Posted in Inspiration, Me

Things Introverts Love

I saw this meme awhile ago, and it caught my attention…because, well, I’m an introvert. I think I’ve always been pretty reserved, and I’ve always liked to ease myself into a new situation or even when meeting new people. I’d also say that I’m pretty guarded with my feelings and my emotions. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I would actually describe myself as an introvert. What I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older (maybe once I became a parent to two very different kids with very different personality types who even go about the same daily activities in very different ways) that it’s important to know and respect the attributes of those around you and those you love. For example, there are times I come home from school and the last thing I want to do is talk on the phone. I used to feel bad if all I could manage to squeak out was a text message, but now that I have allowed myself to acknowledge that boundaries are ok, I realize that the text message has to be enough—for myself and for the recipient. Just a small example from the mind of an introvert.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a former principal who once said about himself, “I’m an introvert who thrives on a routine and dislikes conflict.” That. Is. Me….Also, I could not have chosen a profession that pushes these limits….daily (hourly!) if I tried. So, no wonder I’m exhausted at the end of every day.

Rainy Days

Truth. I love watching the news in the morning…and when they show the extended weather forecast, I always look to see if we have any upcoming rainy days. I love a cloudy day with a book, a blanket, and not much to do. I joke that rainy days are “permission to be lazy” because what can you actually accomplish on a rainy day? haha

Cancelled Plans

For being an introvert, I do get FOMO rather easily. I do like to hang out and go out with my friends, but I’m also not mad about some cancelled plans. Cancelled plans mean I get to hang out at home which is my favorite place to be!

Solo Activities

I do need some time to unwind. Thankfully, I’m usually home around 4:00, so I get some time to decompress, read, check my phone, etc before starting dinner and evening activities. I also do enjoy having some time to myself to go to the grocery store, run to Target, or get a coffee at Starbucks. I don’t mind doing some activities alone, but I also know that’s only because I know that once I go home there’s the hustle and bustle of it all. Some day my house will be too quiet and I won’t need the time for solo activities which will make me sad, I’m sure!

Daydreaming

So… I’m not much for a daydreamer…but I am a planner. I feel so much better if my week is laid out in front of me, activities are written on the calendar, and dinners are planned. I feel less stressed when everything is in order.

Deep Conversations

Ok, I will say…I’m not one that craves deep conversations. So, this part of the graphic doesn’t necessarily apply to me. I think that because I’m “on” all day at school and get very little peace and quiet, the last thing I want to do is have a lengthy conversation. That being said, of course, I love catching up with an old friend, chatting with my mom friends about what’s going on, or getting the details of my kids’ day at school. I like to chat…but just maybe not super deep conversations. I think I often feel like my brain and voice need a break 😂

Text Messages

Thank goodness for text messages. As I stated above, they are a great way to keep up with friends and family near and far. Plus, texts have come a long way! Now you can insert emojis and GIFs. haha. That being said, of course, it’s nice to hear a loved one’s voice or receive a nice voicemail.

Recharging

Yes. Yes. Yes. What pretty much gets me through my early alarm clock is knowing what time I will be home and back in my pjs in the evening. Honestly, like I said, I like to plan out the week, so we know what all is going on, but I also like planning out the week to look forward to the evenings where we don’t have much on our plate, dinner isn’t rushed, and maybe we can play a game or watch a show as a family. I do feel like recharging is so important for all people, so we don’t get run down, tired, and/or sick.

Home

I love my home. I think I’ve always been this way, but I guess just in adulthood, I’ve realized how much I truly do love being at home. If I’m home, I want it to be a place I enjoy and feel comfortable and cozy in. So, of course that means my favorite places to shop are Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, and Target. 😂 I will say if I bring home another pillow, Travis may throw a fit! I am the definition of a home body!

Introspection

I wouldn’t necessarily have described myself as introspective but once I saw it listed on the graphic, I do feel like it applies to me as an introvert. Like I said, I can be quiet. It takes time for me to process information. I’m the type that occasionally keeps a journal, has notes on my phone of meaningful quotes, turns the radio down on my solo car ride home from school to think about my day, and needs some “me” time to decompress from the day. I’m reflective enough to know that I have good and bad days, great qualities but that I’m also a work in progress, and that no relationship is perfect…and they take work.

