Sunshine Nomination

Discover. Play. Build.
Today I’m celebrating putting myself out there and sharing.  I didn’t feel like writing today, but I knew a few people might check and wonder why I hadn’t written.  Thank you to my new friends who keep encouraging me to write and put myself out there.
I was nominated last week by Leigh Anne  (one of my new blogger friends) and Linda Baie (new friend I met at All Write) to share some random facts about myself.
Here are the rules:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you
  4. List 11 bloggers (I’m pretty sure I don’t have any additional blog friends other than the ones who nominated me, so I’m skipping this step.)
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I was younger and in college, but I changed my major when my parents told me I didn’t even need a degree to do that.  (This is not true, but I was impressionable and cared about what they thought.)  I loved the one class I did take and wish I would have taken more.  I still love decorating and design.
2. I love old people.  My first job was as an activity coordinator for clients with Alzheimer’s.  It didn’t dawn on me until later the similarities between this and teaching.  I think I loved this because I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up.
3. I was an only child until I was 18 and always dreamed of having a big, crazy family.  I wanted a loud house with lots of chaos.  I’ve got to get working on that.
4. My best friends are the same best friends (with a few more added in) since grade school.  I love them like they are my sisters.
5. I love learning and have various interests I hope I always pursue.  This year I want to start taking piano lessons again (I began over the summer).  I’d also like to take a graphic design course, sewing lessons, and Chinese.
6. Teaching is my second profession.  I had a mid 20’s crisis trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I used to sell engagement rings, but sales was not for me.  During this time I pursued nursing (I was taking some intro classes) until my dad got hurt, and I was reminded I can’t look at blood.  Nursing seems like a great gig, but I can’t get past the blood.  I cried to my mom because I didn’t want to be a quitter and drop my nursing class I was taking at the time (I’d never dropped a class before that).  She gently said, “I’m not sure why you are studying nursing- you always wanted to be a teacher when you were younger.”
7.  I can stand on my head for a long time.  (I usually bust this move out once a year with my students.)
8.  I’m not a picky eater.  I love pretty much everything, but I can’t do broccoli.  I try it every couple years just to make sure, but I still don’t like it.
9.  I have a book ordering problem.  If someone mentions a book, I will most likely order it.  I get overwhelmed by all my books though, and I don’t end up getting to all of them or finishing some of them.  It seriously looks like a book store puked in all of my closets and basement.
10.  I’m not a car person.  I drove my last car for 13 years.  When it was time to get a new car, I couldn’t decide what type to purchase, so I just bought the same car in a newer version.
11.  I’m a procrastinator.  If you tell me I have until 12:00, I will be working until 11:59.  I try to work ahead, but there’s something I love about the rush of waiting until last minute. I’m working on improving this in 2014.
11 Questions from Leigh Anne
1.  What is the best gift you have ever given?
I gave a friend coasters from significant spots of her relationship for her wedding.  The coasters included where her and her spouse met, got engaged, their wedding venue, and a favorite place they go out.
2.  What is the one thing you would change about yourself
If I could, I would change my inability to make decisions.  I would also like to speak up more for what I want.
3.  Which teacher had the biggest influence on you and why?
I loved a college biology teacher  who made an effort to know all of her students.  She taught to hundred something students in a large auditorium, and she still made you feel like she knew you and cared about you.
Currently Ron Clark and Rafe Esquith influence me the most as a teacher.  I’ve been fortunate to meet them both (I visited RCA), and I continue correspondence with them still.
4.  What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
I wish I knew, because I’d start doing it now.  I pray I have a family and a job that I love.  Ideally it will have a mix of being challenging and allow me to be creative.
5.  What is your most favorite teaching moment?  If not a teacher, family moment?
My favorite moment as a teacher was when one of my students, who I assumed was always a reader, told me she didn’t love reading until she was in my class.
I met her last month for lunch and she brought her tattered reading notebook and is still a reading machine.
6.  Hot drink or cold drink?
I love hot tea.  I didn’t like it until a year or so ago, but now I have it almost every morning.
I think the question is what do I prefer – hot or cold, but it really depends on the season, so I’m sharing my favorite of both.
My favorite cold drink is a mix with Guinness and Strongbow (or any Cider type drink).  When the two mix and settle- there is nothing quite like it.
7.  What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about improving myself.  I am always seeking ways to improve my teaching practices and myself as a whole.
8.  What are you reading currently?
My books to be read is always bookshelves deep.  Right now I’m focusing on Essential Questions, The Happiness Project, and Last Time They Met.  The last book is sure to make me cry.
9.  Which season do you like the best and why?
I love fall and spring the best.  There’s something about the start of both that I love.  Fall marks the beginning of a new school year and football, and spring is a new beginning with beautiful flowers.
10.  Did you have a favorite outfit as a kid and what did it look like?
I have some pretty horrible photos of me in stretchy biker shorts and crop tops.  Most of them were neon too.  I’m guessing by the photos that I loved these. Looking back it was pretty hideous, and I can’t believe my mom bought me shirts with my stomach hanging out.
11.  How/why did you start blogging?
I started blogging with the encouragement of people I met at last summer’s All Write Conference.
11 Questions from Linda
1.  If you could eat any dessert, what would it be?
If I could have anything, I would pick Creme Brulee or carrot cake.  I have a really big sweet tooth though, so I’d be happy with anything.
2.  Are you an avid reader?  What is the influence that led you to be one?
I love to read.  I would rather read than watch TV and sometimes go out.  I think I always liked it growing up, but I especially love reading the books my students are reading.  This is one of the things that has most influenced my teaching.  I started reading more of their books and realizing the importance of doing this after reading The Book Whisperer.
3.  Do you like to travel and stay busy going and going, or travel and relax, read, be still? Explain.
I love to travel.  I want to see things, so I like to be on the go.  This past summer I went to New York and some surrounding cities, and we were on the go.  I didn’t want to miss anything.  I like to relax too, but I’m pretty fair skinned, so there’s only so much tanning my poor skin can handle.  It’s hard for me to sit still for too long too without getting restless.
4.  If you could have any famous person come to your Thanksgiving dinner, whom would you invite and why?
Good question.  I don’t know.  My family is really into sports, so maybe we’d invite a coach from one of our favorite teams to talk sports with them.
5.  What is one thing in the past year that pushed you into changing something in your life?
Feeling stuck has pushed me into working more on myself and trying to figure out what I want in life.
6.  What is your favorite season?  Why?
I like spring and fall.  I love spring flowers and longer days and the changing leaves in fall.
7.  Do you have a favorite poem, or poet?  Please share.
No, I haven’t gotten into poetry (I’d like to).  I do like Kenn Nesbitt’s poetry for my kids though.  His poems always make them laugh.  I also love Love that Dog and Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech.
8.  What is the funniest, maybe embarrassing, thing that ever happened to you?
When I was about 12/13, I was swimming at a public pool with my best friend.  We had matching bikinis, and we really thought we were something.  The lifeguard at the pool was a very good looking, much older teenage boy.  I couldn’t help but notice he was staring at me.  I initially thought it was because he thought I was cute (ha).  My friend yelled over at me to alert me that my top had fallen down after I jumped off the diving board.  So, he didn’t think I was cute, but he was staring at my exposed chest.
9.  Tell about a mentor in your teaching, or in your job?
I am lucky to always find great mentors where I work.  At my first job, I met lifelong friends and wonderful mentors in Jessica Cremer, Kathie McCann, and Gwyn Savens.  They are all wonderful teachers who are willing to listen and offer suggestions.  I am a better teacher because of them.
I’ve also been lucky to meet Ron Clark and Rafe Esquith.  I’ve learned a great deal from them, and I continue to seek them out for advice.
10.  What is a favorite book from childhood?  Why do you believe it’s a favorite?
I had a book that I use to love (I can’t remember the name of it).  It had a picture of a dog on it.  I checked it out over and over again from our school library.  I’m not sure why, but I think I loved it because I didn’t have a dog and wanted one.
11.  Where would you most like to be found on a Sunday afternoon?  What are you doing?
On Sunday afternoons I’m sitting in my living room surrounded by schoolwork.  This is crunch time prepping for the upcoming school week.
I’ve included some questions if anyone wants to answer.
1. If you could live anywhere other than where you live currently, where would it be and why?
2. Would you rather smell fresh cut grass or bleach?
3. What is one thing on your bucket list?
4. Who is a blogger you’d like to sit down and have a drink with?
5.  What is one thing you are embarrassed to say you indulge in?
6.  What is something around your house you keep putting off and why?
7.  What’s one of your best qualities?
8. If you could be any other profession, what would you be?
9.  What are your favorite and least favorite family traditions?
10. What quality do you most hope to instill in your students or children?
11.  Who would play you in a movie about your life?

