One Word Blog Challenge 2015

I’ve honestly never been one to relish the New Year’s holiday, as it follows so closely after the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.  By the New Year, I tend to find myself all “holiday-ed out.”  My New Year holiday tends to consist of watching both the New York Times Square ball drop and/or the Moon Pie drop in Alabama.  Big, fancy nights out with a new baby in tow:  Not so much.

However, after reading the inspirational “One Word Goal” challenges on the SNAP blog http://snapcreativity.com/category/blogging-tips/  I’ve decided that I would also like to partake in a one word goal challenge this year.  My one word goal for the year 2015 is HEALTH.  This word, as I address it as my goal, means not only physical health, but also reaching for optimal health in the areas of mental/mindfulness and spirituality.

First let’s start with the physical:  I plan to take better care of my body, because all bodies are sacred.  Bodies are the vessel of our soul which was given to us by G-d.  I have changed over to eating a 90% natural diet, free of most preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial coloring.  I am trying desperately to give up all caffeine, but I realize that this may be the part of the goal that will actually be the most difficult.  I’ve trimmed caffeine usage to one cup of coffee or diet soda per day, but would like to soon ditch the stimulant and bid its unhealthy fizzy friends goodbye.  I’ve also turned into a regular H2O freak, guzzling bottles of water to try to stay as hydrated as possible, as well as to help my kidneys function at maximum capacity.  In addition to changes in my eating and drinking habits, I have begun to work out each and every day for an hour.  Right now, it’s mostly just a combination of swimming laps, walking the track, and participating in an occasional gentle yoga class.  However, as I continue to work at my fitness goals, I plan to increase the rigor of my fitness activities.  I’m looking into investing into a digital fitness tracker with my sights set on either the Garmin Vivofit2 or fitbit Plus to provide that extra push.  After all, it’s the dopamine-reward system center of our brain that causes us to reach and push for more as a reward to our self, and, ultimately, a feeling of achievement.  Lastly, I’ve signed up with a work partner for our “Commit to Get Fit” coordinated school health initiative at work.  I’m looking forward to watching those numbers on the scale decrease, as my health and energy levels increase.

IMG_0952

Mental/mindfulness/spiritual health:  I now realize the importance of a hyper-scheduled day.  Don’t get me wrong, a day with relaxation and as little stress as possible is always a good thing.  For me, those times should be scheduled into my day to create an environment that is as peaceful and predictable as possible.  I’ve begun the practice of having a more goal-directed, mindful environment in terms of practices I put forth.  I have started a journal to my son to record all of the small, meaningful moments and thoughts that, without being recorded, will likely escape us like the sands of time.  I hope to be able to preserve these memories so we can look back when he is much older, and, we will be able to smile sweetly at the preciousness of a simpler time when he greeted me with smiles and tiny baby giggles in the morning.  In addition to these writings, I’ve also begun to keep a goal journal with what I call “landmarks” along the way.  Each “landmark” is a special place that I would like to get to one my journey.  These “landmarks” will help me know that I’m on the right track, or, conversely, that I need to reassess where I am currently at and take a different direction to get to my goal.  Lastly, I plan to meditate and pray more often.  This should most likely have been mentioned first, however, I would like it to be something that I eventually incorporate into my morning routines upon waking, and my evening routines before going to bed.  The Shema always brings me comfort, as well as the verse from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your G-d will be with you wherever you go.”  I am currently working on a painting of this verse to be hung on the wall in my office as a constant reminder that fear and discouragement have no place in a life well-lived and full of HEALTH.

Changes, Health, and Education: An Update

Many changes have occurred since my last blog post.  The biggest of these, of course, has been the brilliant, wonderful, awe-inspiring addition of our baby boy to the mix.  Throughout a difficult high-risk pregnancy (complete with cholestasis of the liver, daily blood thinner injections, and trips to the perinatologist), my husband and I were blessed to witness the miracle of life.  These welcome distractions brought about a multitude of changes, not being limited to:

1.

A complete change of perspective about the importance, and, often unexpected, circumstances that can complicate one’s own health.  I always preach the importance of safety, be it classroom or family, but, this time, the tables had turned.  I was the one who was not well, and, in turn, was worried constantly about the health of my unborn child.  Take care of your body.  Eat clean foods with low sugar and salt, as well as decreasing or altogether eliminating additives/artificial coloring and preservatives.  Your health depends on it, and, you, my friend, depend on your health.

Fun Medical MGD©

2.

Free time? What is this free time you speak of?  While the addition of a baby will not leave you with any extra minutes to your day, it is still important to try and find tiny slivers of the day where you can sit, breathe, and reflect.  My scrapbooking table runeth-over with projects left over from my pregnancy days.  However, I have found that coloring is my newest “make-due-with-the-few-minutes-you-have” meditation activity.  com has a plethora of adult coloring books like mandalas, stained-glass patterns, etc.  Time to bust out the Crayola products!

file000605645869

3.

 My research interests. Professionally, this should be number two on the list.  I say number two, because, without number one, your health, not much is going to happen for you on the professional level. While my presentations on Common Core exemplar text utilization have been a great success, I have extensively exploring the classroom potential of discoveries in the field of brain-based education.  I am currently developing a marketable teacher inservice presentation, as well as distilling the essence of the presentation for a one hour presentation for this upcoming January’s “Lifelines” professional development day at Union University.

brain

4.

I’ve put my doctoral education plans on hold for the immediate moment. I have every intention of potentially revisiting these dreams in the future, but, for now, the focus is on health, family, and growing as professional teacher and librarian.  With that being said, I’m leaning strongly towards brain-based education doctoral programs.  God bless the fluidity of the internet and the potential for distance-learning courses.

file000894312228

Check out my blog over these next few months for posts about brain-based learning, including book reviews, teacher and student handouts, article links, blogs to follow, and much more!

Miles to go, and forever grateful for this life!

Cheers!

Meg