Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spring into Happy

I saw this article and I really liked the way that Jeff Haden outlined ten ways to be happier.  He approached a difficult subject in such a simple, matter of fact way.  I hope you find yourself reading it more than once and applying this to the first day of spring, by springing in to action!  It may be an opportunity to reflect about yourself and others and to take positive steps in becoming a better person, at home or at work.

Be Happier: 10 Things to Stop Doing Right

Sometimes the route to happiness depends more on what you don’t do.

Happiness–in your business life and your personal life–is often a matter of subtraction, not addition.

Consider, for example, what happens when you stop doing the following 10 things:

1. Blaming.

People make mistakes. Employees don’t meet your expectations. Vendors don’t deliver on time.

So you blame them for your problems.

But you’re also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training. Maybe you didn’t build in enough of a buffer. Maybe you asked too much, too soon.

Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others isn’t masochistic, it’s empowering–because then you focus on doing things better or smarter next time.

And when you get better or smarter, you also get happier.

2. Impressing.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

Sure, superficially they might seem to, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship that is not based on substance is not a real relationship.

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

3. Clinging.

When you’re afraid or insecure, you hold on tightly to what you know, even if what you know isn’t particularly good for you.

An absence of fear or insecurity isn’t happiness: It’s just an absence of fear or insecurity.

Holding on to what you think you need won’t make you happier; letting go so you can reach for and try to earn what you want will.

Even if you don’t succeed in earning what you want, the act of trying alone will make you feel better about yourself.

4. Interrupting.

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.”

Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say.

They’ll love you for it–and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

5. Whining.

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems makes you feel worse, not better.

If something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that effort into making the situation better. Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to do that. So why waste time? Fix it now.

Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just be the shoulder they cry on.

Friends don’t let friends whine–friends help friends make their lives better.

6. Controlling.

Yeah, you’re the boss. Yeah, you’re the titan of industry. Yeah, you’re the small tail that wags a huge dog.

Still, the only thing you really control is you. If you find yourself trying hard to control other people, you’ve decided that you, your goals, your dreams, or even just your opinions are more important than theirs.

Plus, control is short term at best, because it often requires force, or fear, or authority, or some form of pressure–none of those let you feel good about yourself.

Find people who want to go where you’re going. They’ll work harder, have more fun, and create better business and personal relationships.

And all of you will be happier.

7. Criticizing.

Yeah, you’re more educated. Yeah, you’re more experienced. Yeah, you’ve been around more blocks and climbed more mountains and slayed more dragons.

That doesn’t make you smarter, or better, or more insightful.

That just makes you you: unique, matchless, one of a kind, but in the end, just you.

Just like everyone else–including your employees.

Everyone is different: not better, not worse, just different. Appreciate the differences instead of the shortcomings and you’ll see people–and yourself–in a better light.

8. Preaching.

Criticizing has a brother. His name is Preaching. They share the same father: Judging.

The higher you rise and the more you accomplish, the more likely you are to think you know everything–and to tell people everything you think you know.

When you speak with more finality than foundation, people may hear you but they don’t listen. Few things are sadder and leave you feeling less happy.

9. Dwelling.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Then let it go.

Easier said than done? It depends on your focus. When something bad happens to you, see that as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, see that as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you will make sure that, next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

10. Fearing.

We’re all afraid: of what might or might not happen, of what we can’t change, or what we won’t be able to do, or how other people might perceive us.

So it’s easier to hesitate, to wait for the right moment, to decide we need to think a little longer or do some more research or explore a few more alternatives.

Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by.

And so do our dreams.

Don’t let your fears hold you back. Whatever you’ve been planning, whatever you’ve imagined, whatever you’ve dreamed of, get started on it today.

If you want to start a business, take the first step. If you want to change careers, take the first step. If you want to expand or enter a new market or offer new products or services, take the first step.

Put your fears aside and get started. Do something. Do anything.

Otherwise, today is gone. Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever.

Today is the most precious asset you own–and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.

This article was writen by Jeff Haden, writer for The Inc.

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We Welcome Spring!

April, Dear April

April, dear April, I beg you come soon – And bring your sweet primroses too. Let them join in with the daffodils’ play, As skies offer sunshine anew.
April, dear April, my blessed spring child, Ornate in your yellow and white, Teasing the birds into trilling their songs And dancing to music of flight.
April, dear April, come enter my dreams And rid me from cold winter chills. Banish the rain and those blustery winds And warm up our countryside hills.
April, dear April, I know you can’t stay – You have to move on ‘till next year. And though I shall cherish the glory of summer, You’ll always be my month most dear.

From: Succumbed to Thinking by Mark Raymond Slaughter

No Matter How Long the Road,

Winter Does Turn into Spring

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Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Thank you for nominating me for this award. I really appreciate your kindness and  support!

Liebster Award is given to bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  It’s meant to encourage those bloggers to keep up the good work.  Nominations are given by fellow bloggers.

The rules for the Liebster Award are to publicly thank the person who nominated me, so big thanks to you   I appreciate your kind words and for thinking of me. Then I have to share 11 things about myself and answer the 11 questions that were asked of me.  I must write-up 11 questions of my own that the 11 bloggers that I will nominate shall answer.

11 Things About Myself

1. I’m a daughter.

2. I’m a mom.

3. I’m a sister.

4. I’m married.

5. I have 2 wonderful children.

6.  I love sunsets and listening to the water.

7.  I enjoy reading stories about families and writing for enjoyment.

8. I have been blessed with wonderful friends.

9. I started this blog about five months ago.

10.  I have a great dog that is always in a good mood.

11.  I like my tea in the morning.

Eleven Questions That Were Asked By The Blog Who Nominated Me

  • What’s your favorite film? Some of my favorites are, “To Sir With Love” and “City of Angels”.
  • What kind of music do you listen to? I enjoy alternative rock and traditional rock and roll.
  • What’s your favorite color? Shades of blue, yellow and orange.
  • If you stranded in a desert island – what five things would you take with you? Water, food, paper and writing utensil, shelter and a ticket off the island to use as needed.
  • What’s on your nightstand? Clock, my phone, glasses, remote, reading material.
  • Do you have a favorite TV program? I enjoy a variety, for example; Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Fire, Modern Family, Elementary etc.
  • What’s your favorite food? I enjoy seafood.
  • If your boss gave you a day off, what would you do? I would spend time with family and friends or dependent on the day spend time relaxing.
  • Three words that describes you best? Organized yet flexible, Caring, and Dedicated
  • What is your biggest fear and why? To be honest, I don’t know.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory? One of my favorite Childhood memories is waking up Christmas morning with my family.

Eleven Nominees for Liebster Award- (There are too many to list…)

Questions for my Nominated Bloggers

  • What was your favorite Children’s book?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Where was your best vacation?
  • What do you like the most about your job?
  • What is one thing that you would like to change in your lifetime?
  • What piece that you wrote or type of writing are you the most proud of?
  • What was the best advice that was given to you?
  • What is your favorite comfort food?
  • Three words that describe you?
  • If you could change occupations, what would you do? and why?
  • What type of blogs do you like to follow?
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May the Irish Be With You…

What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four-leaf clover?  A rash of
good luck.  ~Author Unknown

Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck.
~Author Unknown

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!  ~Irish Saying

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold
~Irish Blessing

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble
avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind
us all
Of Ireland’s faith and pride.
May God bless us with
May love and faith abide.
~Irish Blessing

May your
pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each
morning and night.
~Irish Blessing

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Common Core Humor

Teachers are truly amazing.  To meet the demands of the future, teachers will need to continually refine their practice so that students can and will be successful.  And due to the many curricular and instructional changes that are necessary, now more than ever, teachers will need to work together, be positive, be open to possiblities, and yes, have a sense of humor!

Compliments of and the authors/illustrators as listed on the cartoons.



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7 Tips for Decision Making


The Fine Art of Decision-Making – 7 Tips for Getting Decisions Made Easier

by Monica Enand

We live in a hyper-connected world and we all struggle with managing information and our workload so that we can accomplish what we need to accomplish. A big component of that is working with others. Even if you are a lone wolf, sooner or later, your interdependence will compel you to collaborate. This post will offer some helpful advice on gaining control in this aspect of your life so you can work effectively and efficiently with others.We work and collaborate with others because we need their ideas and expertise to achieve a greater goal. The foundation of teamwork are agreements that we make, explicitly and implicitly, about what we want to do together. Building these agreements frequently sucks up valuable time and energy.  Think about how much of your day (and your inbox) is devoted to this single aspect of work life.

We sit through meetings or conference calls of which only 10 percent of the time is productive. More often than not, these agreements are made through email which is far from perfect. Noted tech blogger Robert Scoble suggested last October that the number of emails required to get something done is equal to the number of people involved squared, i.e. eight people results in 64 emails. Sounds about right to me.

I’ve found in my career that getting decisions made is critical to being successful. Running an effective meeting is one skill, but most decisions get made on email. It’s a fact of life. The problem is that email lacks transparency and accountability. Additionally, maintaining any sort of record is hard to do because it comes in the form of a long email string stuck inside of an inbox folder which makes it tough to track and reference.

Even worse is that the lack of immediacy of email lets personalities and politics sneak into the process. You may find yourself poring over every detail in an email proposal and wasting time. Then you’d send it out and have to try and herd a group of people toward “yes.” The worst part came after some time had passed and then you’d have to do that whole process over again because no one recalled the prior agreement.

From my experience, I’ve developed some ideas that will help you get decisions made faster, with less internal friction, and that will stick. Here are my 7 Tips:

  1. One Decision at a Time. Do not lump several decisions into one. Break them apart and isolate them so that the team can address them individually. This will narrow the focus of any objections raised so that the discussion is manageable and can be concluded quickly.
  2. Be Transparent. Hold discussions in the open, either in person or virtually.  Closed-door agreements can fuel speculation and inhibits the group’s ability to buy-in to the agreed upon direction.
  3. Give the Facts. Be proactive about gathering the required information in advance. Data-driven decisions go smoothly and avoid injecting emotion which will muddle the process. People need data, whether it’s research, budgets, timelines. Provide so they don’t have to come back and request it later.
  4. Minimize Participants. Include people on the decision that need to be there. If others have an interest, you can copy them but don’t invite them. Ask yourself if a person’s objection would stop the project. If not, then don’t include them.
  5. Subtract Words. Use the fewest words necessary to convey the proposal. Your team will absorb the scope, but extraneous details will dilute the message and might distract from your main objective.
  6. Be Clear What “Yes” Means. It sounds obvious, but when creating a proposal, create a proposal. Request in a crisp way and use actionable language. This is a common mistake. Add focus and formality as needed in the Subject line and in the message itself. Don’t say “let me know what you think” when you mean “do you approve this project.”
  7. Record the Decision. Seems simple but is hard to do, especially in email. There is a reason boards of directors keep minutes. People will take the decision seriously and will abide by it if they know it is saved in a place that is public. Think about a document or folder on an intranet or on the web where the agreement is recorded. Even if it is not referenced, the simple fact of know it exists will create peer pressure and accountability that is powerful.

By taking these steps, it is remarkable the productivity gains that you will experience personally, but also organizationally. Creating a system for getting decisions made and then recording them reduces stress and creates a level of trust that propels teams to greatness.

This is a post I found from Monica Enand on the site Monica has worked in large corporations such as Intel and IBM.  I found her seven tips to be very wise for making decisions, even if you are not making a proposal.  I have underlined in Black the simple advice I will consider when making a decision. Good luck in the decisions you have to make tomorrow!

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The Hard Task of Making Decisions

I found this poem by Stacy B on  It may tell how you feel some days…

Making Decisions

I can’t ever make up my mind
The best answer I can’t ever find
My mom and dad yell “You have to decide”
If only they were in my brain along for the ride
People don’t realize just how hard it can get
To not disappoint without feeling regret
It seems easier to have someone pick for me
But I guess that just weakens my decision making ability
I also wish someone would help me to choose
Give me some advice that I could use
Get me to get over this problem of mine
Help me to realize all I need is time
But it seems like I need to get over it right now
Just practice and try even though I don’t know how
I could really face some problems in the years to come
With this problem of mine that may seem quite dumb
I’m worried I will have to face a major consequence
For when I’m faced with the decision
and I reply “I’m on the fence”
Just toughen up and buckle down
Because the best choice I know can be found
I’ll be cured before you know it
But right now I’m not faking
I protest everything that goes along,
With decision making

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Common Core Graphics-High Frequency Words

The words “produce, publish, writing, and collaboration” are quite prominent in the Common Core standards related to technology. Students will be narrating and sharing their learning with forms of media beyond just pencil and paper. The internet, computing devices (including graphing calculators and other technological aides), and various forms of collaborative software are now being expected to be a regular part of a teacher’s “toolbox” for instructional activities.

