awareness

Safe Place

There’s at least one every year.

It usually starts with a drop-in from the counselor. “We need a safe place for _______________. Is it ok if we have the library as her safe place?”

The answer is always yes. Of course.

The reasons are many. For some, it’s a desire to run away. In my years in the public education system, we’ve had a handful of students who cope with things by physically running out of the school. Sometimes they make it to the street, down the road, into the woods. As you might imagine, a student exiting the building is cause for everything and everyone to stop what they are doing until the student is found. After the student is located, there is a process that begins…protocols, safety measures, and so on. One part of the protocol is identifying safe places for those students to go when they feel that urge to escape. My library is pretty big and I have no problem leaving students alone. So the counselor brings that student in and shows them where they can go to be undisturbed.

We’ve had other students who try to harm themselves. Much like our students who need to escape, the library is a place they can go to be alone and decompress. I have worked on the art of watching these kids without putting them under a microscope. We all know adults to just need a time out, but don’t need to be overly isolated. I strive to be that safe place where a student can be just alone enough to gather themselves.

At times it is students who can’t be in the room for whatever is being taught. We have families who don’t want their students exposed to stories about magic. We have other families who don’t celebrate certain holidays. In that case, we are the place that students can come to avoid that content.

And then there are the students with health conditions. From seasonal allergies to epileptic seizures, I am the place where students go when being outside for recess isn’t a safe option. I try to give these little guys things to do while they are inside. I hurt at times for these kids, since being outside is so vital to health and such a fun part of the school day.

I guess I am in the margins. A catch-all for students who need a place to just be who they are for whatever reason. A welcoming spot for anyone who is a little different. Do you have a place like that? Or maybe it’s a person?

adventure, dare to be different

My Tiny Life

I lived a tiny life for four days. What does this mean exactly? I opted for accommodations in a tiny home vs a hotel for my last summer adventure

How did it go? It was an experience and I’m excited I gave it a go. So much to get annoyed about when living small. Many things you just don’t think about. Like a closet. Like bathroom counter space. Like multiple seats for conversing while eating. Just little things.

First was the arrival. The suitcases. There were three of us traveling which means three decent-sized suitcases. We learned fast that we couldn’t all be sprawled out at the same time. Our solution was to store the bags in the the car and only open up when it was shower time and tuck wherever we could.

The tiny home was super cute. From decorations to natural lighting to appliances. How practical were they in reality? The fridge worked of course but its door swung open in a way in which you had to slide into the bathroom to retrieve anything. It was funny but thankfully we only used it to keep water cold as we were on the go a lot. There was a kitchen table with 4 stools. You could really only use two but the table was a storage area for us on top and shoe cubby below. Looked good but space was not functioning for us as designed.

Cutest little cozy couch area under the loft set up with a nice tv. It was comfy and fit just right. A great use of space as it was a pullout allowing for the the extra sleeping space. The big but was when you pulled it out it took away the floor space for the suitcases and they had no light so at night it was an oddly dark space.  One solution created another problem. Surely this kept us on our toes, but we managed and maneuvered and it was all good in the end.

The loft was by far my favorite place. It had a sky light that was amazing to peek through by day or night. It lad long windows on each side of the bed to see the fruit tree on one side or the green grassy yard on the other. The bed was comfy and there was a tv squeezed in as well. I didn’t need the tv as I enjoyed the rest and relaxation in what I called my treehouse space as I felt I was sleeping in the trees. 

I was writing this blog in my peaceful loft space to capture the spirit of the post. The overcast skies were rolling in. The drops of the rain from the trees hit my sky light. What a peaceful sound. The ambience of this place I will remember. I definitely find inspiration to write in many places. Some I write about others I don’t. 

Some things I didn’t mention above. The floors were an epoxy finish. Great little detail that made it fashionable just like the vintage fridge and microwave did. The bathroom and shower were small but I’d say the shower was bigger than most hotels and for cleanliness and quality it gets a thumbs up from me.

A few funnies to note. The label maker signs. Don’t take the extra toilet paper. Ha I wouldn’t but I’d assume somebody did in the past. This is a window not a door sign on the sliding glass door on the backside of the kitchen. It was clearly purposeless for me as there was no access outside but as a window it brightened up the place immensely. The sign just added a funny side to it as clearly somebody must have been using it in the past.

When and if you try out a tiny space like me think about things before you go. Pack light. Storage is minimal. Think tiny. Consider the tiny home dimensions. The one I stayed at was narrow. Being narrow limited certain things. Not sure I would go back to this place but it was a fantastic first try at something new. Emphasis on the trying something new, opting for different and enjoying the experience despite any challenges.

Tiny life is fun for a short stint but I think I prefer to live larger. I miss my high ceilings for sure.

change

The Next Chapter

As I began to put this post together the month of August was fast approaching. A turning point. A new chapter for many stories in my life.

A new school year. A fresh start for my youngest but sort of a restart to high school post-pandemic. So many emotions around a this particular subject after the past year and a half. New computer to get ready for the scheduled digital days and a proactive plan for any sporadic shutdowns. Imaginary pom poms for all the moments I want to cheer loud and proud for….but of course when you have a teen you would know that isn’t cool. To make myself feel good, I’ll use my imaginary poms!

