Monthly Archives: October 2014

What A Spootakular Idea!

Hallowarts Architect
                   Hallowarts Architect

BLOG Hallowarts post

Sonya: “Let’s start from the beginning.”

Wendy: “Oh, good idea! Let’s!”

Sonya: “Once upon a time –“

Wendy: “Wait…what? What beginning is that?”

Sonya: “Like every beginning ever.”

Wendy: “No, silly, let’s start from the beginning on this blog – it’s purpose.”

Sonya: “Oh – yes – let’s – great idea! Like I was saying… Once upon a time, there was this friend and colleague of ours who likes to have fun and is a little competitive perhaps…or maybe she just knows the rest of us well. She suggested that we engage in a friendly and fun competition of the Great Pumpkin in the SMSU School of Education. This event gave way to other creative ideas to implement at school and home this week for some ‘friendly’ competition. Read these ideas and you are certain to win any holiday competition.

Wendy: “Really? Is that why we started this particular blog entry? I thought it was to share fun fall ideas with our teacher candidates and others who just appreciate a good time. Hmmm…”

Sonya: “So I guess you have your reasons and I have mine… We had better get started before I need to be explicitly reminded of my coaching philosophy – learning, fun, and then winning. Without further ado – read on to be a ‘fun-lover’ this week even in the midst of work and life responsibilities. Enjoy!”

How to Have a Spootakular Time:

1. Enjoy! Take a few deep breaths and remember life is meant to be enjoyed. We get so busy with our “to do” list both at school and home, we forget our purpose, which is to simply live life.

2. Be! Spend time with and BE WITH others. It isn’t about a competition after all, but about being with others and celebrating the good times. Take time to be in the moment instead of mentally tallying the other things on your list that you think you should be doing because of guilt or another competition altogether.

3. Explore! We don’t have to have all the answers and/or ideas. Search and share. In the midst of spootakular exploration, we stumbled across a Pinterest board – “Halloween Spootakular.” Okay – so maybe it was not quite by accident and a somewhat purposeful find in our mission to seek the “Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Needless to say, we became a bit distracted with all the fun ideas so we simply had to share them with you.

4. Share! To go back to something we mentioned before – share. Life may seem like a competition far too often. We need to consider that two pumpkins are better than one when it comes to ideas and growing into something bigger than ourselves. Whether at work or at home – think about your purpose – your mission – and act based on that as your guide. It may be about winning together that is more important you mentioning that you did more laundry this week than your mate or that you are working harder than a colleague. What difference does it make if it is done alone. Get rid of the silo.

5. Do! Have a Pumpkin Carving/Decorating competition. If professors enjoy this activity so will your students, your families, your friends.

Enjoy the season and we wish you a “Happy Fall, Y’all.” 🙂

BLOG pumpkins

PS – Neither of us won, but we sure did have fun! 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs ~ Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Let’s Do Something!

BLOG Let's Do Nothing!
True story (not that all of our stories aren’t true
🙂 )… Young Jedi, my son JR, walks up to me while I am busy grading away at my laptop and says to me, “Since you aren’t doing anything, could you read me this book?” After several long blinks at the youngling, and considering that life does not slow down so I should take this moment since he will be 18 before I know it, I took the book from his hands and responded, “I would love to read to you, son.” He then hands me the book that has been patiently waiting to be read from Wendy’s children’s literature bookshelf to mine called,
Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile. ~SV

This topic of ‘Let’s Do Nothing’ came up for us because twice in one week, situations presented themselves to DO SOMETHING…

  • A former student of ours (who was/is outstanding by the way) is dealing with some legal issues right now. She is currently unemployed, but not by choice. While visiting with her and listening to her story, she made a profound statement. She said: “While I was working, I always thought to myself that it would be great to have a month to do absolutely nothing. Now that I have no choice, I hate it. I can’t do anything and it is awful. I need to do something!” -CW
  • Our colleague and friend presented on the loss of her son a few weeks ago and one of her comments during that presentation was: “It’s almost worse to do nothing for others rather than do something even if it seems wrong. Do something for those who are grieving.” –TMY

Are you thinking about doing nothing still? Or maybe something now?Are you still thinking about doing nothing? Or maybe something now?

