Saturday, December 30, 2017

Stretch: What I Learned Along the Way

"Lean into the stretch and grow, breakthrough limits and old ways that no longer serve and eventually soar and reach deeper levels of strength and faith and expression."  

 - Christine Arylo, Are You Feeling Stretched?

In 2017, I chose the word STRETCH (read about it here).  I'm honestly having a hard time leaving in 2018 though I know what I've learned will stay with me.  In a new position at school, STRETCH gave me permission to tackle tougher challenges.  An introvert at heart, STRETCH made me reach out to others a bit more (yeah, I'm not there yet).  Here are a few favorite STRETCHes from 2017.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Slice of Life: When You Can't Decide

I'm a terrible decision maker.  There are just so many possibilities in this world, I don't want to have to decide.  It's the reason I say I will cook, but I dislike having to choose what we are having for dinner.  It's the reason I am always reading at least three books at a time.  It's the reason getting dressed each morning is a dreaded task.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This evening I was gathered with friends on the patio for dessert.  It was the perfect night, minus a few mosquitoes, the temperature was just right, daylight stayed late, and the conversation was delightful.  After chatting over tacos and salsa, we left the table to get some dessert.  As we gathered around the kitchen counter, two glorious pies were lifted from their containers.  Oh no, two pies?!?  Decision time.  The first pie was a strawberry pie with whip cream swirling across the top.  Who can resist a strawberry pie?  Especially in June when strawberries are at their best.

Out came pie number two.   Once again the fluffy layer of whipped cream across the top hid the pie underneath, but the chocolate chips decorating the top were a dead giveaway.  Chocolate pie!  Both pies looked ah-maz-ing!  What to do?  What to do?

I was stuck.  Chocolate or strawberry.  Chocolate or strawberry.  Then I realized maybe this wasn't an "either-or" question, maybe this was an "and" solution.  Why not a little bit of both?

Why make a decision when one doesn't need to be made?  Why choose one piece of pie when you can have two?  Life's too short to limit ourselves, when you can't decide, don't.

It's Tuesday.  Today I'm joining the Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

#SOL17 Day 12: Let Them Eat Cake

I've never been a baker.  I don't mind cooking, and at times I almost enjoy it, but baking makes me want to run and hide.  I have friends and family that bake.  I always hope their talents will rub off on me.  My sister-in-law is an amazing baker.  She whips up cakes like it is her job.  She can make a cheesecake in a blink of an eye.  Need cookies?  She can bake dozens without breaking a sweat.  Everything she bakes is delicious and there isn't a recipe she can't make better.

Baking for me as never been easy.  My friend, Julie, is also a baker.  She bakes cakes with the greatest of ease and makes a-maz-ing biscotti.  Julie makes baking sound effortless, but I'm not fooled.  She has listened to my fear of baking and has assured me I can bake.  She shared a few tips and has helped me to at least think I might some day be able to bake.

In the last few years, I've gotten braver.  I've stopped buying cake mixes and started finding recipes I'd like to try.  I've managed an oreo cake that is a family favorite.  I also have a chocolate bundt cake recipe that is sure to be a hit at any party.  I'm not afraid to dive into the cranberry-carrot-cake recipe that has become a holiday favorite and have a lemon cake recipe that's perfect for summer.  Still, every time I'm asked to bring a dessert I want to wiggle out of it.  Every time I face a new cake recipe, I wonder if I can even come close to making it edible.

Tonight, I took the big plunge:  German chocolate cake.  My dad's birthday is tomorrow so I decided I'd try to make him one of his favorite cakes.  German chocolate cake has always been a recipe I have steered clear of in my attempts to bake.  Anything that requires multiple layers AND has a special icing recipe seems like something I should try to avoid.  Since it was Dad's birthday, I decided I'd give it my best shot.  This afternoon I gathered the ingredients and started to make the cake.  As I gathered the ingredients I wondered how anyone could not like German chocolate cake; there is a huge amount of butter, sugar, and buttermilk in that recipe.  What could go wrong?

As I mixed the ingredients the batter looked pretty good as I poured it into the pans and placed it in the oven.  This is the part that always gets me.  How to get that cake out of the oven at just the right moment so it is cooked, but not overdone and dry?  That's always the challenge.  When the timer went off I wasn't overly pleased with what I was seeing, but I thought I was okay.  I decided to turn the cakes over quickly to see if that might make them come out of the pan with greater ease, but not letting them cool for a few minutes turned out to be a bad idea.  Each layer had tears and jagged edges.  I decided to grab a piece to taste it and it tasted pretty good.

