Optimists versus Realists

November 7, 2018

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

During a recent conversation with my husband, in which we were disagreeing about IMG_6435.JPGsomething actually happening, he pointed out to me again that I am an optimist while he is a realist. Despite our differences, we have been able to overcome challenges and miscommunication to stay married for sixteen years. We even just finished a memoir depicting what we have learned from each other. Since we are so different, it is hard for some of our friends to fathom how we were able to work together on such a task. We did it with lots of patience and dedication to our common goal: get the book finished.

Due to our different outlooks, I decided it is okay to be both a optimist and a realist. In fact, combining the two is ideal to living a positive, fulfilling life. However, it is when you let negativity, stress, and resentment build inside of you that you become a pessimistic, disheartened person. This is something to overcome. If you work at it, you can find something positive in every negative situation.

As an optimistic person, I tend to live each day with the glass half full mentality. Forbes.com author, Carmen Gallo, states, “Optimists start businesses. An optimist sees opportunity where others see uncertainty and despair. When the economy is down like it is today and millions of people are out of work, the pessimist uses those factors as excuses to stay in place. The optimist refuses to let macro-economic trends impose hurdles on their imagination.”

Image result for traffic jam free imageI am not always a perfect optimistic, especially when it comes to dealing with my insatiable drive to be “perfect” at everything. Then again, I am more hopeful that there are always going to be chances to improve and to overcome my failures. The sun always rises and sets eachImage result for sunrise image free day; we have the opportunity to start over each day, even to improve ourselves, just by waking up with a positive outlook. Now there have been many  mornings that I have dreaded going to work or I have worried too much about an event I am involved with, but I constantly remind myself that I know I am going to be alright.

Groundhog DayI cannot help but think of the film Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray’s character has to repeat the same day until he learns to be grateful for others.

Pyschcentral.com author Jane Collingwood explains, “Optimism and pessimism operate on a continuum, of which the midpoint is realism. Realists explain events just as they are. Realistic optimists are cautiously hopeful of favorable outcomes, but they do as much as they can to obtain the desired results. The unrealistic believe it will all turn out well in the end, and do not do what is required to achieve that.”

Image result for optimism versus pessimism free image

Stella Stephanopou, further elaborates,

“Although it may be more challenging for some than for others, every person has the capacity to change the way they perceive their respective realities — in essence, to alter their thoughts and engage in cognitive reappraisal. Not every thought that exists in someone’s mind enters by choice — often, these negative thoughts can be intrusive, but the difference is that once they enter, the individual has the power to control them and become consciously aware of what they’re thinking and how they’re thinking about the scenario.”

Image result for mindfulness free imageThe fact that I have the power to change my way of thinking from negative to positive, even when I am frustrated while sitting in heavy traffic, seems far fetched to my naive mind. Before I started taking education classes and started talking to professional counselors, I would never have imagined how just finding something positive in the midst of the negative can change the way I respond to situations. All I have to do is remind myself that there is always a better way to react. I just have to take deep breaths, tap my fingers alternately one at a time, and visualize the possible outcomes. I can choose to stop and take a break in my thinking before I get upset with my daughter for not putting her laundry away or when my husband is frustrated with me because I am not ready when he has dinner on the table. I found this STOP Practice sign to help me remember by the Mindfulness NorthwestImage result for stop stop take a breath observe proceedorganization. I had a similar image posted in my classroom to help me remember to start each class period with a positive mindset.

Mindfulness Northwest also recommends a R.A.I.N. strategy:

“A powerful practice for re-assessing what’s happening when you feel triggered.

R = Recognize what’s happening – see if you can step out of the story line into the experience

A = Allow what’s happening to be happening – see if you can soften around any resistance to the experience

I = Investigate – what do you feel in the body, what are the emotional feelings, what’s churning in the mind

N = Non-Identification (or “Natural Awareness”) – can you let go of the urge to make this about you, to identify with it,”

(Article about RAIN by Tara Brach in Yoga Journal).”

I spent last spring practicing mindfulness and meditation. I used the CALM app, whichCalm - Meditate, Sleep, Relax offers a vast array of different meditation topics depending on your mode and activity. My time relaxing and focusing on my internal, physical self reinvigorated me to transformation. The more I practiced, the more it stuck in my mind. There are other ways, of course, to increase your optimism

Collingwood further emphasizes, “Discover the ways in which your past may be distorting your present. Doing this can transform your grip on the truth for the better. By far the greatest cause of the emotional disturbances that make us avoid reality is our childhood relationships with our parents. Surprisingly few people have an understanding of the true role they played in their family, let alone of the extent to which suffered early maltreatment.” Thus, we have emotional baggage from our childhood. Our parents did the best they could, but no parent is perfect. We just need to learn how to overcome our old hangups to proceed to a more virtuous live.

