Monthly Archives: December 2019

Twitter, Porch Swings, & My One Word

My hubby gifted me with a weekend-get-away after Christmas to help boost my spirits from my serious case of winter doldrums. We traveled across the state of MN to the Round Barn B & B in Red Wing, MN. Let me just say, my hubby is the best ever! Why? Our room had a porch swing in it! How tremendous is that! 😍

Blog Porch Swing B & B

My infatuation with the porch swing began in 2014 when I was in Tennessee for an NAESP Conference. On our last day, the hubby and I took a road trip to visit the quaint Franklin, TN. While on our drive there, I sent out a random tweet to all the ‘famous’ people who I knew lived in Franklin. Folks like Patsy Clairmont, Jeff Goins, Ken Davis, and Robert D. Smith

I let them know I was on my way to visit Franklin, so maybe I would be blessed by meeting them. Yes, I was hopeful, but I knew my chances were slim to none that any of them would tweet back to a stranger from Minnesota who tagged them in a random tweet.

Hey…can’t blame a girl for trying, right? 😉

Blog Tweet Patsy

My hubby and I finished our lunch at Puckett’s and I tweeted a few pics from our Franklin visit. Much to my surprise, Patsy Clairmont responded to that last tweet and wrote she was “right down the street from Pucketts…porch sitting!”  Let’s just say the people in Puckett’s probably thought I saw a mouse or something because I screamed out loud when I saw she had responded to my tweet.

Patsy granted us permission to come see her, but gave no directions on how to get to her house. Oh dear. We asked our waiter which way to walk to get to the residential area, and he pointed us in the direction he believed was right. With our sleuth hats on, we walked a few blocks while scanning all the homes looking for Patsy on a porch.

Then…bam! There she was. Sitting on her porch swing. I was so excited. I had seen her present at a Women of Faith Conference and had read several of her books. There she was…in person. Oh.My.Goodness.

She was so gracious and so sincere! She gave us a tour of her home then invited us to sit on her porch and visit with her and her husband, Les. How groovy is that? 😃

As we were getting up to leave, she blessed me even more by giving me an autographed copy of her book Twirl. If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do.

Blog Porch Patsty

Ever since that wonderful visit, I have loved the porch swing. My husband built me one after we returned home from Tennessee, and we now have it hanging out front on our porch during the warmer MN months. The return of the porch swing in the spring is almost more exciting to me than the return of the robins. 🙌

Blog Swing Porch

That is why having a porch swing in our B & B room this past weekend was such a tremendous gift. Swinging on that porch swing in our room lifted my spirits and reminded me that hope is just around the corner. The snow and ice WILL go away, and spring WILL be here soon. Thanks hubby…you are the BEST!

I was able to meet Patsy, see her beautiful home, sit and visit with her and her husband, Les, on the porch, and read her book Twirl all because she took a moment to respond to my random tweet on Twitter.

She responded. Such a simple gift. Makes me wonder how many times I haven’t responded to others? Did I not respond to an email, a voice mail, a text message? I know there have been times when others didn’t respond to me, which can crush the soul, and make me feel like I don’t matter. It’s unfortunate how not responding sends the wrong message.

I believe it is vital to take the few seconds and respond to others. I know I haven’t done as well as I’d like to with this, so, I have chosen RESPOND…this is my one word resolution for 2020.

Let’s ALL make the time to respond to others with grace, kindness, love, and sincerity. We will never know the impact it may have.

Blog One word 2020

Stay Calm and Respond with Kindness!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

P.S. – What is your one word for 2020?

P.S.S. – Who doesn’t love a porch swing. 😃

5 Simple Ways to Rejuvenate Our Holiday Cheer

It is simply a wonderful Christmas time, and the holidays are here. We dream of a white Christmas and sing shouts of joy to the world.  We long to get home for the holidays. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, for most of us anyway.

While Christmas is supposed to be joyful, joyful, there are some who are filled with sadness. An unexpected cancer diagnosis, a grandma dying, dysfunction in the family, an empty pantry, sad memories of past losses, unbelief, and loneliness are just a few real struggles recently shared with me by others. Sorrowful times that find some of us deeply desiring a silent night.

Or better yet…two or three or four of them, please.