Like I said, this graphic definitely resonated with me when I saw it on social media. I think sometimes introverts may get a bad rap of being snooty or closed off. Just because someone is quiet or guarded doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer or don’t want to get to know you….it may just take them awhile to warm up or feel comfortable in a situation or setting.

Hayden tends to be more like me. When Travis asks where we want to go for dinner on a Friday night, 9 times out of 10, Hayden says he wants carry out! haha. I will at least leave the house for a good dinner 😉 We aren’t sure where Hadley got her more extroverted personality from. While Travis is more extroverted in comparison to me, I’d see he’d probably label himself as closer to an introvert than an extrovert. I’m constantly in awe of Hadley’s self-confidence, assertiveness, and her ability to make friends effortlessly. I feel like it’s easier to be an extrovert than an introvert, so I’m so thankful she has the qualities and is dragging her brother with her along the way!

Just my two cents on what it means to be an introvert. I know extroverts probably feel misunderstood too sometimes! 😉 Thank goodness we all aren’t the same!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays, Inspiration

Kindness

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday…great food, time with family, and no stress about buying gifts!!

As I wrapped up my November book review on Tuesday, I said, “Tis the season (to be stressed, to be tired, to be over-scheduled, but to hopefully also enjoy the holidays with family and friends)…” December is stressful. I know it doesn’t have to be, but no matter how many lists I write or how on top of it I try to be, there’s the time crunch of gift purchasing, cramming in as many traditions as possible, as well as just regular routines like school, work, and activities.

So, a couple of years ago, I pieced together some ideas from Pinterest as well as my own ideas for 25 Days of Kindness. You can find lots of calendars and lists, but I knew if this was going to be manageable for my family, I had to choose pretty practical ideas while keeping kindness and being helpful to others in the forefront of my kids’ minds. For example, we may not be able to volunteer at the Humane Society this month, but we can certainly wheel the neighbor’s garbage cans up!

Every year, we buy gifts for kids on the Angel Tree, and I love that we have that tradition. The 25 Days of Kindness allows us to teach our kids that it’s not only about the big gestures but the smaller ones as well.

  • Day 1 – Give someone a hug or a compliment
  • Day 2 – Let someone in front of you in line
  • Day 3 – Buy a friend or colleague (or teacher!) a cup of coffee
  • Day 4 – Hold the door open for someone
  • Day 5 – Give a friend or loved one your full attention
  • Day 6 – Tell a joke to make someone smile
  • Day 7 – Do something kind for yourself
  • Day 8 – Hide a happy note for someone to find
  • Day 9 – Donate unwanted books, clothes, toys to charity
  • Day 10 – Tape some money on a vending machine
  • Day 11 – Smile at a stranger (or 2!)
  • Day 12 – Let a car in front of you in traffic (or a person in front of you in line)
  • Day 13 – Write or send a thank you note to someone
  • Day 14 – Tell someone you love them
  • Day 15 – Pay for a stranger’s coffee
  • Day 16 – Give your teacher a gift to show you care
  • Day 17 – Feed animals (bird, deer, etc)
  • Day 18 – Do something unexpected for someone
  • Day 19 – Give a treat to your postal carrier
  • Day 20- Do a chore for someone else
  • Day 21 – Clean up a mess you didn’t make
  • Day 22 – Introduce yourself to someone new
  • Day 23 – Pick up litter in your neighborhood
  • Day 24 – Call a long distance relative
  • Day 25 – Reflect and record how much joy this season brought you

Other ideas:

  • Fill a bag of books to donate to the library
  • Write a nice sidewalk message with chalk
  • Make cards for nursing home residents
  • Mail a postcard to a friend or family member
  • Make a card for a school staff member
  • Collect loose change and donate it
  • Draw a picture for mom or dad
  • Help make dinner
  • Take supplies to an animal shelter
  • Pass out stickers
  • Bring up neighbor’s trashcans

I’ve done this where both kids have same kindness opportunity each day, but last year I had the list and let them choose (and then had them cross it off as to try something new each day). Are there days when we slack off? Yes. Are there days when we commit two or three acts of kindness to make up for lost time? Yes. The point is, kindness is made a priority during the hustle and bustle of the season…where, ironically, there are so many Grinches. Helping others is a focus that I hope doesn’t stop in December…but will also trickle into the new year and on and on and on.

