here are some pics of the dogs arriving at their new home!

Cats aren’t the only creatures with nine lives.

Thought I would go ahead and publish a bit of the serious today 🙂

 

Everyone has it happen. The ground opens up from under you in one fell swoop and you’re left to grasp for air and scratch your way back above ground in that grand way that lets you know one thing: Everything is not okay.

Don’t be fooled if you’ve escaped your serious portion of life so far. You’ll know hardship. When it happens to you accept that the measurement of your well-being is about to change. If today you’re doing well when the coffee drive-thru isn’t backed up and you get a good parking spot at work, when it gets serious it might be a good day to be able to walk to your car without crippling anxiety (if you’re challenge is something emotionally heavy), or falling down (if you’re tasked with a physical ailment). Accept that you won’t recognize the world you live in. You may even question if that old comfortable world you were living in was ever real.

What you do when it happens is the new measurement of your success in life. You either cling to old norms and ideas, scared to move on even if they are crumbling in your shaking hands, or you can reach up and grasp for new opportunities that are now open. Remember that the life that you had grown comfortable in was as constraining as it was secure. When everything that you were oh-so-sure-about no longer is a part of your world, light will shine on new possibilities. Like little gremlins, kernels of your new life will be waiting to be discovered from the sidelines. Make a decision. Which ideas you want to bring along in your new life? Pick those ideas up; keep moving.

You’ll have all of those gremlins to face, and at first it might be scary. Will you use this time for spiritual growth? Will you follow new dreams or careers? Will it be your opportunity to do that one thing that you never even told anyone you wanted to do? It will be your time to be even more brave and authentic than you can imagine. Which path will you now take if the one you’re on ends suddenly?

Remember, one day you won’t have a choice of going back to the security of the everything is all-right world you may be in now.  Your health might fail, your spirit might be crushed, a career could end, it doesn’t really matter what the exact situation is.  You can count on the unexpected. You may already be in a everything-is-not-all-right part of your life.

It may only take a minute to find your footing, it might take years to find your place again.

Know that it is coming.

Be brave.

Make a decision.

Move in that direction.

You’ll be ok.

 

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 11

Today I’ll start my second week of teaching this year. I don’t feel quite organized enough, and I’m a bit off-kilter from all of the changes that are happening around this year. I know it will be a good week.

I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had in my life. The things that I have most wanted have come to fruition, and even with the things that have set me back I know I can always fall back on the fact that I really have been fortunate enough to travel the places I’ve wanted to go, continue my education the way I want to, and have done most of what I set out to do so far.

 

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 10

It’s time for a new school year! This morning I’ll be heading to work and the room will be filled with the kids I’ve been preparing the past few weeks for. This year we have a new assistant, new bell schedule and lunches, and a lot of new staff.

We get to start off the year with a clean ceiling! After watching the dirt collect around vents and light covers for the last 8 years they have come in and cleaned everything and replaced the bad ceiling tiles. It looks like a brand new band room. I’m very grateful to be able to teach in a nice facility.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do the thing that I set out to do. Not everyone ends up with that ability.

Wish I could make this longer, but it’s time to work!

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 9

This is the last night before a new school year officially starts for me. I am very thankful that we have hired someone as the music assistant who I believe shares a common vision and heart with me on running a band program and sharing music with kids. I am very optimistic that truly amazing moments will happen this year and our kids will have more opportunities than ever.

This week Joe was also able to get into the band room and hang up more medals from years past, some cork boards, and the tuba wall mounts. The room is starting to look really great, and I think it has a comfortable feel to it this year. I’m grateful that I had the time this Summer to go in and redo everything to fit our current needs.

Off I go into a week of new adventures!

52 weeks of gratitude – Week 8

Writing at least weekly has already changed my perspective. It’s another way that I can take time to honor myself. I won’t say that what I write is that good or helpful to other people. My brain feels like crusted over tectonic plates ready to give if I keep at it. At one time I think that I was actually pretty good and if my creative writing hadn’t slowed down over the years I think it would be quite good now. It’s all a process.

I have been spending this week at work getting ready for the school year to start. I’m about a days worth of work away from having every piece of paper filed away in my band room! Had the air-conditioner not busted I probably would have already been there. I’ve already sat down and begun ordering things for the new year and scheduled a lot of what could be scheduled so early on. Tomorrow we interview for our new assistant and I’m optimistic about what can be accomplished in the new year. I feel like a lot has been done to help set this year up as a success.