Years ago, my cousin and I made a cake for my grandpa.  I can't remember what kind of a cake it was, but by the time we were done it looked awful.  Grandpa cheerfully ate a piece of that cake, reminding us that the look of a cake wasn't nearly as important as the taste.  He assured us we had made a cake that tasted delightful.  Well, he was probably telling a story, but now as I stood here years later looking at the jagged pieces of this German chocolate cake, I had to laugh.

Wondering why I didn't just order a cake, I went into the kitchen to make the icing.  The recipe said to melt the butter, add evaporated milk, sugar, and heat it until it was thick and golden brown.  I stirred forever.  What would golden brown look like exactly?   Finally, I decided it seemed thick enough, added the vanilla, coconut, and pecans to complete the icing.

Somehow I managed to carefully stack one layer on top of the other.  The icing made it simple to hide the tears and jagged edges.  When I was finished the cake was presentable.  I hoped Grandpa was right all of those years ago and that the taste of the cake was more important than the look.  (One of these times I'd like to make a cake that has both taste and presentation.  #lifegoals)

After dinner I brought out the cake and we all sang happy birthday to my dad and Lisa.  I had to chuckle to myself as I thought about all the little challenges that had popped up along the way.   Despite the earlier drama, the cake seemed to do the trick.  How can you go wrong with a little cake and ice-cream?

Another cake successfully served, but I'm still not sure I have discovered the joy of baking.  I certainly haven't mastered any of the tricks.  I'm not sure I'll tackle another German chocolate cake in the near future, but I did at least give it a try.  That's progress.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

#SOL17 Day 9: Who's in Charge?

Dog prances
at 4:30 a.m.
pitter patter
tap tap
her feet prance
on the wood floor.

I try to ignore her
but the pitter patter
tap tap 

I roll over
hoping to continue
to sleep.
Hoping she'll
settle back down, 
but soon I hear
the pitter patter 
tap tap.   

I rise 
let her out.
She wins, 
yet again.  

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017 

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

#SOL17 Day 8: Hello, Daylight

Taking the dog out
in the early morning,
there used to be black,
but now -

Getting in the car
to drive to school,
there used to be darkness,
but now -

It is now possible
to tell morning from night,
as the world awakens,

As the day turns
to afternoon;
the sun shines bright,

Driving home
at the end of the day,
impossible to believe,

Evening now brings
time to walk,
time to get outside,
the joy of

After a winter
of unending darkness,
my heart sings.
Thank you,

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#SOL17: Find Your Tribe

This evening I sit here with a cup of coffee by my side as friends gently tap away at their keyboards or jot in their notebooks.  I'm not sure what anyone is writing right now;  I just know that everyone IS writing something.  Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the month as several teachers from around the district gather for a writing class.  Our class, "Amplify Voices:  Teachers as Writers," meets once a month.  I've come to look forward to our time together as we all wrestle with the challenges of writing.  From coming up with ideas, getting started, finding time, and discovering our voices, we listen to one another to consider new possibilities and solutions.  Our reasons for being here are varied, and each is finding her own path.  This time each month make me get my fingers to the keyboard and keeps me committed to continuing to grow as a writer.

I've come to realize that in anything I do, the secret is in finding my people.

We've been meeting since October, in a small classroom with rolling desks and checkered carpet squares.  The room has windows from wall to wall on two sides, adding sunlight to our work and allowing a space for daydreaming.  At our first meeting, the room was filled with apprehension as we timidly shared our work at the end of our time together.  During our time that night, we each talked about our reasons for joining the class and the plan we had for our time.

We've been meeting for many months and each of us have grown in our writing.  "What have you learned about yourself as a writer?" I posed as we started our quick write at the beginning of our meeting.  Pens went to paper, iPads were poised, and computer keyboards began clicking.  While we used to pause in these times, everyone started writing and were still writing when the time was up.  As usual, the conversation did not disappoint.  "I find I go to the same topics over and over again," one participant confided.  We discussed the ways we too often feel pulled to familiar topics.

"I find it is easiest to write the things closest to my heart," another layered into the conversation.

We all started this journey in different places, and we each were reflecting on new discoveries we've made about the challenge - and joy - of finding our voice.  "It's been the partnerships that have helped me," added another group member.  "I've learned so much from listening to everyone and hearing their writing."

Ideas continued to popcorn around the table.  It's always hard to end these conversations, but we try hard to value the time to write and leave enough time for everyone to get a few thoughts down on paper.

