Till the Heels Fall Off

Till the Heels fall off

As I’ve noted in earlier posts…personal fashion isn’t a strong suit of mine. Typically, I don’t buy my next pair of black dress shoes till I’ve gotten as much milage out of them as possible. I vividly remember walking with students at National FFA Convention a few years back beneath the bridge between Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention Center. Suddenly, on my next step without warning my foot dropped hard. I looked back and behold my right shoe heel had ripped off completely. The timing couldn’t have been better though! We were walking to the charter bus and it was our last evening in Indy…so I didn’t have to try thinking of how I’d need to patch my heel for a few more days of walking! 😉

Then there was my students’ favorite shoe incident my first year teaching. We get to work on landscaping projects around our community and I don’t view my role as a foreman, they take that ownership, I view my role to model effort, hard work, and a little fun when it counts! So, of course, out shoveling up old landscapes in my dress shoes, competing with a group of boys to clear a section out the fastest and next thing my right heel (yep…) got stuck on the shovel…umm a little embarrassing. We got some great laughs and figured out an epic story for the Payless ShoeSource salesman.

Though these shoe incidents bring back great memories and joys; the metaphor speaks to a lie…a lie that was destroying my passion for working with young people; a lie that almost destroyed my marriage; a lie being widely peddled by society.

This lie: It is a badge of honor to work yourself till the heels of life fall off. 

It earns no badges to be burned out! It earns no badges to neglect the most precious relationships of your life! Yet, what does societal pressures say? MORE. MORE. We don’t frame the questions about what plates will you remove from spinning…we try to find ways and strategies to just make them all balance and maybe add a few more.

I can’t mislead you, I’ve been a very slow learner of this and there are times even now that I am struggling. This year has been a hard reality check; I cannot be it all for all people. Though I thrive off my current schedule, it is by no means healthy for me or my young family, notwithstanding that it is in no way sustainable. I’m wearing out the heels of my life much too fast and I’m only 27.

All of us need to be strong, healthy models for those newly entering our teaching profession. We need to be teaching them how to be strategic in saying ‘Yes’, we need to provide opportunities for personal reflection and growth. I’m blessed that my school administration has allowed me to come down to San Antonio this whole week for the National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference. It has recharged my battery; equipped me with tools to enhance my teaching, but above all expanded my support network in the profession. This week is shaping up to be a game-changer, but the goals I’m developing for myself look different than ever before.

I’m looking at strategically scaling back in different facets of my work life, starting this Spring Semester. Putting First Things First at home, so Annelle stops getting the left over pieces of me…

The following observation will come off as harsh…please be aware it is for me not my readers…

What did I do with the shoes I wore out? Did I idolize them, hang them on a plaque (okay the shoe shovel we almost did)? NO THEY GOT THOWN IN THE DUMP…IN TATTERED PIECES! Serving only a fleeting purpose…ouch…this cannot be my life!

We must start talking about teaching differently; because it is unlike any vocation, our goal should not be to seek balancing competing silos. This compartmentalizing is wrong, we need a holistic view of an educator. Many of us find our life mission in this field, so how do we harmonize that with our desires and need for family and personal development.

I don’t have the answers, I’m a young pup, but I know that I need to be better, I know I can be better! It starts with the first step in harmonizing my schedule to reflect the values of my life.

I’ll finish with a final anecdote:

My wife loves her pairs of boots. One pair in particular she has taken great care of and has taken to be resoled over the past ten years, close to three times. They are still functioning like new and show little wear. Yet, she uses them constantly!

I’m not disposable, its not a badge to view my life as disposable, even if my time seems to be filled with worthy work…I need to be resoled. Lord give me the resolve, strength, and courage to do so!

Writer’s Note: Thank you for reading these past few posts. They have been weighing heavy on my heart and this writing process has been an outlet of great reflection and outpouring. You are all making a huge impact on the lives of young people and I’m blessed and honored to count you all as friends and colleagues. Keeping changing the world one child at a time! 🙂

God Doesn’t Make Mistakes

God Doesn't Make Mistakes

Wandering through the sea of purple and activity booths, it was a little overwhelming seeing all the opportunities I could involve myself into as a whopping three-day old college student! Walked past the usual clubs and intramural sport booths. Nothing was clicking…nothing just calling, “Hey Anthony this is where you are needed!”

