Monday, July 22, 2013


The school year ended and was followed by a crazy but wonderful whirlwind 2-week trip to the United States with Boyaco, the beau (more to come on this soon...once pictures are ready), and now I have a bit of time to relax and revisit the stuff that matters to me and set some goals for the new year.  Being a teacher generally means I have two "New Years" -  the beginning of the school and January 1.  During the summer vacation I don't write resolutions but I get my life in order.  I pause and reflect on where how far I've come and map out where I want to go next.

In recent months I've come across many great books, website, blogs, etc. and I've had inspiring conversations with other people who are doing the same and are learning and are energized by this new information - and this energy is contagious.  Specifically, I've noticed a recurring them of returning to a simpler lifestyle - whole foods; active days of exercising (and enjoying it!), crafting, cooking and more; making time for the things and the people that matter; and more calm, more love, more peace.  This might sound sappy but just thinking about these things puts me in a better place.  Therefore, I thought I'd share some of my favorite sources of inspiration, in no particular order:

1.  Finances
He is my new motivation to spend less, save more and retire by 45! 
He is all about saving so that you can retire and spend your time doing exactly the way you want to.  He talks about riding your bike, cooking at home, staying active and finding crafty ways to solve problems in your life that require more manual labor on your end but much less spending.  It is awesome.

2.  Nutrition
It began with a conversation with a good friend about why she eats a mostly vegetarian diet, then I came across a book, Food Over Medicine, and from there I have not been able to stop researching diet and nutrition.  I have basically decided that I am going to try to maintain a mostly vegan diet - yes, that's correct no animal products.  I have not found one study showing that animal foods will make me healthier and there are plenty to show the contrary.  Additionally, in terms of the environment and world hunger - it just makes more sense.  Here are some great resources I've come across on the topic:
I'm just beginning this journey, so if any of you have advice - I'd love to hear it!

3.  Fitness
I was on a yoga kick for a while, meditating every morning and then doing yoga for 20 minutes or so...but I was doing nothing else.  After a conversation with Boyaco about the importance of cardio, I did some research and found that yoga was definitely not enough.  (The growing waste line also should have been a clue)  I pulled out the Jillian Michaels videos and started working out with those 5 days a week but then was forgetting about the meditation and the yoga.  I bought new sneakers, some new videos, have plans to attend a few classes during my summer break and find a combination of activities that will ensure I'm getting the exercise I need while staying balanced.  I also have plans to purchase a bike!  Very excited about that.  I'm also thinking I need to give up TV in order to find time for all that I want to be able to do.  Anyhow, no resources to share here...I'm still on the hunt!

4.  Work
This coming school year I have a new job and I am very excited about it.  The school created the position for me and it couldn't be more perfect.  My title will be something like Director of Professional Development but the work is sort of up to me.  The job has never existed and the school wants to know what professional development should be at the school.  I'm kind of starting from nothing - it's just one giant experiment, taking all that I've studied and researched and imagined and creating something that I hope will be amazing.  I've been reading a LOT and talking with different people.  I also started reading The Sacred Profession, a blog which is a great source of inspiration for educators in general.  I'm sure there will be some posts on this new undertaking throughout the year - all resources on professional development, great conferences for teacher trainers/leaders, etc. are welcome!

5.  Homesteading
For awhile I've been interested in crafts, cooking, sewing, baking my own bread, having plants and herbs in my apartment, composting, etc.  But I've done less of this in Bogotá because 1) I don't know where to find the items I need to get started; 2) I no longer have a backyard; and 3) Life gets going and other things have take priority.  But no more excuses.  I'm not sure I'll ever really reach homesteader status but this year I want to: 
  • Compost in my apartment  (I began this, but definitely need to purchase worms if this is really going to work!)
  • Grow herbs
  • Bake all my own bread (I've found some new types of flour at the health food store down the street and have begun experimenting with the best mix for flavor and nutrition)
  • Create art (painting, drawing, crafts, etc.)
  • Fix stuff on my own (toilets, cabinets, whatever)
  • Learn to knit (I'm thinking of starting a knitting circle)
  • Find a way to get involved in the community
Here are some inspiring websites for ideas:
Hope something in this list provides some inspiration to someone.  I haven't been blogging a whole lot because I'm not really convinced that my life is all that interesting.  During my 2-week visit with friends and family, however, several people mentioned that they enjoyed my blog and reading about what I'm up I'm going to make an effort to keep y'all informed on wherever this crazy life takes me....