Image result for children parents free images

I do not think being a realist is all that bad, as long as you are also able to find positivity in stressful situations. I am a realist in part: I know that I cannot control how my students or my own children react to my directions. How I react to their reaction is completely under my control. My counselor friend, Connie B. says, “I am 100% responsible for my 50% of my relationship.” Meaning how my family responds to me is not my choice; my reaction to them is completely up to me.

There is nothing wrong with being pessimistic or a realistic, but remember, how you let your reactions drive your days makes you who you are and how others see you.

Check out the following self-help books on Amazon:

  1. Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti GawainI am currently reading this book and am loving it so far.
  2. Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You (Hardcover) by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Author), Jonny Sun (Illustrator)
  3. Go with the Flow: How the Great Master of Go Trained His Mind by Hunhyun Cho  (Author), Jungmin You (Translator)
  4. The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness Paperback by Richard Moss (Author)
  5. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron  (Author), Suzanne Stabile  (Author)

Please share other resources you may have found!

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Why I Vote

Why I Vote

By Janelle Stear

November 5, 2018

I vote because I know it is my right as a United States citizen. I need to do my part otherwise I have no right to complain about the negative events happening in our government right now.

As I watched The Today Show this morning, anchor Jacob Soboroff found out most Americans feel disconnected from the government. Watch the video at this link: 2018-midterm-elections-will-voters-turn-out-to-the-polls

Of course, the day before an election, the news channels are always talking the latest happenings for voters. What surprised me is an unspoken truth that a lot of younger voters see no point in voting. Soboroff asked a row of college students sitting at a bus stop in California who of them were going to vote tomorrow. No one out of the ten or so people raised their hands. Sad truth: yes one vote usually does not make a difference, but not voting shows you do not have a vested interest in your government. Choosing to vote is our American right. Choosing not to vote does not help anyone.

Psychology Today author, Dr. Louis Putterman, states, “The more people fail to vote, the belief that votes don’t matter becomes closer to a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

I voted early last week at our local election office. While I was there, a steady flow of other voters surrounded me. One lady who helped me register with my new address mentioned that they had had 900 voters visit the day before.

KTVB.com, my local NBC news channel reported last week, “There are 245,000 registered voters in the state. 43,000 of those have already cast ballots.” That is 18%, pretty good for a midterm election.

Those of us in Idaho voting early are not alone as CNN reports, “As of Monday morning, at least 31 million people have voted early nationwide, according to data collected by Catalist, a data company that works with Democrats and others, to compile counts of ballots cast before Election Day, either early in-person or by mail.”

Reasons People Do Not Vote

That is good news, but what about the other voters? Pew Research author Hannah Hartig reports from a recent survey, “About the same number of voters for whom it will be difficult (8%) say that participating in elections doesn’t matter all that much. Among these voters, 4% express a lack of trust in the candidates, or say their views were not effectively represented by either party’s viewpoints. Another 4% say that their vote would not change things much either way.”

Voting Apps for Social Media

Another issue with young voters is convenience, or lack thereof, in this case. Since most people utilize social media so some companies have actually come out with voting apps to share with friends and families. From the New York Post, author Natasha Singer, says, “Political science research has shown that people turn out to vote in higher numbers when they think their family and neighbors are observing their civic behavior. The VoteWithMe and OutVote apps simply automate that surveillance and social pressure.”

News Media Distrust

I remember watching the 1996 presidential coverage while I was babysitting. Clinton was re-elected over Bob Dole. This was a tight race, similar to the recent Trump versus Hillary Clinton race, with less bad mouthing and less fake news. I remember after I had put my young charges to bed, I sat in that family’s living room glued to the news channel as the updates for the votes kept coming in. There was a lot of tension felt by voters that year. It turned out this was also the year for polling failures. One news station had actually miscalculated votes early in favor of Clinton, which caused the beginning of distrust in the media. I did not fully understand the significance of the outcome in the race. At only seventeen, I could not vote yet, but in my government class we had been studying the race as well as previous elections. I felt an invigorated excitement at being able to make a difference with my own vote the next year.

Last year, with my sophomore students, we spent time discussing the significant, negative outcomes with fake news. We read an article about a reporter who admitted to creating false news about Trump. Aaron Blake from the Washington Post explains, “ A recent Princeton-led study of fake news consumption during the 2016 campaign found that false articles made up 2.6 percent of all hard-news articles late in the 2016 campaign, with the stories most often reaching intense partisans who probably were not persuadable.” Of course, my students were all angered at the fact that people will believe anything they read, which was the point of the lesson. Each one of us is susceptible to believing what we hear and see. We are human, and most of us want to believe everyone is truthful. I emphasized to my students the need to research before believing. As future voters, these young adults must remember how important it is to find facts before assuming truths.