I was turning to leave the activity fair and a young lady was yelling past the crowd, “Hey you! Can you please stop!” She looked fairly out of breath and the only thing she could get out next was, “You’re perfect!”

Next came a string of reasons to join the K-State Rowing Club and become a coxswain. I was a little embarrassed to admit to her that I had no idea what she was talking about. Finally, she said, “Just come to practice today at the Boat House around 4:30.”

She had piqued my interest. What was rowing? It was early afternoon by that point. I raced back to my dorm room and found their Facebook page. On the very first post was the declaration of need: “WE ARE DESPERATE FOR ANYONE 5 FOOT 2 INCHES AND WEIGHING LESS THAN 120 LBS!”

Ummm…that’s me! I’m 5’2″ and I’m a scrawny thing!! Found directions to the Boat House and I didn’t look back. Standing there on the edge of the dock, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how being apart of this rowing family would change my life. Watching the first boat shells hit the water I was taken back to the Doctor’s office where my stringy 12 year-old little legs dangled precariously off the edge of the examination table.

Occasionally in life we are asked, what would you tell your younger self? If I could have gone back to my 12 year old self that day I’d had said, “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

It had been a weird two year journey up to that point. I hadn’t really noticed that my brothers were quickly surpassing me in height. Remember the movies where the kids race and have their parents mark their height in pencil on a wood frame? We were a normal family in that regards. I remember racing to the spot monthly…closing my eyes and stretching up nice and tall. Occasionally, sneakily, even standing on tippy toes to which my mother would say smiling, “No cheating…flat on your feet.” Each month I’d turn around disappointed.

My brothers were bean sprouts each month their heights kept climbing. Mine…let’s just say it was foretold by my Mother’s favorite story she would tell every gal I brought home (except my wife…finally got smart). When I was born, I was so small the doctors declared, “Well he sure isn’t going to be an NFL player, but he’ll make one hell of a jockey.” (I’ve strongly contended that my Mother has taken complete liberty in fabricating this story purely for motherly embarrassment motives.)

My parents could tell this was bothering me. They were also concerned that maybe I was experiencing a health problem. So to the doctors we went. When he came in with the prognosis, it was pretty straightforward.

“Hate to say this, but he’s pretty well done growing. Two inches max based on the space in his growth plates. I am happy to share we do have options that we could do that would help get him to the average height of his peers.”

He went on to describe the various options. The one he recommended was growth hormones. To this day I’m glad my parents allowed me the ability to make this very adult decision. By the time I weighed the pros and cons…I felt I was better off keeping what I had versus facing the slim chance of having complications later on.

Yet, I made this decision not based on any love I had of who I was. No, it was completely rooted in the fear of losing what little I had. My whole decision framework was based on a negative view of who I was.

This would compound and grow. By my 8th grade year I hated the fact I would never be good at sports. I hated that everyone would ask, “Did you drink coffee when you were younger?” Not asking out of concern, but to put me in my place. I didn’t know what it was called at the time, but I remember what it felt like. A hole…a big gaping hole, I was no one, I was nothing. Okay, maybe the occasional armrest…at any rate it hurt.

The worst came though when a young girl I had dated for a few months broke up with me, her reason, “Honestly, you’re a great guy. I just really wish you were two inches taller, I just can’t see myself with someone my own height.” That comment cut so deep…I look back and know now she didn’t realize how much it hurt me. I also realize now that she was shallow in her relationships and that God had a much better…and might I add taller person waiting for me. 😉

All this culminated in making choices that almost destroyed my life. All because I was blind to the blessings that God had provided and focused on what I lacked.

Rowing was God’s way of waking me up. Through rowing I forged friendships that I still have today. Through rowing I gained a love and knowledge of why God made me the way I am. I suddenly realized that my height was disarming…welcoming. I wasn’t big and intimidating, people who felt out of place in a room I made it the habit to befriend them.

I realized that I could squeeze through a sewer drain retrieving a soccer ball that would have been lost forever. I realized that I can get crazy great deals at any clothing store in the kids section!! I realized that I could relate and comfort future students who were struggling with self-worth and need to hear God Doesn’t Make Mistakes!

We cannot allow others or society determine our worth. Our worth has no measure that this world is capable of quantifying! So let’s stop judging the worth of others…let’s stop judging the worth of ourselves. God Doesn’t Make Mistakes…his purpose for our lives is simple…LOVE. Love without abandon, Love without conditions, Love always.

This post was inspired by the message shared by my #CompelledTribe friend, peer, and #EduHero, Allyson Apsey. Here is a link to her post: https://allysonapsey.com/2018/11/24/if-you-knew/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Allyson’s message of #IfYouKnewEDU speaks of the students, parents, and peers who are hurting all around us from sometimes deep scars. We don’t always show it, but it is there. It is real and it is sometimes very raw. Being open and vulnerable is hard. Let us have deep grace and compassion for all those we meet on our journey; and if nothing else just love.

Just, remember…please, always remember: God Doesn’t Make Mistakes!

Fashionably Unfashionable

Fashionably Unfashionable

I’m grateful for a wife who has a sense of fashion and a willingness to offer advice on my poor choices. She’s always on point in regards to making sure nothing clashes. At least this means our children will be sparred from having me make their initial clothing outfits. If only navigating the fashion trends of education were as easy…

I’ve only been teaching five, very fast and short, years. Yet, in some ways it has felt like educational whiplash. Each year there has been a new trend that is replacing a program or initiative that had been around since well the start of last year (reason for replacing…it wasn’t working). As technological innovation has speed up, so has the pace of (perceived) change. Yet, most of the time it feels more like a reflex of impatience than actually thoughtful consideration for impact on students and our communities.

There are no “quick fixes” to “better” education. There is only the intentional choice that each and every student matters. No matter their zip code, last name, color of their skin, or ability to ‘do’ school. We don’t need the latest, hottest educational tool or program. What we need is our best selves showing up day in and day out, thinking of how to best serve our students right in front of us.

As I’ve finished reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey the most important concept I’ve walked away with is: ‘What is in my circle of influence?’

In a nutshell: What do I have the ability to influence?

My choices – YES

My thoughts – YES

How I facilitate my classroom – YES

How I make my students feel – YES

How I make my co-teachers feel – YES

How I make my parents feel- YES

It might not seem “fashionable”, but spending time working on who we are as people is critical. When we do so, we ensure that the choices we make, the thoughts we have will reflect warmly in the way we facilitate our classrooms. It will also be reflected in the way we make others feel around us.

Every good work, starts inside. In our hearts and our minds. Layering on “quick fixes” may be fashionable in the moment, it may even make us feel trendy… Yet, none of that can compare to discovering and having comfort in who we are as human beings and as educators.

Fads fade.

Fashions change.

Relationships with kids, parents, community stakeholders, fellow teachers, and administrators will always be there. These relationships call upon our best, our greatest self. We may not all be “fashionable”, but I know we are all determined, eager, and willing to do whatever it takes for those we love and care for.

Don’t sweat being fashionable…we can be fashionably unfashionable together!!

More Smiles, Less Sermons

more smiles and less sermons (1)

“The same thing can be said of much of the Bible: Its smiles carry more meaning than its sermons.” – Eugene Peterson, p. 96 A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

“Advice is like snow — the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Below are two stories of teachers who influenced my life in the earliest stages of my youth. Both speak to the influence of our words and actions on the youngest before us. This is the first time I’ve transcribed these stories so I apologize if there seems to be rambling in their telling.

Two things finally forced the envelope to share these stories. First, teachers really do have an impact, no matter the stage in life. Secondly, WE ALL have influence on the lives of young people; therefore we must be intentional with our words and actions.

In simple, let’s let our smiles carry more meaning than our sermons. Enjoy!

As a Kindergartener and 1st Grader I was a hellion. I refused to sit still, wouldn’t stop messing with my classmates. Actually, as I reflect the only real memory I had from Kindergarten was sitting in the corner looking between the legs of the chair watching my other classmates. When I got to 1st grade I hadn’t improved much, if anything I had just gotten sneaky about my naughtiness.

Yet, even as a rambunctious, disrespectful 1st Grader I still thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was either going to be a truck driver or an astronaut. At that time I was obsessed with everything space, my parents had gotten my brother and I a backyard telescope and I just loved it. (Mind you this was before 4th grade when I became a self-declared Civil War buff).

Our first-grade teacher had us do a simple assignment where we drew what job we wanted to be when we grew up, I drew being an astronaut of course! What happened next, I have full understanding was meant to be instructive as I have thought back later on the episode, and was most likely an outpouring of pent up frustration with me, she just wanted me to behave better.

Sometime the following week we watched a space shuttle documentary, I was surprised and interested, that was until the video showed a series of clips of space shuttle after space shuttle blowing up. Some just exploding on the platform others in mid-air. My teacher paused the video after the clips and said, “Sadly, astronauts do die…” She continued on commenting how astronauts were good students and I honestly cannot remember the rest because I just wanted to start crying. I left school that day and cried, my parents were confused, because I was adamant that I didn’t want to be an astronaut anymore.

My teacher got her desired result, I never misbehaved in her class again and I didn’t do much else either. I didn’t answer questions, didn’t play with my classmates, I just didn’t want to do anything. I became very quiet, shy almost because I was afraid something else would be taken from me just like my dream to be an astronaut. The rest of 1st grade was a blur, just staring at the clock and waiting for time to go by. When we moved to an entirely different state and different elementary school, I can’t say I was too upset.

It would take a few years before I felt comfortable speaking up in class or having confidence in who I was. I thank each and everyday my 4th Grade teacher Mrs. Graves, for kindling my fire to become a confident reader. I’ll never forget when she wouldn’t let me be removed from class for phonics practice, I had been receiving since 2nd grade and dreaded. She advocated for me when I needed it most, but she was also firm too.

I remember having a heated argument with a classmate about something with the living museum we were tasked in creating of a colonial town. Rather than yelling or berating us with a lecture, she swooped in with a big, warm smile, “I’m so excited to see you are both so passionate about these details for the doctors office. Why don’t we look it up and see which would be most realistic for the time period?”

Again, as I reflect back I sheepishly think to how annoying I must have been, but Mrs. Graves never let that on. During one of our tours of James Madison’s mansion, Montpelier, I didn’t leave her side asking questions and commenting about how beautiful the property was. All throughout she smiled, answering my compounding questions and when I said I wanted to buy the house she laughed, saying, “If anyone could do it, it would be you.” All I wanted was to be just like Mrs. Graves!

When I started bus driving, I never thought in my wildest dreams I would meet my Kindergarten and 1st grade-self, but I found that in one of the young men who rode my bus (God’s got a crazy sense of humor). As I think about situations that need to be addressed, I pause and smile thinking, “He will remember these interactions for the rest of his life…God, help me choose words and actions that will help and not harm. Build and not tear down.” I’m blessed to have had a model like Mrs. Graves to base my actions.

Pairing smiles with hard truths seems like an odd choice, but it is the difference between speaking from need versus speaking from abundance.

What I mean by “speaking from need”, is by choosing to get angry, impatient we begin to speak from our self-centered needs. Maybe it’s the need to feel in control or the need to protect our ego. Either way it is not helpful for the recipient of our feedback or ourselves. We may get the results we want, but the relationship is now damaged…nothing that is self-serving is worth that cost.

When we “speak from abundance”, we are choosing to engage in passionate patience with others, we allow our smiles to do as much of the talking as our words. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always good at this; yet I’ve come to realize the wisdom found in a smile. Smiles are not a sign of weakness, they are a manifestation of inner strength.

Therefore, let us go and allow our smiles to have more meaning than our sermons!

Thanks for reading and have a blessed Thanksgiving week!

Spice For Life


Spice for LifeEverything about pumpkin spice belongs in the holiday season!

Whether it is the “Special Edition” Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts, or even “Limited Edition” Pumpkin Spice Oreos. There is something truly special about pumpkin spice and how it has become ubiquitous with the Fall season.

Yet, what happens if one day in early March…you decide its got a crisp chill in the air and you need a Pumpkin Spice Latte? You walk into Starbucks (or your other favorite coffee shop) and order a Pumpkin Spice Latte. After a few awkward exchanges, a couple of blank stares, you realize that the Baristas look as if they are about to check your temperature.

They politely ask, “Do you realize what month this is?”

You respond, “Sure, but I’m really craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte.”

Now, slightly irritated and with customers piling up, they respond, “Sorry, we can’t help you, that is out of season. Please order something from our regular menu.”

However, humorous (and unfortunately, personally very real) this exchange was it speaks to a greater struggle. Keeping the spice for life alive outside of the holiday season.

I mean, it’s easy to feel the specialness of life when everyone else exudes it during the months of November and December. It’s easy to remember being grateful when we are finding constant reminders snuck in throughout our daily minutia. But, what happens when that is not on the regular menu of life?

King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2-9 speaks to this struggle:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

Wow…doesn’t that feel like the humdrum of life sometimes. We are beating our heads against the wall to realize that what we had been beating our heads against the wall for has already been figured out. Or worse the efforts we have poured out feel like a waste.

Yet, does it have to be this way? Do we have to surrender the spice for life that the holiday season naturally, almost spontaneously, erupts in all of us?

Spice for life is a perspective, a frame of mind. Each day by our choices we put on different glasses to see our world. Lives that seem normal (boring as some put it) actually are “spiced” in their own special way for the one living that life’s journey. It is not our responsibility to find the spice for someone else’s life, we need to find the daily spice of our own lives. By doing so we accept that each of our lives are unique, beautiful, and purposeful in ways that we will never comprehend.

There is no exact recipe for a good life. And thank goodness…so don’t let the “limited” availability of Pumpkin Spice restrict you from spicing up your life year round!

Countdown to Wishbone

countdown to Wishbone

What’s fun about the Thanksgiving season is all the traditions that infuse its celebration. Traditions ranging from eating turkey, going to the grandparents, making pumpkin pie, watching Charlie Brown, and the breaking of the wishbone!

As a huge Charlie Brown fan, it is a classic, traditional requirement to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Woodstock and Snoopy snap the wishbone sending Woodstock flying through the air with the bigger piece and a huge, wide-eyed smile.

Beyond being a fun scene in a classic film, the breaking of the wishbone serves as a deeper metaphor of our need and desire for unconditioned cooperative effort. Think for a moment, how would it work to say, “Sure, I’ll help you hold onto the wishbone if you can guarantee me that I’m going to get the bigger half.”

We might think this is an extreme, even ridiculous, statement, and it is. Yet, how often do we say something similar in our daily lives when we approach encouraging others to serve or when we consider serving others? Do any of the below statements ring true that you’ve said to others or yourself?

  • “By doing this community service you will look good on college scholarship applications.”
  • “Serving in that position will add a lot to your resume.”
  • “Sure, I’ll help with this project, on ________(you fill the blank)_______ condition.”
  • “What will I get out of doing this?”

This is a hard topic for me because in high school I definitely had felt driven by the top two. I’m cautious now because as an educator in the midst of scholarship season I still catch myself saying these phrases to others…but it is not the right mindset and I’m retooling my phrasing. It took me four Thanksgivings ago to figure this out.

On Thanksgiving Day, Annelle’s family has helped their church with the massive community Thanksgiving Day meal, they easily serve hundreds of meals. Since we started dating I’ve helped on the delivery team, helping deliver meals with her Dad, James, and Grandpa Bruce. Four years ago James and Bruce were unable to help and I got partnered with Ed.

Ed’s a quiet, older man and I had never spoken with him prior to this. As we started delivering the meals, each place we went the people who answered the door knew Ed. Smiles cracked across their faces as if not used often. After about the eighth stop, I asked Ed, “How do all these people know you?”

His answer was simple, “During the week many of them are on my Meals for Wheels route.” I was curious now. What motivated Ed to do this? Was it because he had time after retirement and was bored? He wanted to feel like he was making an impact? Maybe he had somehow been recruited? So I asked Ed why he volunteered on the Meals on Wheels route…expecting one of the answers above.

Ed’s response, “I’m not sure, I guess it’s the right thing to do.” I was struck. He went on, “Many of them never get out of their houses. Sometimes I’m the only one they ever see all week. They tell me that.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” is a phrase that struck deep. Usually, up to that point, that phrase would reside beneath the layer of self-serving reasons I’d present to myself for doing something. Though those self-serving reasons seemed okay…even right in my eyes they still held me above and kept my self-centeredness concretely held.

Doing the right thing for the sake that it is the right thing to do; no matter how difficult, no matter how challenging, no matter the time commitment. Is possibly the truest demonstration of maturity I can think of. It’s a shift in mindset that puts the cause of others above our own self-serving mindset. It is the mindset shift I needed as a husband and as an aspiring father.

Don’t get me wrong we need to take care of ourselves, that’s the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong we need to care for our families, that’s the right thing to do. Definitely, don’t get me wrong we must serve others who can offer nothing in return, that’s the right thing to do.

We have something to offer this world. We can think of it as our very own wishbone. Two choices are what we have with our wishbone:

We can hold it out feebly, thinking how we can manipulate the wishbone by our grip to ensure we get the bigger reward, the bigger piece.