If, for some reason, you have misplaced your holiday cheer this season, below are a few suggestions to give you a little inspiration to find it again:

  • SEEK – Debbie Macomber says, “One word can make all the difference.” One of her words is seek.  Let’s seek out those who lift us up and hang out with them during the holidays. One sure way to combat depression is to seek out others who bring us joy then surround ourselves with those folks. Or, turn that around and seek out others who may need you. Either way, Rebekah Lyons says it best, “Meaningful connections with others help us overcome grief, depression, and sorrow.”
  • GIVE – Max Lucado says, “Happiness happens when you give it away.” Let’s give to others as often as we can. It doesn’t have to cost us a dime, which is huge during this season of heavy spending. We can give away a smile, a hug, a phone call, a note in the mail (thank you, Kelsey 🙌), an unexpected text message, holiday treats, a visit to the elderly, a book you have finished, a cup of coffee, a bouquet of flowers, and/or the best gift ever…we can generously give our time.
  • SING – Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Let’s sing all these Christmas tunes at the top of our lungs in the shower, in the car, at church each Sunday and on Christmas Eve, for our children or grandchildren (they love us unconditionally and don’t care if we can’t carry a tune ). 😉
  • DANCE – Byron Pulsifer encourages us to dance. He says, “Even if you are not that good, dancing frees the body to float along with the music, and cast off stress.” Silly as this may sound, one thing I do to delete stress is I crank up the song Beer Barrel Polka on Alexa, close my eyes, start to dance, and imagine myself dancing the polka with my dad. This little private activity always puts a smile in my heart and on my lips. 💃❤
  • SIT – Maya Angelou, in all her wisdom, tells us, “I think when we don’t know what to do it’s wise to do nothing. Sit down quietly; quiet our hearts and minds and breathe deeply.” My favorite time of day is early morning before the sun wakes up. I grab my cup of coffee with whipped cream and Stevia English Toffee drops then head to “my chair.” This morning routine is sacred to me. It is my quiet time; my devotions time. When the sun yawns and stretches out its rays, I sit in silence, breathe deeply, and admire God’s glorious show. 🌞

So, if Christmas makes us cry sometimes, and we can’t stop thinking of those who have passed away, or been diagnosed with a disease, or soldiers across the ocean, or our chaotic homes, or our feelings of sadness and/or loneliness…

…maybe, just maybe seeking out positive people to be with, giving an unexpected gift such as a note in the mail, singing along, at the top of our lungs, with all the Christmas carols mentioned in this blog, dancing like no one is watching and even if they are, who cares, or sitting quietly will rejuvenate our holiday cheer.

All I want for Christmas is YOU and me to be filled with joy. 🎄❤

“Embrace every moment, every second my friend. I can’t believe it’s Christmastime again.” ~MercyMe

Stay Calm and We Wish You A Merry Christmas!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.






☃ Leadership Advice from a Snowman ☃

Blog Snowman Leadership

It’s that time of year when our homes are adorned which Christmas accessories. I finished up the last of the decorations by placing the wooden snowman sign above the fireplace. I stepped back and looked at his advice. Being a leader of our future teachers, who are also future leaders, I thought to myself…Huh! That’s great advice for all of us educators trying to make a positive difference in this world.

Below…leadership advice from a snowman. 😉


I know…getting too much sun sounds fabulous about this time of year in the Midwest. The long, dark, cold days of winter are upon us. However, too much sun can be agonizing. I know we’ve all felt the pain of a sunburn.

Too much of anything usually doesn’t end well.

Ponder these thoughts for a moment: A little management is a good thing. Too much micromanagement is detrimental to the team. A little confidence is a good thing. Too much confidence and arrogance rears its ugly head.

So, can educators be too nice? Too self-confident? Too open? Too ________ (you fill in the blank)? Yes, yes we can according to Riggio (2013).  His solution for ‘too much?’

Balance. Balance matters and balance is a virtue. Now to plan for that balance.

🔵 Be Well-Rounded 🔵

Being well-rounded means we are well-planned for proper balance. We show interest and ability in many areas. And isn’t that the main job description of educators? Many talents? Many abilities?

Then with all our abilities, how do we find that well-planned proper balance?

*We become well-rounded in our craft by continuing to take classes and attend conferences. We never stop learning.

*We build positive relationships with those we work with and we show up for them.

*We do the same for those we love, including ourselves. We schedule family time and ‘me’ time. We find balance between work and home.

*We care for people. All people. PERIOD.

*We allow ourselves to take an occasional social media sabbatical. Put down our phones. Cheerfully walk away from it.

*We take care of our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical selves. Eating well is a good place to start.   


Carrots are a crunchy, tasty, nutritious health food. They help lower cholesterol, improve eye health, reduce the risk of cancer, and can feed the friendly bacteria in our guts which may lead to decreased risk of disease (Healthline, 2019).