As someone who writes, I'm always trying to grow my habit, improve my craft, find my voice, but it is moments like these, surrounded by others who know the struggle and the celebration that I feel most at home.  My cup of coffee is now gone and I'm nearing the end of this piece.  As I pause I hear the gentle scratch of the pen beside me and know that everyone is finding their way on the page right now.  I look forward to hearing what everyone has written today, and what I will learn from their conversation.  These nights have been a gift.  I've pushed myself to get back in the habit and take new steps thanks to this group.

As in anything in this life, if you want to move forward, find your tribe.

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

#SOL17 Day 6: Bookshelf Therapy

This year, I've moved into a new role in our district and I love it!  Though I wake up every day looking forward to the new opportunities, I do miss so many things about being in the classroom.  Sometimes I just want to pop into a classroom and share a read aloud or gather a group of students for shared reading.  When I see teachers, with their students all gathered in community conversation, a little pang of sadness tugs at my heart.  Even trying to work through the Slice of Life Challenge without my class of students beside me brings a bit of melancholy.

It's hard to change the rhythms of our days.  There are times I want to just arrange supplies or gather a variety of paper for writers.  There are moments I want to grab a dry erase board to write a morning message, or put together magnetic letters for a word study lesson.  Most of all, not surprisingly, I miss the joy of sharing books every single day with a group of young readers.  I miss seeing their reaction to the stories we read.  I miss the conversations.

I miss having a classroom library.  Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of books in my world.  My picture books have taken over my daughter's old room.  My Kindle has a steadily growing collection of favorites I like to have by my side when I'm talking with teachers and students.  Every chance I get I'm still wandering bookstores to discover new titles.  Apparently, though I have many books, I miss arranging them and rearranging them in my classroom.

Sunday morning as I struggled with my post, I found myself on a search for poetry by Billy Collins (yeah, I don't know how I get on these tangents...that's a post for another day).  I decided to quit aimlessly searching the internet, and go to my poetry books.  You know it goes when you start going through your books.  It wasn't long until I had somehow moved from my quest to locate books by Billy Collins and found myself gathering stacks of my favorite poetry books.   Once I had so many books out, it only made sense to move all of my poetry into the family room where I could see them and read them daily.

Well, you know how it goes.  Moving the poetry meant moving the professional books.  Moving the professional books meant going through the fiction.

It wasn't long until I had left my computer and managed to tear apart bookshelves in my daugher's room, my bedroom, our living room and our family room.  I've been collecting poetry for many years and was caught up in the joy of rediscovery.  There was something cathartic about touching all the books, arranging them, and then rearranging them until everything was in its place.  As my personal poetry collection came together in one space, I realized there was just enough extra room to add a few picture book favorites.  A win!

I guess in the midst of the chaos I found another secret to making myself feel better when I am missing the classroom:  a little bookshelf therapy.

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

#SOL17 Day 5: A Local Gem

Photo via Ann & Tony's
For as long as I can remember, I've lived in a small town.  When people ask me where I live one of three things usually happens; either they've never heard of our town, they know someone from the town (and I almost always know them too) or they ask, "Is that the town with the great Italian restaurant?".  Yep, that's the one.

For as long as I can remember, Ann & Tony's has been a part of our town and a part of our lives.  Most people in our town can tell a story about the restaurant, the owners, or some event celebrated at the restaurant.  My grandparents loved to eat in the restaurant.  We've gathered as a family for many meals in the restaurant, celebrated a few birthdays, and entertained a few guests by showing off the small gem of our town.

Today my aunt and uncle were visiting from North Carolina.  We all met at the restaurant to catch up before they headed back home.  As usual, the restaurant was the hub of after-church activity as families came in one after another.  My daughter and I split the Italian Combination with chicken parmesan, spaghetti, and lasagna.  It was delicious.

When you live in a small town, you grow to love its many charms.  Ann & Tony's is certainly at the top of that list.

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  


Saturday, March 4, 2017

#SOL17 Day 4: Life from a Chair

How I got to today's writing.

  • I love the poetry of Billy Collins.  
  • I own most of his work.
  • I own, and repeatedly listen to, the audio of his night at the Peter Norton Symphony.  
  • Yesterday Heide Mordhorst, at My Juicy Little Universe, gathered the Poetry Friday group to join in an early celebration for his birthday (which, I believe, is March 22nd).  
  • Even Garrison Keiller, at The Writer's Almanac, seemed to be whispering to me as he shared I Love You by Billy Collins in yesterday's podcast.  
  • Late last night (which 7:30 for me), I went searching for my favorite poem.  It was a challenge.  Who doesn't love The Lanyard, The Trouble with Poetry, or Forgetfulness (or a million others).
I couldn't escape from the one poem that always fascinates me with its mystery:  The Chairs that No One Sits In by Billy Collins.  Here are the first three stanzas from his poem which you can read and listen to at the Writer's Almanac.