I tend to sell myself short. A lot. I’m my own worst enemy, but the problem is that I just can’t turn my thoughts off. Instead I try to keep my mind busy and distracted so that it doesn’t wander too much into overthinking everything. I’m working on stepping back and trying to see my strengths and flaws the way I would see anyones. I tend to give everyone I know the benefit of the doubt except myself. I have learned over time to work with the natural flow of things much more easily. I do still have the instinct to fight against every current if given a choice. I’m working on that as well. I think that I am allowing my highest good on this journey of life. Sure she’s gotten beat up a little bit with what happens to the living, but my good is still there. I believe that all people at their core are good and want to lead happy, good lives. I believe that all people start off wanting to do right, and wanting to be amazing. I know that people along the way are lost or pushed aside by the force of other people and living, and most of those people reach out for help getting back on to fulfilling their dreams. Unfortunately not everyone is seen when they are waving for help and that’s when they stop trying. To do my greatest good I think I need to continue to seek out those people that need help getting on the path again.

I’m grateful that I’ve had a few people reach out and grab me throughout my life, and that I can recognize that for what it is. I’m grateful for the new perspectives that I’m being offered, and for all of the time I’ve had for self-reflection this week. I’m also very grateful for the time to get my room and job much more in order than it ever has been before the beginning of the school year.

Have a good week.

Nothing-happens-until-something-moves-web

 

August is a time for creative sparks

This Summer has been great. It was maybe not as adventurous as some summers, but it was well-spent resetting a few things. Now that it is time to get back to work, it is time to start thinking about creativity again!  I know a few people who believe that tortured souls are needed to be truly creative. I don’t know about that, I think that it comes out of experiences which create a need for expression. There is then a practical approach to building creativity and that would be through launching these experiences.

That is what I want to do this year. Launch experiences for everyone to feel creative. I want to go back to my first years of teaching where it felt as if I was swimming in a creative life. Yes, there was also drowning in that life. This year I’m going all-in again. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to this past year, other parts of my life just needed me more. I’m expecting that to be able to swim in that deep creative ocean again will be a good thing for every facet of my life.

I don’t mind saying to the one person who may stumble across this blog (hi mom), that some of my core has been shaken in the past year but I don’t think that it’s all said and done yet. This is the year I turn 40, and I’m not done changing by a long shot.  I’m excited about working with someone new. I want to be optimistic about all of the things that my students and I can become this year.

Time to spark some creativity everywhere.

 

52 weeks of gratitude – Week 7

Ok, so it’s week seven! It’s almost midnight on Sunday and it is admittedly harder to write today. It’s not that I’m not grateful, because I am. I was actually doing extremely well. Then I ate a cookie. So first I will start with the good.

I made the decision this year to forego new clothes for work. Usually I like to buy a new wardrobe to get myself set for a new year. This year I’m trying to not have that many clothes. The clothes that I do own I want to use until they need replacing, and then get something of quality that I will love to wear. This is the plan. This kind of freed up my spend-guilt and I decided to jump into apple land again and am now the owner of an apple watch. At first I didn’t see its full value other than an extension of the iphone, but through wearing it I see my daily habits are changing. The first is that I don’t have a need to check my phone that much. Anything important comes directly to my watch as a notification, and if it’s not important enough for that it waits. I don’t have to worry if I’m missing an important phone call or text because it will let me know. That part is very calming.

The other nice thing is the health app. I have been using a fitbit since they first came out, which I believe was around 1998. I loved it, and every time they came out with a new one I got it. Including the Force which caused a rather nasty rash. After that I went back to the fitbit one, but it never quite was exciting as having it on your wrist. The way that fitness works on the apple watch and on a Fitbit are very different, and in a perfect world I could bring back the flower that grows the more active you are, and the social aspects of Fitbit competing with steps with your friends.

My general impression of the way the activity tracker works on the Apple Watch is that it is much more useful at creating multiple habits. The three rings encourage movement, standing up throughout the day, and a calorie burn goal. I have found that already I am more active than I was counting steps overall on Fitbit.

I’m also using two other health apps, the Lose it app is fantastic. I hadn’t used it in a long time, so the added feature of being able to scan barcodes to enter foods on your phone was a nice addition. I’ve set a pretty intense goal, and being able to monitor my calorie deficit throughout the day helps me to make good decisions at meals. I’ve already lost weight in the three days that I’ve been using it. Granted, it’s the same 2-3 pounds I’ve been losing and gaining for months, but I am encouraged by it.

The other app I’m using is Lark, which is more of a general habit forming health app. So far it doesn’t focus on calories at all, just generalizations about health choices throughout the day. It’s nice because it makes suggestions based on what you’ve eaten or on sleep patterns. So far using the two of them together is a good balance for me.

So I’m running out of steam right now. I wil finish this post, but I’m grateful that I’m able to do something for myself. I know that I have a challenge ahead of me as far as getting my health on track, but I’m fortunate to have the tools to make it easier.

 

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