10 thoughts on “Sunshine Nomination

  1. I am so glad you chose to do this and thanks for including me as one of your new blogging friends! It was fun learning more about you. I laughed out loud at your funniest/most embarrassing moment – I bet you were mortified! I am going to email you about linking up for Slice of Life…so be looking for that! Have a great week.

  2. Thank you for responding with all these wonderful details, Jen. I love hearing that you’ve had the beginnings of several careers, but also that you’re so enthusiastic about learning, piano, Chinese (for your future gig-I know), sewing, etc. And, your piece about loving old people. I think working with people with dementia is like teaching too, working with a group, etc. I volunteer in a dementia unit now & have a great time just like with my students. Lots to enjoy in this post!

  3. I was looking for your post, glad I found it :-). So sorry weather interfered with our meet up, maybe the week of the 20th? What a interesting journey you’ve taken through life and there is so much more to come. I understand the addiction to ordering books, I have that compulsion too. Keep writing, someone is reading! 🙂

  4. I am so glad you started your blog after All-Write! And I am glad I am back to blogging so that we could connect. I love the story about crying to your mom in the midst of your nursing studies. My mom is such a guiding force in my life that I could completely identify with that moment.

  5. Jen, you are so fun loving and honest. If I were to choose a new young friend, it would be you–so anxious to “flip the coin” and enjoy life but at the same time, have some same qualities I own. I’ve always been for self-improvement and travel even though I don’t–doesn’t work out but I should do it anyway! As you age, you will be able to make quicker decisions as soon as you figure out what you really want. You should be proud of yourself for pursuing so many avenues. I would like to sit with you and have a drink with you to remind me what it’s like to be young and enthusiastic every day. I also would have gone into foods for a profession–in what degree–not sure, but truly love to eat–constantly dieting or I mean changing my lifestyle. “Ready to Flip a Coin” is a name so correct for you right now. I, too, have to feel like writing to do a good/truthful job. Blog on, Jen, I look forward to your youthful views! Say “Hi” to Elsie if you ever see each other. She is another favorite blogger of mine!

    • Tam,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I wish we were closer so we could get that drink.

      Hopefully we will meet again in person at All Write this summer.

  6. Jen, so glad to see your post and learn more about you through your Sunshine Nomination. I can totally identify with your book obsession. I think my WTR (want to read) shelves are outnumbering the books I’ve read shelves, but I always justify my obsession by picking up books at book sales and Half-Price Books (in addition to my local favorite indie bookstore). I’ve wondered about buying Essential Questions. Let me know what you think about it. Love the pic of the snow in front of your house!

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