Or we can extend it out with passionate, enthusiasm knowing full well that we may not get the larger chunk, the bigger reward. And yet, know that is just the right thing to do.

Grating Some Gratitude

Grating Some Gratitude #2

I’ll never claim to be a good cook…I try, but most of the time it tends to end badly. Several distinctive memories standout:

First, there was the time I tried to make boxed mashed potatoes. I followed the recipe to the tee according to the box. When my friends tried it they politely nodded and one asked, “Seems a little dry, did you add water?” I guess it was assumed that the person making the mashed potatoes from a box should have known this, well…whoops!

Then there was the time I tried to make my wife some lasagna when we were dating. She thought that was cute besides the fact it was fairly inedible even for my iron stomach…we ended up ordering pizza.

I’ve come a long ways since then in my culinary adventures. My wife trusts me now to brown hamburger and I am a proud, proficient user (and cleaner) of the cheese grater!

The cheese grater is an amazing tool. Simple in design and yet so effective in delivering on its purpose…breaking a part a full block of cheese into slivers of delicious goodness. Think about all the great meals you have had that shredded cheese just adds to its awesomeness…soup of any kind, tacos, loaded potato, the list goes on!!

Our lives can surprisingly act a lot like that cheese grater if we allow it too. Here’s a few thoughts on why/how we need to grate out some positive, authentic gratitude this holiday season and in every season of life afterwards:

  •  Makes the Ordinary Special-

Life can become humdrum as we simply go through the motions. When we become so caught-up in the grit/grind of daily living, forgetting the joys and gratitude of living we stifle our fire and passion. When we grate out some gratitude for ourselves, it makes the ordinary moments of life special. That ordinary conversation with a student, who will someday grow up and raise a family, hmmm that’s special. That ordinary day of grading papers, while sneaking in notes of positivity/thankfulness in the margins, that makes it special. We have the power to fill any moment with gratitude!

  •   Gratitude Creates Abundance- 

The cheese grater transforms a solid piece of cheese that only one person could enjoy by multiplying it in abundance through shredding. Too often in life we live with a scarcity-mindset, we hold onto that solid block of cheese all for ourselves. Everything is limited, so I’m going to hold onto this piece. This mindset infects our relationships with suspicion of others’ motives in the workspace and in general living. However, when we embrace gratitude, it sows the seeds of abundance. By taking our portion in life and spreading it generously, we will find that our impact can multiply!

  •   Small Actions Speak!-

Gratitude does not need to be some huge production. Truly authentic gratitude shows up daily through small actions that in accumulation leave lasting impact. Our small actions speak loud/clear, trust me our young people watch us closely! Do our daily actions bring forth the gratitude that resides in us or do we simply do the minimum to get by another day? Shredded cheese accumulates fast, but it all starts with the first stroke across the grater. What small act gratitude can you do today that will share love/kindness to someone else?

November is hands-down my favorite month of the year. During the month we will celebrate my wife’s birthday and have family thanksgiving! I was blessed to see that gratitude was the theme for this month’s posts through our #CompelledTribe of bloggers. I’m excited to hear the perspectives of our fellow bloggers on this topic! Have a wonderfully blessed holiday season and remember to grate out some gratitude! 😉

Make the Most


While at National FFA Convention when we were being debriefed for the Prepared Public Speaking competition the contest coordinator dropped a phrase that hit home for me: “Make the Most”.

“Make the Most”…gosh do we really do this!?

Do we make the most of the opportunities to invest in our students daily?

Do we make the most of the precious little time we spend with our families?

Do we really make the most of each day to better ourselves and those around us?

Making the Most of each day/moment is an intentional choice. We have the power to choose if we are making the most…nothing forces us to change that, we give it up ourselves.

I want this November to count…I want to Make the Most of this month and each month afterwards. Here’s my personal Make the Most Top 5’s for November:

  1. Go watch some K-State Basketball with my wife.
  2. Capture daily gratitudes/blessings in my prayer journal.
  3. Carve time to visit with each student individually and thank them!
  4. Plan intentionally for impact…maintain my organizer and Franklin Planner.
  5. Write five blogs and participate in five twitter chats.

How are you going to Make the Most of this November 2018? It will happen only once…so Make the Most! I challenge you to share your Make the Most Top 5 for this November by tweeting the hashtag #MTMx5.

Let’s go and Make the Most!