The Chairs that No One Sits In 
by Billy Collins

You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

From my balcony chair
I watch as the sun
from the sky
resting on the lake
radiating color
across the still water.

I could sit 
in this chair 
for days
watching the cars
drive by,
seeing the sun
reflect across
the Michigan lake.

My feet 
up on the balacony
a good book
in my hand
and nothing but time
to breathe
in the peace 
that surrounds me.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  


Friday, March 3, 2017

#SOL17 Day 3: Each Sky

The door opens.
I step outside
greeted by the sky burst -

I don't know
how many suns,
how many moons,
how many times,
I've looked at the sky.

Sunrise or sunset.
Morning or night.
Mid afternoon
as clouds dance across the sky.

Every single time,
my breath catches.
I stop;
caught in the moment.

Each sky
a new masterpiece,
painted hues
of possibility.

I don't know how many times
I've marveled.
I only know
each sky
a gift.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

#SOL17 Day 2: A New Kind of Challenge

Maybe comfort zones aren't all they're cracked up to be I told myself as I drove to our morning meeting.  Barely a week ago I had been asked to prepare an Ignite presentation for our administrators' meeting.  At first, I hoped they'd asked the wrong person, but after some checking, I found out I was indeed one of four people who would share their Ignite in less than a week.

I'd like to tell you the first thing I said was, "Sure I'll do that.  It sounds like a great challenge," but I'd be lying a bit.  I'd like to tell you my mind began to race with all of the possibilities, but that wouldn't be the truth.  I must admit my first thought was, "How do I politely dodge this one?"  Then I remembered that my word this year is STRETCH, and I reminded myself that my new position requires me to improve my thinking on my feet, to take new chances, to walk bravely into the uncomfortable, so I swallowed my NO and replaced it with a YES.  (Maybe all of those growth mindset lessons are starting to work.)

Once I knew there was no turning back, I did what I always do when I'm trying to write or create something new, I searched for mentors.  After watching a few Ignite videos, reading tips for planning, and brainstorming a list of possibilities, I got to work.  All the advice said to pick a main message, determine 3-4 key points, develop each, and plan an ending.  Sitting at our dining room table I began to brainstorm in post-its, lining ideas up into categories.  Then I found the 20 slides that would tell my story and began to write the 15 seconds of talk for each slide.  For days I practiced, sneaking in a few attempts each morning, a few more in the afternoon, and a final practice each night.  As I practiced I learned tricks to adjust when my timing was off.

When I woke up this morning, I knew there was nothing to do but push forward.  As I grabbed my bags to leave I tore yesterday's calendar page off to find today's message read, "With the realization that making a mistake was not a felony, she finally set herself free to take risks and enjoy her adventure."  That settled it.  All would be fine.

Driving along the familiar roads, I coached myself through my apprehension.  When I arrived at the meeting I reminded myself that comfort zones were made to be pushed.  Time seemed to move into slow motion as I waited for information to be shared and group discussions to be complete.  The Ignite presenters before me kept my mind off the challenge as I listened to them share their inspiring messages.  Finally, it was my turn.  I looked out at the large crowd gathered together, took a deep breath and dove.

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#SOL17 Day 1: Just Write

"Everyone lies about writing.  They lie about how easy it is or how hard it is.  The truth is, writing is this; hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not."  
                                                                                         -Amy Poehler, Yes Please 

"I can't do this," I confided.  "I like to finish everything I start, but I'm not sure I can write every single day.  Once I start something I really want to finish it, but I have a hard time putting writing out there that I don't like.  I don't expect to love it all, but I would like to at least like it."

My friend, Deb, returned, "It's not a story; it's a slice." 


"Just write."

"That's it; just write," Deb countered after advising I get my big girl panties on and get busy.  

You see, after five years of participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, I've learned that this challenge helps me to get back into the habit of writing.  I've learned that you find a lot more to write about when you intentionally look AND make yourself put your fingers to the keyboard each day.  I've learned there is something about a community that pushes you forward during the tough parts.  I've learned these great lessons, but I also know how truly hard it can be.  I know the time it takes to not only do your own writing but to also visit the blogs of other writers (and visiting other blogs is the best part).  

As I enter year six, I fully understand the challenge that is ahead.  I want to say no, but I know that I have to do this.  So, here we go.  Please know that if you follow the journey there may be a few nearly polished pieces but, for the most part, you will find some raw writing.  Time will tell where the journey will lead.  