For the production and distribution of writing alone, every level of K-12 is mandated by the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards to do the following:

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

This line is listed for both the K-5 and the 6-12 levels, and is one of the most straight forward guidelines for what teachers should be doing, as a bare minimum, with student writing. More specific requirements of that standard are repeated in the Writing Standards for each grade level starting in grade 3, as well as the Writing standards for Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects at the 6-12 levels. There is also technology related standards found deeply embedded within the Math standards. It’s not only using technology and the internet as a resource but it’s about adapting, infusing, and transforming instructional practice at every grade level to acknowledge that digital tools and the internet are here to stay as an integral part of student learning.

**The creation of two Wordles and the above information were excerpts from Ben Rimes on the site  His analysis and visual graphics speaks to how Common Core emphasizes the importance of technology and internet in order to communicate effectively with others.

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Changes in Classroom Practice

Common Core Standards and Classroom Practice

How will teachers that used the State Standards as their guide adjust their classroom practice to meet the new standards? Now that Math and English Language Arts Common Core Standards have been adopted in states all over the country, teachers are working to refine their practice to meet the goals as outlined in the Common Core documents.  Common Core Standards are similar to the state standards, but there are differences. 

Here are some differences to consider :

In Mathematics
1. Deep Focus vs. Wide Focus. The Common Core Standards focus on fewer topics but in greater depth. For example,  number sense in the elementary concentrates more on arithmetic and less on geometry. Some topics, like the calendar are not included at all, and there are no standards for data and statistics until sixth grade.  Understanding will be key as they move on to more advanced topics.

2. Consistent Relationships The Common Core Standards (CCS), by contrast with the State Standards, are designed to build on students’ understanding by introducing new topics in skills and concepts from grade to grade. The CCS also build coherence within grades—by building relationships between Standards. For example, in seventh grade the Standards show that students’ understanding of ratio and proportion—used in applications such as calculating interest—is related to their understanding of equations.

3. Skills, Understanding, and Application. Each aspect of mathematics knowledge is  important and equal to each other. Students will need to know procedures , develop a deep conceptual understanding, and be able to apply their knowledge to solve problems.

4. Emphasis on Practices. The CCS have eight criteria for mathematical practices. These include making sense of problems and persevering to solve them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, using appropriate tools strategically, and constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. These practices are intended to be integrated with the standards for mathematical content.  Students will need to demonstrate the standards of practice, for example; students will need time to work on problems rather than quick surface solutions, and determining what tool fits a problem.

In English Language Arts
5. More Nonfiction. CCS have a greater emphasis on nonfiction. The document proposes that about half the reading in elementary school and 75 percent in high school should be nonfiction. This would include informational texts in content areas as well as literary nonfiction in English language arts.  Narrative fiction will become less common. The Standards also expect students to write more expository prose.

6. Focus on Evidence. In reading, students will be expected to use evidence to demonstrate their comprehension of texts and make evidence-based claims. To prepare students, time to read carefully and in many cases reread texts several times will be need to be considered.  In writing, students are expected to cite evidence to justify statements rather than rely on opinions or personal feelings.

7. Building Blocks of Text Complexity. Students will be expected to read and comprehend complex texts to reach the level of complexity required for success in college courses and the workplace.  Teachers will have to choose materials that is appropriate for their grade level and evaluate complexity.

8. Speaking and Listening. The CCS expect students to be able to demonstrate that they can speak and listen effectively which was not evident in state standards. A measurement for student performance for speaking and listening will follow. Teachers will be asking students to engage in small-group and whole-class discussions with evaluations of understanding the speakers’ points.

9. Literacy in the Content Areas. The Standards include criteria for literacy in history/social science, science, and technical subjects. CCS recognize that understanding texts in each of these subject areas requires a unique set of skills and understanding.  History teachers and their students will be gaining information from a historical document and making judgments about its credibility. Science teachers will need to do the same for materials in that discipline.

In order for Common Core Standards to be understood and  implemented, extensive and consistent professional development will need to take place in school districts. Teachers will do what they do best, continually learn and refine their current practice to meet high standards.

The book,  Something in Common: The Common Core Standards and the Next Chapter in American Education (Harvard Education Press, 2011) and the article in the July/August 2012 Harvard Education Letter,  Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice by Robert Rothman were used in creating this posting.

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