 How often have we wished to just do nothing? In Tony Fucile’s book, “Let’s Do Nothing,” Sal and Frankie have been busy playing games, reading comic books, and baking cookies (sounds like a great time to us 🙂 ). They decide to try a new activity…doing nothing. Frankie is not so good at doing nothing (and neither are we). He gives in every time and so Sal has a new suggestion…let’s do something. We can certainly relate to Frankie. We LOVE to be doing something.

To our former student and friend: BELIEVE that justice will be served and you will soon be doing something.

To our colleague and friend: BELIEVE that people mean well, and we guarantee that WE will do something for those who are grieving.

Well, it’s time for us to go do something now. Until next time, do something or do nothing – however you want to approach it. Just promise us to do it well. BELIEVE and best wishes!

BLOG boys doing something

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs ~ Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Coming Home: SMSU ~ Where You Belong!

SMSU Homecoming ED Alumni EMSP 2014

Homecoming…the great American tradition. According to several hits on Google, the tradition of homecoming started in Missouri when Mizzou’s Athletic Director invited all alumni to ‘come back home’ for the football game in 1911. Some say that homecoming dates back to the late 1800s with the Harvard/Yale football game. Whatever the case may be, homecoming still dominates high schools and universities across the nation today. The main focus for all homecomings—to reconnect with people and places.

We certainly did just that! We reconnected with places and people and what a great weekend it was! Time flies by when you are having fun – and we did! Homecoming is always a blast. As one alumnus tweeted today: What a fun weekend in Marshall for @SMSUStangs homecoming ’14. Great seeing the friends again. Makes me miss Marshall a lot! What a blast.

Between the two of us, we hit just about every event. Wish you could have been here with us at all these great activities:

University Gala Ball: Our first major discussion between the two of us was how to pronounce gala. GA-la long a or gah-la short a? It doesn’t matter…from our pre-gala gathering to the silent auction, exquisite dinner, live auction, and finale of dancing the night away, this event raises dollars for our SMSU students. What a fun way of contributing to SMSU scholarship funds and being able to hang out with friends.

SMSU Gala group 2014      SMSU Gala friends 2014

First Annual SMSU School of Education Alumni Event: Calling all Education Alumni: Donuts, coffee, and apple cider were served along with a sign-up for the $50 dollar door prize to our book store. Congrats to Mrs. Howie who was our first ever door prize winner this year. Who will it be next year?

SMSU Homecoming ED Alumni event 2014

Parade: The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a parade. Our students participated in the parade to support the Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP) Organization. The theme of this year’s homecoming was “Rise of the Mustangs” so as future teachers, we tweaked the saying to “Rise of the Future Mustangs” and many little ones rode on the float with us.

 SMSU Homecoming parade 2014

 SMSU Tailgating Festivities & Football Game: Inflatables, food, and fun! Great chance to see friends and a great American football game. This is how it all started after all! By the way – the Mustangs beat the Upper Iowa Peacocks 28-25. (A little birdie told us they were undefeated before this game.) Way to go, Mustangs!

SMSU Homecoming 2014 alumni

Dueling Pianos: Just in case we didn’t have enough celebration and fun – the SMSU Alumni Association hosted 176 Key Dueling Pianos at the Mercantile located at Bello Cucina. All who came to join the fun received a glass mug with the homecoming logo – Rise of the Mustangs. Great keepsake and reminder of a memorable time had by all!

Rise of the Mustangs

Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony: There were many student-athletes recognized at the annual awards ceremony. These student-athletes have earned great athletic and academic achievements this past year, and represented SMSU well. Important to note there were 72 scholar-athletes recognized for their academic scholarship. This was the largest group of student-athletes in a year to ever to be recognized at SMSU for their accomplished studies with the highest average GPA.  We are proud of them!

 SMSU Celebration of Excellence 2014

 Soccer Match: With the sun shining, why not catch a soccer match?! It was a bit windy, but the Mustangs won 2-0 against U of M – Crookston. We did not grow up soccer players, but those ladies seem to sure know what they are doing. Wow – can they run!? We were wiped just watching them. 

SMSU Homecoming soccer 2014

Vacuuming: The last event for the weekend was not grading or school work. It was… vacuuming. It was the grand finale to “coming home” for the weekend after being out and about for most of it. We disputed this event because only one of us did this. 🙂  “Vacuuming can wait ‘til later…much later! –Wendy’s words of wisdom (Don’t worry, Mom, I was the one who vacuumed! –SV)

                             google images

There were so many wonderful homecoming events to attend; this list identified just a few as we could not physically make it to all of them. We are pleasantly exhausted. We do need to leave you with a final homecoming remark, however.

Happy Homecoming everyone!  🙂 Enjoy your time –wherever you are. Remember it is the people and places who make all the difference in life. Now – it is time for a nap! 🙂 

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs ~ Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Perspective: The Lens We Choose

google images
google images
BLOG perspective
google images

Is the glass half full or half empty? Is the day partly sunny or partly cloudy? Maybe your answer depends on the day or circumstances… Did you get your list accomplished or did that driver just cut you off? Too often “life happens,” and we have to deal with the hand that is dealt. Do we learn from our experiences – both accomplishments and defeats, and continue to move forward or do we let our experiences define what is possible or impossible and give up?

We listened today to our colleague and friend speak at the Legacy Foundation Luncheon. This extraordinarily strong woman shared about her experience of losing her son almost eight years ago. In her grief, she wrote her book titled No Ordinary Son, which was written to share her story with others; with all of us to help us experience how wickedly brutal grief can be and what we can choose to do with it. Our table was sharing napkins to wipe away our tears because we weren’t prepared with Kleenexes. Then, we had to reapply our make-up once we returned to our offices. In the end, our colleague received a standing ovation and applause that was filled with love and emotion!

In her short 40 minutes of sharing her incredible journey with us, these five points struck a chord in our hearts. Below we share our interpretation of them:

Grief is cruel: Everyone experiences grief differently. It can be the green monster that haunts us to shreds. Anger can imprison us. Grief can come and go, and we can’t be sure when it will hit us hardest or again and again. Lean on loved ones; we don’t have to do this alone.

Do something: When a loss occurs, sometimes people tend to not say or do anything because of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Doing nothing seems to be better than doing something that is wrong. She gently reminded us that doing nothing is way worse than doing something that is wrong. She thought people didn’t care when they chose the do nothing route. Do something for others who have experienced loss. Do not worry if it is wrong or right. Do it anyway!

Happiness is a choice: People sometimes wait their whole life to be happy. We make the choice to be happy. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “A person will be about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” Our colleague encouraged all of us to choose happiness each and every day.

Time DOES NOT heal all wounds: Time does not take away the pain of losing someone we love. However, there is hope in knowing that we can and will survive a tragedy. The loved one continues to live on with us. We can be better people when we remember them and live for today.

Family is the foundation to survival: She not only lost her son, she also lost her family and the way it used to be. She lost her parents because she used to go to them for reassurance in life and she no longer felt like she could. She lost her Best Friend who used to listen to her and love her and never leave her. Today, she knows family is what helped her heal. Her family members walked by her side and never left her. And that Best Friend…He never did leave her side, in fact He carried her through her darkest days.

Next time you are speaking with a friend in a coffee shop, in your classroom with your students, or in a line near a stranger, remember the lens you choose to use can make all the difference in your perspective. Thank you, Tanya McCoss-Yerigan, for sharing your story with us and reminding us that happiness is attainable even in the worst of times.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs ~ Dr. C. & Dr. V.