I am all in on that! I think we need to consume way more carrots.

Educators, we must take care of our health. If we aren’t healthy, we are useless to those we lead. Eating nutritious foods is one way we can take care of us. A wellness plan that has survived the test of time is the Mediterranean Diet.

The pyramid below gives an overview of those foods and beverages that are considered good for us. Please, always seek advice from your medical doctor before starting any nutrition program. Keep your cool as you begin this wellness journey. Bon appétit.

Blog Mediterranean Pyramid


I recently read a blog post by Principal Kafele asking what we would say if a former student returned and told us we had let him/her down when in our classroom. Yikes. My response to his question,

“…I’d be asking forgiveness from many students. I meant well at the time. Thought I was doing what was right at the time. We live and learn. I still reflect on my practices…33 years later.”

Blog Snowman tweet

Uffdah…makes me remember I lost my cool a few too many times. We all do. With our staff, with our students, with our own children, and yes, sometimes even with our grandkids.

I remember being on the phone, and my 2 year old grandson at that time was being disruptive which caused me to become slightly irritated. I pitched him my most threatening “teacher look.” The “look” was so intense he actually ducked when he saw it coming. 😲 Sorry about that, Warren!

Years ago, I yelled so loudly at a student in the hallway it caused other teachers to step out of their classrooms to make sure we were all okay. Sorry about that, Greg!

So, what are some ways we can stay cool? I googled it and here are several suggestions.

*Avoid what pushes your buttons

*Take a few deep breaths

*Count to 10

*Remove yourself from the situation if possible

*Think before you speak

*Stop taking issues personally

*Find out the why behind the behavior

*Walk away

*Say you are sorry

*Remember we are human, and

*Take a walk. Preferably outdoors.

🏕 Spend time Outdoors 🏕

There’s just something about being outdoors that gives energy to the soul. The fresh air, the sunshine, the scenery, the breeze on our faces…such tranquility. The outdoors elevates our mood. Not only is being outside good for our mental health, it’s awesome for our physical health as well.

I take a Vitamin D all year round. I take a higher dose in the winter. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, depression, and weight gain. Any chance I get, summer or winter, I am outside for a walk to soak in all that delicious Vitamin D.

Outdoor exercise will help lower blood pressure. And after a hectic day at school, which can raise the blood pressure, a walk or jog outdoors is a beautiful way to find some peace. We must schedule this into our calendars, just like we would a meeting. Then…let’s not be late for this appointment!

Being outdoors aids with sleep. If you are an insomniac like me, we know how frustrating it is not being able to fall asleep. If being outdoors is going to assist me with my sleep, I’m heading out the door right now. 👋

It is sure to boost my joy!

😃 Be a Jolly, Happy Soul 😃

Jolly = cheerful. Happy = content. Joy = great pleasure. Those are my kind of people. I want to hang out with jolly, happy, joyful souls. Surround yourself with them!

Some of the most jolly, happy, joyful souls on this planet are children. They find pleasure in tasks we adults find mundane. The other day, my grandson was out shoveling snow off of the driveway and he was having the time of his life.

Children wake up ready to play. Well, after a few snuggles first. How do we wake up? Shuffling our feet trying to get to the coffee pot as quickly as we can? Or do we rise and shine and have some pep in our step?

I know some of you night owls are giving me the ‘teacher look’ right now. 🤷‍ I truly believe we adults need to start having a childlike attitude. I believe we would have more fun. Let’s learn to play again. Share a smile, a wave, a high five, a hug. Play games, create with Play-Doh®, build with Legos® or Snap Circuits®, shoot some pool, go swimming, paint, color, draw, build an indoor putt putt golf course, and/or build a snowman.

Blog Warren Putt Putt GolfBlog Snowman Tyus

Being a jolly, happy soul reminds me of a book I read years ago called Fish! Philosophy. This philosophy is modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA. It is a technique which is aimed at creating happy individuals in the workplace. The four practices of the Fish! Philosophy are:

1). Be there – be emotionally present for people.

2). Play – tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic, and having fun! Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind.

3). Make their day – find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful and memorable way.

4). Choose your attitude – take responsibility for what life throws at you. Your choices affect others.

Blog fish philosophy

There you have it, folks. Dynamic leadership advice from a snowman. Actually, it’s fabulous LIFE advice, don’t you think? Don’t get too much sun, be well-rounded, everyone ‘nose’ carrots are good for you, stay cool, spend time outdoors, and be a jolly, happy soul. Hugs from us to you. 🤗

Stay Calm and Lead Like a Snowman!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.