Year 2 as a farmer begins without hesitation. Year one was fun. Full of learning, adventures and many firsts. Visions and dreams collided. Hard work was done. So much planning for now and the future. Broke the piggy bank a few times but you have to spend something if you want to build something. Off I go to leverage the earth to see what it will allow me to produce on the farm. I’ll say a few prayers and engage a few resources along the way. Forward progress on the farm is what farm life is about. And of course I want to tell everyone about it. Check out the last batch of flowers from the farm. They are absolutely gorgeous. See for yourself. #3splitzfarm

A new fitness regimen. August 1st marks a new venture for me. A slight step away from CrossFit, the sport I have enjoyed for many years. Taking a little break to do some customized programming to see how my body reacts. Maybe tone a bit. Maybe strengthen different muscle groups. Going to take 6 months to see how I do. I figure I have a 50/50 chance of being successful during this time. A coin toss basically. Will I decide I miss my sport? Will I miss my specific routine? Will I like my new environment? Will I train hard enough away from the constantly varied workouts of CrossFitting 5-6 days a week? Many unknowns for sure. One thing I know for sure is I’m responsible for my progress thus I need to kick my own ass at times.

I am sure I will share updates on my next chapters. Obviously, my life story has more than three chapters. This is just the three that I decided to highlight in this post. Those who know me know change is really the only constant in my life. While many fear change, I embrace change.
New year on the farm. 365 days of growth ahead. New school year for the youngest. 365 days of what should be amazing memory making opportunities. New fitness year. Half the year I will try something new. The other half will be planned based on my first half performance. The beauty of mapping your world. hundred points customizable by me, for me. 

Change fuels my soul. Change of reasons or seasons in a nutshell. Both reasons and seasons keep me chasing my dreams. Many won’t understand how change makes me tick harder faster stronger. Adaptation. Sitting in status quo anything is not my style. Onward. Upward. Forward. My choice is always bold never old. 

perspective

Half Way

50% Of the year is gone! Just like that. I feel like I blinked. Good thing I have a ton of pictures, journals and memories to recount my shenanigans from a-z.

I’m feeling pretty accomplished at the half way point. How about you?

I’m feeling thankful for my experiences this far. After living through a pandemic, I value each and every experience. How about you?

I am learning new things in 2021. I’m even joining a book club that isn’t really about books. How about you?

I’m taking risks this year. Some may yield results while others may be about the journey. How about you?

I’ve had my fair share of struggles. I’ve learned to dust myself off and get back on the saddle even when my pride is bruised. How about you?

I’ve had my learning moments. Owning them all. How about you?

I have enjoyed traveling a bit. This may be my favorite part of the year so far. Exploring new places while meeting new faces.

I look forward to many things each day but one fun part of my day is flipping my daily calendar. Not my work calendar. Not my carpool calendar. My special flip-the-unexpected calendar page. My gag gift from a dear friend. Who would have known this gem would make my year so fun. I even exchange daily posts with friend who has a unicorn calendar. While hers is all lollipops, gummy bears and happy motivational moments, mine is full of shits, giggles, swearing and many other not so polished or perfect sayings. That’s probably what I love the most about it. Maybe it’s the swearing will help note that gets me through the bad day. Maybe it’s the you are magical as fuck signage that gives me some extra pep in my step. It could be the PSA needed for people around stating this is an Asshole FREE zone! Or it could just be a reminder of where we are in the year. 

Half way to somewhere hopefully. Half way past the bullshit of yesterday. Half way to 2022 and my next birthday. Whether half full or half empty at this point in time, I’m reflecting on what is. What was. What can be. 

Who am I. Who was I. Who will I become.

Who’s with me. Who’s yesterday’s news. Who’s ready to meet me.

As I wrap up this post full of questions, I offer you a dare. Dare to be different. Dare to make the second half better than the first. Dare to dream. Dreams can become reality. Enjoy what’s on the horizon.

dare to be different, fitness and nutrition

Sense of Direction

It’s true, I’m getting older.

As I age, I notice that certain things are starting to deteriorate. Today’s example: my sense of direction.

When I was young, I would read Atlanta’s Creative Loafing newspaper every Thursday or Friday. I’d check out the list of festivals, events, art openings, even new music releases, and make my weekend plans. I’d pull out my mom’s Atlanta road atlas and set on my coordinate spree to map my weekend adventures. From these jaunts week after week, year after year, I got to know my way around Atlanta inside and out.

These days, I can hardly find my way around my little suburb without waze or google maps. If I’m somewhere without service, I get nervous and often guess the wrong direction. Such a change. It may not just be due to aging. Maybe more a combination of getting older and over reliance on technology. Still not a change I like, no matter the cause.

I spent the past week in a confusing condo building. Actually there were two buildings connected by bridges and corridors. There was also a parking garage. None of the connecting floors had the same number. Walk through a hallway from one building’s first floor and suddenly, without stairs or elevators, you’re on another building’s third. The garage was a totally different mess. I felt lost and disoriented much of the week.

After a couple of morning condo workouts, I went to the gym one evening to make sure I could find it from our room. The next morning I spent a half hour with dumbbells in the gym. After I was done, I decided to test myself and make my way back to the condo from the gym using stairs instead of the path I already knew.

I walked into the stairwell. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find an old man, slightly hunched over, standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was short with groomed gray hair. He wore a cotton t-shirt, athletic pants and tennis shoes. He was there to exercise. He smiled at me.

Good morning, I said.

Are you still moving every day? he said,

Yes sir, I replied. I want to be sure I can move for as long as I can, so I try to do it first thing every day.

Good for you, he replied. I do the exact same thing. Keep it up. It’s so important.

And with that, one floor up, I walked out of the stairwell. He kept walking up the stairs. Up. Up. Up. Moving. Ascending.

It was like the (living) ghost of Christmas Future. Letting me know that taking time to move, for me, is what will keep me moving long term. I can feel confident when I get up and make my physical and mental health a priority each day. What others think of it is none of my business. My approval is what is required.

Did I find my way back to the condo? Happily, yes. And taking that different path gave me unexpected landmarks and signs. I’m heading in the right direction. It was a roadmap to the future I am heading toward, nimble and purposeful.