This year, we’ve added a new act of service to our list. Next week, we are ringing the Salvation Army bells for an hour at our local grocery store. We are excited for that experience. (Well, I am…my kids have no choice ;), but I hope they are excited too!)

Have a great weekend! Next week is December…can you believe it?

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Inspiration

The Four Agreements

My principal has shared these agreements with us at the beginning of the school year the past few years. Building relationships with students can be so difficult sometimes, and it’s also so easy to get bogged down in the day to day responsibilities of life and school. At times, I feel like I give so much to my students that by the time I get home, my own kids get the leftovers which makes me feel as if I’m failing them in some way. Each of these four agreements applies to all relationships and are something that I try to keep as the centered focus while at work as well as in my life.

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Kids are always listening. They can see right through the fluff. Unfortunately, so many of my students have been talked down to, have heard inappropriate interactions between adults in their lives, and have look to other adults as role models. I try to speak the truth to them while also building a sense of respect and understanding that often times lacks in their lives.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Ugh. This one is SO difficult for me. For sure, hands down, this is the agreement I forget before all others. I do tend to take it personally if a student is disrespectful to me or confrontational. I’ve done this long enough to know that each student is different and each has their own story and background. Trying to meet the needs of 150 kids each and every day can be so challenging. But, just when I feel like I’m struggling to connect, a student comes in a tells me about the “A” they earned on their science test or the goal they scored in their soccer game. I want students to know that my classroom is a place where everyone is respected even if I’m the one who has to teach them what respect looks like.

Side note: Unfortunately, I struggle with this agreement in my life outside of school as well. I think that I’m such an “includer” or make a point to be respectful, that if I feel left out or disrespected, I kind of have to check myself to know that it probably wasn’t intentional even if I am hurt by those actions.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Communication is key. It’s easy to assume what others know about each other or the extent to what each person has been through. Most kids are good expressing what they want or need, but they may not always do it in the best way 😉 Adults are guilty of that too. I can’t assume I know each student’s background or pretend to have gone through what many of them have experienced in their lives, both the good and the bad of it. That’s why providing them with a safe space to communicate is vital.

Always Do Your Best

This is the agreement that I’m the best at implementing. I have enough self-awareness to know that on any given day, I’m just doing the best I can. I’ve often joked that I’m a mom, a wife, and a teacher and each day, I’m probably only succeeding with two of the hats I’m wearing. Something has to give, and sometimes that’s my sanity ;), but I’m always trying my best, and you’ll often hear me say, “I’m just doing the best I can.”

Final Thoughts…

Teaching really is a rewarding profession. It’s also one of the most difficult professions. Most days, I work with multiple types of personalities, hundreds of questions, multiple excuses, students who lack structure and role models in their lives. It can be taxing to be all the things to all of the people, and it’s easy to feel spread thin. I have to remind myself that I’m only one person doing the best I can each day. The Four Agreements help guide me to find some sense of balance, and to continue to keep doing the best I can. The payoff is the student who finally feels comfortable enough to volunteer to read aloud, or the kid who helps the new student in class find his way around the building, or the student who graduated because at school, they were surrounded by teachers, counselors, coaches and principals who were the first to tell them they could achieve their goals.

Also, I have to remind myself to focus on the positive. I can have 140 awesome students only 10 of which are challenging. Or, I can have a really engaging lesson for four of my classes but for some reason it didn’t go as smoothly with one hour. It happens and life goes on.

I know these agreements can apply to everyone no matter where they are in life, so I just thought I’d share. I always like looking at things from a new perspective. 😀

Have a great Monday.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea