mid-week meditation #4

Hi from Ventura, friends! I’m home for an all-too-quick visit to see my parents and my brother before he heads off to Washington D.C. on Saturday for a summer internship. {Suuuuper proud of you, Greg!}

Just wanted to pop by and share a mid-week meditation, inspired by my favorite yoga teacher Rosalyn.

yoga meditation

 

Are you holding onto something that isn’t serving you? Are you feeling guilt or shame over some past action or mistake? I love this self-forgiveness meditation by Heather Waxman. Try it out, let go of the pain you are holding against yourself, and move towards inner peace and healing.

Questions of the morning:

  • Do you practice yoga?
  • Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?

year of kindness challenge: week 39

year of kindness button

Happy October, friends! Hope your week is off to a fantastic start! I woke up with a little sore throat this morning, so I’ve been trying to be extra gentle to myself today and {fingers crossed} keep from getting sick. I’ve been downing green tea like nobody’s business! 🙂

Organized tea

The Week 38 Kindness Challenge was to let someone go ahead of you in line. I let people go ahead of me in the security line at the airport last week on my trip home from visiting Holly in Nashville, and I also let people go in front of me in line at the grocery store and the drugstore. On my trip into the city on Sunday, I let people go ahead of me onto the BART train … it meant I didn’t get a seat, but I enjoyed standing and looking out the window at the beautiful autumn leaves as the train zoomed along. I also saw a number of young men get up to offer their seats to elderly passengers, mothers and children. It warmed my heart!

This past week’s kindness challenge made me think of a sermon I heard over the summer about how moments of grace can happen in the midst of the most mundane daily activities. Our pastor spoke about a mantra that she repeats while washing the dishes or doing laundry or, yes, waiting in line at the grocery store: “Even here.” Even here, even now, even in the most chaotic and hectic days, goodness and grace and kindness can blossom. I certainly felt filled with happiness and connection this week every time I let someone go ahead of me in line. It transformed a chore into an opportunity for grace. Where can you find opportunities for grace in the margins of your daily life?

The Week 39 Kindness Challenge comes from my wonderful blogger friend Danica at It’s Progression: Write a letter {or an email or make a phone call} to a former teacher of yours, thanking them for the influence they had on you. This would also be a wonderful activity to do with children. If you are a teacher, turn it around and write a letter to a former student of yours who was really special. Teachers are such an invaluable, tireless and huge-hearted part of society and in my opinion they are not thanked nearly enough for all they do! Spread the kindness and gratitude this week!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a wonderful week!
– Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
– week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
– week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
– week 14 challenge: donate books
– week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
– week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
– week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash
– week 18 challenge: write a kind note to a mom figure in your life
– week 19 challenge: leave an extra-generous tip
– week 20 challenge: donate blood/join bone marrow registry
– week 21 challenge: visit a cemetery and pay respect
– week 22 challenge: practice a little patience
– week 23 challenge: call 3 loved ones on the phone
– week 24 challenge: do something kind for a senior citizen
– week 25 challenge: pay for someone’s public transportation
– week 26 challenge: volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
– week 27 challenge: send a care package to someone in the military
– week 28 challenge: give at least one compliment every day
– week 29 challenge: do a favor for someone else
– week 30 challenge: scatter lucky pennies around a playground
– week 31 challenge: mail an empowering postcard
– week 32 challenge: plant something
– week 33 challenge: donate school supplies
– week 34 challenge: give a sandwich to a homeless person
week 35 challenge: compliment a salesperson to their manager
week 36 challenge: leave positive feedback
week 37 challenge: do a household kindness
week 38 challenge: let someone go ahead of you in line

what I wore to teach writing camp

I was delighted to teach a special one-day winter break session of my youth writing camp this past weekend! It was so much fun. I always come away from teaching creative writing sessions thinking, “I hope my students had even half as much fun as I did!” 🙂

When deciding upon what to wear to teach writing camp, I tried to come up with an outfit that was:
1) fun
2) professional, and
3) warm {it was cold by California standards this weekend!}

Inspired by Deme at Fresh Coat of Paint, I ended up layering a sweater underneath a pretty summer dress and pairing it with tights and flats. I also added some sparkly jewelry and a flower barrette for extra flair.

writing camp outfit

Here’s a back view:

writing camp outfit

I was pleased with the outcome! I think the pop of bright blue made for a cheerful and inviting look, which is great when working with young people and trying to establish and open, fun and safe classroom environment. {And I’m linked up at Fine Linen & Purple, woo hoo!}

I was really excited to find these babies at the grocery store yesterday:

pumpkin marshmallows

PUMPKIN MARSHMALLOWS!!