Setting an Example

I also want my daughters to understand the importance of voting. Yes, they already have heard the controversy related to our current politics and often ask me what I think about our president. I try to explain as best as I can to them how important it is to vote even if you do not agree with what the politicians. We still need to do our part to vote.

I am watching tv and am inundated with campaigns. There are the mixed messages and the positive ones. One that I see is surprising. This individual says that he has been both Republican and Democrat in his years of service to this country, and that as a country we need to take a stand to do what is right, not what is popular. How refreshing after so many years of negative campaign advertisements. There is hope for our country. We just have to see it through and vote!

Do you Journal?

Journaling has always been important for me to not only practice my writing, but also, to pour out my daily experiences. This helps me settle my brain, like talking to my best friend thousands of miles away from me, only she is on the paper talking to me. I imagine Tom Riddle’s Diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry thinks he has found a new friend who communicates with him on the page; unbeknownst to him, he is chatting with one of the Dark Lord’s souls. Instead, my journal is a positive conversation with myself.

GratefulHeartJournalMy daily gratitude book serves as a reminder that my thoughts, problems, and situations are important. The Center for Journal Therapy describe the benefits of journaling as “the purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to further mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.” I picture myself as a lost, naive 12-year-old girl lying in my parent’s backyard under the cherry trees with all of my life before me and all of my dreams looming above me. I turn my imagination into poetry, into ramblings, into confessions. Reflecting and musing, my brain feels better. I face each day with hope for the future.

Since I just finished my faith testimony memoir, I pored through my old journals. Now as an adult looking through my adolescent mind, I can not help but wonder how I would have survived without my journal.

When I am feeling stressed, anxious, or reflective, I pull out my journal and write my heart on the blank page.

Last week, I had the privilege to go up to Tamarack Resort in the Idaho mountains for a dear friend’s wedding. I stayed with close friends and my husband at a comfortable cabin.

TamarackCabinView10-2018The glass doors from the living room through to the patio reinvigorated my soul at the tranquil scene. The rain fell on young aspens and tall pines, while we relaxed inside on the cozy furniture.

I had to pull out my journal and find words to describe the beauty before me:

Pit pat pitter patter… rain falls steadily on the rocks and trees. Golden leaves waving, falling, meeting the ground with the water, taking my breath away in wonder. The distant stone bridge holds steady amid the tall pines. A gray fog hides the rim of the mountain peak. I try not to shiver at the frigid air. I long to hold in this moment forever with the stone pillar, the rounded table, the barbecue circle, tall plants, wet hot tub cover. Too cold, I must retreat inside. I must relent to the warmth of the fireplace inside.  

Journaling is a comfort to me. By writing down my heart, I am able to record these precious moments forever.

When I began seeing a counselor two years ago for depression and anxiety, I had stopped writing in my journal, using the excuse that my job and family kept me too busy and too tired to write. My counselor told me that in order to heal, I must write down my history. I started with my earliest memories from preschool. I struggled because I wanted to record a linear timeline for my life. I was told that I needed to get over that mentality. The brain does not always remember in objective lines, rather subjectively when triggered through different memories at random moments. Once I realized this I was able to let my memories flow as they came to me. I wrote preschool to high school to elementary to college to junior high. We do not think in a logical order so we do not need to record our history logically. At the same time, by writing down my history, I was able to awaken my passion for writing. Now I have not stopped.

Journaling is good for the mind and the soul. I will never stop.

What about you? If you do not journal, what do you do to release your mind? 

P.S. If you click on any of the links in my blogs, you will be redirected to the product in Amazon.com. I am an Amazon.com Affiliate.

Depression Relief for Teenagers

 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “Approximately one out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly one third show symptoms of depression”. Out the 42 million adolescents in America, one in five with a mental health issue seems way to high. The Internet provides many resources for assistance with those already diagnosed, but why is this an epidemic in the first place? What are parents supposed to do to help our children?

Psychologists and Mental Health advocates provide two solutions for helping adolescents defeat depression: changes in eating habits and in lifestyle culture.

