March One Little Thing Journey

in , by Stephanie, February 28, 2021

This month, I am reminded of exactly why I decided to choose one word to guide each month, rather than one word to guide my entire year: life happens. And while the words I’ve chosen for January and February were perfect for me at the time, they are not what I need in the month of March. 

So, what do I need? Gratitude. I need gratitude. 

Have you ever had one of those weeks where the days seem to fly by, but the week still seems eerily slow? That was the kind of week I had: filled with busyness at home, but a long week overall. TGIF!

What I’m Reading:

This week, I read The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. No words can truly characterize what I felt, thought, questioned and struggled with as I was reading, but I’d like to try in hopes that it inspires others to read it. Honestly, this book made me the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been, yet made me laugh out loud in more than one (or five) places. It was brilliantly written and felt like I was having a true conversation with the author and by the end of the book, a needed friend. A friend who needs more than a nice white woman to to mark the book as read on her reading list. I’ve read books on white supremacy and systemic racism, books that left me compelled to do better and be better, but this book is different. Joseph is a compelling storyteller and artfully weaves his own story with those of others and often speakers directly to the reader. I’ve closed the book, but I cannot unsee the words. I’ve been an ally, but need to be an accomplice. 

Barren Grounds, Surprises & Chivvy

in , by Stephanie, February 19, 2021

This week, my children are on school vacation, so our pace is a bit slower. Their mornings begin a bit later, which means more time before the sun comes up for me to read, write and learn (I’m such a morning person!). Add in some snow and ice to keep us inside and we’ve got the perfect conditions for reading, writing and movie-watching. 

What I’m Reading:

I have to admit: I didn’t expect to like this book. I read Barren Grounds by David Robertson as part of the Choice Literacy book club for February. I typically do not enjoy reading fantasy, so I was a bit hesitant as I turned those first pages. I didn’t want to like it…..but I did. In fact, I loved it. While there is certainly a fantasy element of the book, the characters were real. Morgan and Eli, Indigenous foster-siblings forced from their parents, stole my heart from the beginning with their real, raw emotions and need for connection. So, when the story started to move from realistic fiction to fantasy, I was all in. I learned right alongside Morgan and Eli about the power of connection and family bonds, biological or otherwise, appreciation for whatever is available to us and the beauty of the natural world. I never thought I’d learn lessons from fantastical animals that have such powerful human implications….but I did. And I’ll eagerly look forward to the next book in the Misewa Saga series: The Great Bear.

What a week! It started off with bang, but fizzled as I spent time lounging in bed, a bit under the weather. But that just meant more time to rest, read and binge-watch Netflix. Read on for the details!

What I’m Reading:

I’m getting into a pretty fabulous reading rhythm in 2021 and have been reading a balanced mix of children’s literature, adult fiction and non-fiction. This week, I finished Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. And oh, my. This book did something no other book has done before: It walked me through the emotions of my entire life history alongside the two main characters, Kate and Tully. From the turbulent middle school years yearning for a best friend to the uncertainty of choosing just one path, from the early days of starting a family to the teenage years of my own children and all that fell in-between, I felt it all. Hannah takes the reader on a ride of emotions as she volleys between the two characters, making us privy to their innermost thoughts and fears, emotions that we relate to, connect to and maybe even learn from. I’ve already received the next book in the series, Fly Away, from my local library and cannot wait to begin!

Punching the Air, the 80-20 Rule & Valentine Fun

in , by Stephanie, February 05, 2021

A new month brings a new focus and my one word for February is connection. I'm working to better connect with myself, with others and with the world and my reading, writing and learning this week reflects that. Keep reading. There are some gems here today!

What I’m Reading:

Reading has changed the way I view the world. Only through the pages of a book can I gain new perspectives that I simply could not experience for myself, perspectives that have propelled me to continually question how the world works and my place within it. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam has done exactly that. It was a beautifully written book in verse, a book that invited me into Amal’s world to experience his truth, a truth not evident to the world. And while I was entranced in these beautiful pages of rhythm and movement, I was left haunted. Haunted by a world that never saw Amal for who he was. Haunted by a system that neither cared nor attempted to change. Haunted by a beautiful family that was separated, but not broken. I lost count of the number of pages I marked so I could return and be still with the pages later. Zoboi and Salaam truly touched my heart as an educator, a mother to teenage sons and as a white woman living in the world today. We have much work to do. 

February: My One Little Thing Notebook

in , by Stephanie, January 31, 2021

January was a month of learning. 

In previous years, I’d jump into January expecting to make sweeping changes in my life that would usually last for a week or two. But this year was different. This year, I embraced a monthly word to hold onto, rather than a yearly one, which changed my perspective. I mean, I could hold my focus on one word for one month, right? Right.