I used them to make a pumpkin-y batch of my rice krispies treats, which I brought to writing camp as a snack for the kids. They gobbled them up! The pumpkin marshmallows are a nice seasonal change from regular marshmallows. Highly recommended!

rice krispie treats pumpkin

Hope your day is going wonderfully!

-Dallas

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You might also enjoy these posts:

what I wore to thanksgiving dinner
what I wore to see “the nutcracker”
rice krispies treats with m&ms

school paper organization

Happy Wednesday! Hope you’re having a great week! It’s been sunny and gorgeous here. I have been eating lunch outside whenever possible. There’s a grassy quad outside of Heavilon Hall, the main academic building for the English department where I spend most of my time, and it’s so nice to sit under the trees, soaking up the warm sunshine. Hard to believe it will all be covered in snow in a few months! As a California transplant, that is one thing I still can’t get used to — the extreme change in seasons. When it’s summer, I can’t imagine it ever getting cold. When it’s winter, it seems like summer will never come again!

{Or maybe I just need to stop being so dramatic…} 😉

At the beginning of a new school year, I always start off with such great organization intentions. I’ll buy a new binder or notebook. I’ll print out my schedule of where I need to be and when. I’ll redouble my efforts to keep a daily planner. {Something I tend to be good at for a while, and then forget to write things down for a few weeks and get off-routine. Does that happen to any of you guys?}

Organization is certainly important to being a successful student, and it has become extra-important for me since I’ve started teaching. I want to model good organization habits for my students. In previous years I’ve never been supremely disorganized — in fact, from the outside, it probably looks like I have everything together pretty well. {At least, I hope my students think so!} But it’s been something I’ve wanted to get an even better handle on. I hate carting around old papers I no longer need. I hate having to rifle through papers to find a handout for a student who was absent. I hate that sinking-stomach feeling when I realized I didn’t make copies of an assignment sheet I’d been planning to go over in class that day. Etc, etc, etc …

In previous semesters teaching, I tried to use a 3-ring binder to organize everything. It worked pretty well, but was a little bulky and cumbersome to carry around, and the cover started to fall off after about a year. It could also be a little tedious to have to 3-hole punch all my papers, and as the semester progressed I would always accumulate a pile of papers hanging out in the front pocket that I hadn’t gotten around to 3-hole punching and organizing into the proper divider.

This year, I decided to try a slightly new tactic and use an accordian file folder instead of a binder to organize my teaching papers:

I found this one in the $1 section of Target. Look familiar? Yep, it’s the same style I used to organize my stationary stash, only this one is clear instead of blue. I like that it’s made of a durable-feeling plastic, has an easy-to-use elastic clasp, and folds up pretty narrowly to easily slide into my bookbag.

I am teaching two classes this semester, Freshman Composition and Professional Writing. Most of the assignments and grading for Professional Writing are done online through a course website, so I only needed to use one section of the accordian folder for that course. I put that section in the back since I teach Professional Writing directly after I teach Freshman Composition. The rest of the file folder I used for my Freshman Composition course. I organized my papers as follows:

– First section: Attendance sheet, class calendar, and handouts for the day.

– Second section: Copies for the upcoming week.

– Third section: Papers to pass back.

– Fourth section: Papers to grade.

– Fifth section: Professional Writing.

This new system is working really well for me so far! It’s forced me to purge all my unnecessary & old papers, stay organized week-by-week, and keep everything in one place. And it’s easy to carry around with me, allowing me to get a lot of grading and responding to student work done in small snippets of time throughout the day. I find it a lot less overwhelming to grade in little-by-little chunks instead of in one big block of time on the weekend.

How are you getting organized this school year? What helps you stick with an organization system? I’d love to hear your tips for organizing the tons of papers that inevitably pile up during the school year!

Always,
Dallas

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-Time spent: 15 minutes
-Cost: $1