Depression Linked to Foods

A national debate about whether or not certain foods we eat may link to physical and mental illnesses continues to grow. Most psychologists agree that continually consuming anything with refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed food, hydrogenated oils, and high sodium do leads to depression, obesity, and certain cancers.  Pyschcentral.com explains, “A mound of research shows that what we consume goes right to our limbic systems, the emotional headquarters of our body.” If we eat badly, we feel badly. The effects just do not always show up right away, especially in children. If we want to better support our youth, we need to encourage them to eat wholesome, natural foods, such as:

  • Fresh vegetables (not canned) and fruits, like blueberries, avocados, and asparagus;
  • Lean, grilled meats, like turkey, ham, and salmon;
  • Whole grains (anything high in selenium);
  • Low sugar yogurts are also good sources of positive mental boosts for brain health.

Dr. Monique Tell with the Harvard Medical School, shares, “What it boils down to is that what we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health. Several recent research analyses looking at multiple studies support that there is a link between what one eats and our risk of depression”. When parents provide opportunities for good brain food, they are helping to prevent and support adolescents with depression.

External Lifestyle=High Risk Depression

Children will mimic their parents during their play; teenagers in the same way act according to the example from families and friends. When parents are overly busy with work, there is often little time for families to spend together. Thus, they often leave teenagers left to them selves. Sometimes they can be their own worst enemy without realizing it. Depression sneaks up like a cat stalking a mouse. Sometimes, teenagers are in trouble at school and with the law before parents have any inkling.

Amy Korb, the Behavioral Health Director at Recovery 4 Life organization in Southwest Idaho, notes, “The mental health field is certainly seeing more adolescents with depression and anxiety. I believe this is in part due to them getting caught up in the same culture as us adults, meaning caught up in the hustle and demand to perform with little time for self and balance, and little chance to put the break on, as we live in a ‘gas on’ all the time society.”

Developing Self Worth is Necessary and Possible

Whether teenagers are just starting to show symptoms of depression or they have been sunk in its claws for months, parents can help: the Mayo Clinic emphasis that “A strong parent-child relationship can help prevent depression”.

Korb continues, “We also culturally value things that provide external worth, such as praise for grades, performing well at sports, etc, giving much less attention to building internal worth. This contributes to these kiddos actually labeling themselves as failures when they struggle versus knowing internally they are valuable as a human being, and developing resiliency around challenges.”

Alternatively, parents can support them by modeling and promoting a positive self-image. Shift your family’s values from extrinsic to intrinsic in order to ensure you are creating a dynamic family culture, not one that reeks in depression.

The Mayo Clinic suggest the following for developing self worth with your teenagers:

  1. “Set aside time each day to talk
  2. Encourage your child to express his or her feelings
  3. Praise his or her strengths, whether it’s in academics, music, athletics, relationships or other areas
  4. Offer positive feedback when you notice positive behavior
  5. Respond to your child’s anger with calm reassurance rather than aggression.”

Remember, there is still time for teenagers to overcome depression. By simply changing eating habits and family culture, you can create a positive shift that is rooted in family mindfulness and togetherness.

For more information, visit these other informative links:

www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/

www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/parents-guide-to-teen-depression.htm

childmind.org/article/how-to-help-your-depressed-teenager/

suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Inspiration from Others

Where do you find your inspiration? Family, friends, music, books, movies, experiences, weather… I say all of the above. Inspiration like a muse hits me at random moments.

Image result for vincent van gogh starry night imagesLast year, my teacher friend, Rich, gifted me with a five foot, three panel room divider depicting a version of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” The back side of it, displayed, “Irises” also by Van Gogh.

Rich’s gift blew me away with its vibrancy in color and perfection. I instantly put the divider it in a corner of my classroom as inspiration for my students too. It fit perfectly between a window and the white board. At the other end of that wall, I also had a laminated poster of the real ““Starry Night”. In addition, I had a framed version painted by my dear, artistic mother-in-law, on top of my cupboards. I loved my Van Gogh theme.

The first few weeks of school, I had lots of students comment on my art, especially that divider. I smiled with pride at every compliment. I enjoyed looking up from my desk to stare at it to feel instantly calm. The piece further served as a reminder for my friendship with Rich and his thoughtfulness. We had gone through our certification and Master’s in Education program together. We had started teaching at the same time and had spent many an afternoon at different coffee shops, our laptops in front of us, and our conversation always flowing between assignments and music. Rich definitely helped me get through school.  His gift was a memento: with friendship, anything is possible. Friendship is a human vitality; the more we can connect with others, the more we can find our own inner strength.

Then, one day, I reconsidered the value of the Van Gogh room divider in my classroom. When I stood at the white board instructing my class, I thought twice about this gift in my room. There I stood conversing with my class about our daily objective, when another male student with dark wavy hair, grinned at me, raised his hand, and asked, “Did you hear that noise?” Startled and confused, I looked over at the panel and did not hear anything. Then all of a sudden, the other student jumped out at me. I screamed. The whole class laughed hysterically. The two students gave each other a high five. Then I was mad. Of course, I had to continue with the lesson. When I spoke with the students after class and warned them not to do anything like that again, they half-heartedly agreed not to, but they walked out of my classroom boasting to each other.