Thanks to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for pushing me to dig a little deeper and find the stories that slip through my fingers each and every day.  

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Slice of Life: Fleeting Moments

I started to make a collage of memories from 2016, but I quickly realized too much had happened to gather it all in a collage.     If you would have asked me about 2016, I would have managed to recall a few highlights.  The images I had collected told a richer story of family, friends, new opportunities, and a bit of adventure.  

Fleeting Moments

roll on 
in fleeting moments.

we try to hold them
in our hearts, 
but memories dim.

we try to capture them
in collected images,
but they're easily lost.

we try to explain them
in words and lines,
but they fade on the page. 

in a year's time
doors open
to new opportunities.

family and friends
gather in celebration, 
share in laughter. 

new places 
offer a chance to revision
our understanding of the world.

each day
the sun rises and sets
the same, yet different.

we search 
for a way to hold 
all of it in our hand.

but moments 
aren't meant to be held,
they're meant to be lived.

each coloring who we are,
preparing us 
for our tomorrow.  

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017 


Monday, January 2, 2017

2017: My One Little Word

Hello, New Year.

This is the week that the world will be off and running with good intentions to change.  The gym will be crowded.  Organization tubs will be purchased.  Lists will be made.  Refrigerators will be cleaned out and healthier fare will replace all the holiday goodies that were there just a week before.  We'll all be searching for the better form of ourselves.  It is in these first weeks of a new year I often hear people talk about a quest to find balance:  a harmony between the many hats we each wear in this life. Many years ago I too sought balance, but as life marched on I began to realize that the best things happened when life was, quite honestly, a bit out of balance.  Can too much balance result in missed opportunities?  In our search for balance, we have to be judicious in our no's, be careful of our essential choices, but we can't overlook opportunities.

One Little Word
About two weeks ago, I heard a podcast ( A Little Happier:  What's Your One Word Theme for the New Year with Gretchen Rubin) about finding your one word so I started looking for my word to guide me through 2017.  This advanced notice was appreciated as I like my word to "find" me, and it hasn't always happened quickly.  As words found their way into my days, I began to make a list and --- this won't surprise anyone --- it was a long one.  I had several words I wanted to consider for my new year.  I narrowed the list to five and then to three, trying each word on for a day or two.

The quest for a new word is never easy, but always worth the effort.  Having never been someone who does well with resolutions, I've enjoyed having one new word to shape my journey for the last few years.  I've found one word or phrase to be easy to remember, applicable across contexts, and helpful in my continued steps forward.  Here are the words or phrases I have selected in the past:

The Quest 
To find my word, I needed to reflect on the previous year.  In 2016, a few things happened that probably have made me look at my life map with a greater pause.  First of all, I celebrated a big --- okay, really big --- birthday.  All of my friends told me that "at our age (the one where they send you an AARP card)" we finally have it all together, we can say what we want, we are sailing.  Oh, how I wish there were truth in their statement.  I'm finding quite the opposite to be true.  The new lessons from a big birthday, a new position as our district's elementary literacy instructional leader, a flood in our basement, and my children's continued steps forward in their own lives, have made me reconsider all that is possible.  As Mary Oliver asks, "Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  We may only have "one wild and precious life," but we can constantly reinvent it or change its course.    

Truthfully, I've really never been one to feel I have it all figured out.  I consider that a gift.  It helps me to continually think about what might be possible next.  This new decade feels quite similar to life in my 20s where there was so much to figure out; so many new possibilities ahead.  It's probably this search that soon led me to my word.  As I pondered new word possibilities, I found I kept coming back to a word I heard in November.  It was a word I first heard from Christine Arylo when her Positively Positive's post came up in my account:  Are You Feeling Stretched?.
"Every person I know who is awake, open-hearted, and desiring to live their greatest life, in alignment with their soul, is being called to their 'edge' - personally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically."  --- Christine Arylo

Seek the Soul Stretch
There was something about the word "stretch" that I appreciated.  A stretch seems better than balance to me.  Balance makes me feel like I'm trying to control chaos, but a stretch feels like I'm reaching for something that will move me to a better place.  A stretch isn't outside of our limits, but pushes us toward new horizons.  A stretch says it might be hard, it might even be something life has just sent our way, but it is something we can do.  Christine's advice, "Lean into the stretch and grow, breakthrough limits and old ways that no longer serve and eventually soar and reach deeper levels of strength and faith and expression."  In 2017, I hope to seek the soul stretch.  It's only in the stretch we can continue to grow.  

One Little Word 2020

As Christmas approached this year, I looked at the calendar and took a deep breath.  We were out of school on Friday and everyone was arri...