I had also noticed the top part of one of the divider pieces was tearing, either by a student maliciously messing with it, or by it getting knocked around when people walked past it. I also found trash (candy wrappers, used tissues, and broken pens) behind it. Enough was enough. I took my gift home.

Recently, I heard a remake of Don McLean’s‘s. song, “Vincent”, by Elle Goulding,. I did not remember hearing McLean’s song, but Goulding’s unique voice singing such meaningful lyrics blew me away. As she sings,

“Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.”  Ellie Goulding – Vincent

I find ironic inspiration at the coincidence of such a song and my own pleasure with Van Gogh’s work. I wish I could have written this song. The picturesque poetic descriptions visualize in my mind as I listen and stare at my own “Starry Night” poster. Plus, there is just something about the way Elle Goulding sings, not just because she sings about one of my favorite artists, but it is the intimate passion that she pours our with each word.

Author Eddie Nguyen describes Goulding’s voice as, “Raspy, but with soft edges (if that makes any sense)… Add to that, the emotion and authenticity (read: dBright Lights (Lights Re-pack / Bonus Version)own-to-earthiness) that can only come from a true artist who writes/sings her own music, based on her personal experiences (as opposed to industry-spawned pop-artists), and you may get a voice with the ability, for some, to disarm and cut deep.”

Nyugen’s description remains the best way to describe such a phenomenal musician. I have been trying to find such words, but had previously failed. I definitely picture myself in a nightclub beside my husband hearing Goulding serenade us as we sip on sweet intoxicants and hold hands beneath a dim lamp. I picture myself with a notepad, creating my own poetic ramblings about love and art, with fiery excitement. Perhaps such an artist as Goulding will sing my own song someday.

Between the artist’s work, a friend’s gift, and a memorable song, inspiration fills my soul. My passion to describe my depth of feelings pours out more freely because of such experiences.

Starry Eyed lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit /Global Talent Music
Janelle Stear’s Creative Words is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Delta Kappa Gamma Collaboration Reflection

Delta Kappa Gamma- International Society for Key Women Educators

I am a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG). My mother and mother in law have been members for a long time. They were both excited when I became a teacher and could join them. They enjoy the organization because it provides them an outlet for gathering with teacher friends to discuss issues with education. They also like that they can make connections with other members from around the state, such as at the annual Alpha Nu State Convention every June, and at the different events where we have guest speakers to inform us about community happenings.

During this most recent convention, held in Boise, I stayed with my moms at the Holiday Inn Express. I thoroughly enjoyed being away from home for a few days as though I were at a women’s retreat far up in the mountains. I enjoyed the comfort of the modern decor, comfortable couches, and clean rooms with the addition of familiar faces.

At the convention, I was met with friendly smiles and inspirational talks from notable individuals.  Our first morning, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter came to welcome us to the city of trees. He said he is partial to educators not just because three of his siblings are teachers, but he understands the importance of educating future generations to be responsible, contributing members of society. Bieter told us, “Teaching is not for the feint of heart, not like I have to tell you,… [you are constantly looking for] ways to keep pushing forward to better your profession.” Bieter hit the nail on the wall, as DGK members are exactly trying to keep moving forward to find innovative ways to meet students’ needs. I appreciated his sincerity, especially as he acknowledged us with “Thank you for the ways you’ve approached this organization.” I felt honored that Mayor Bieter took time to come and see us. I know that he more than any other politician does understand the hard work we put into our profession. It is also notable that he understands that DKG is a reputable organization with members who will not stop trying to make education better for students

What I love about DKG is that women educators from all years of experience, current and retired, from all grades and contents, can gather together with a united purpose to improve our profession. DKG also sponsors first year teachers, like me a few years ago, and raises funds for local charities, like the Idaho Food Bank’s Backpack Program for students. Additionally, we get to participate in continued professional development. At each year’s conventions, we have different speakers from various organizations who come and share information. I was able to write up a summary for each speaker and turn it in for one credit. Super easy! Plus I enjoyed listening to the speakers; Dr. Angella Hemingway, the Governor’s Director STEM Action Center, revealed the growing lack of women in STEM careers and gave suggestions for how to encourage young girls to be interested in STEM careers.

From the many speakers at the convention, I further believe that collaboration with colleagues is so vital to any profession. As an educator, I know I would not survive without a team of teachers at my side. I enjoy being able to problem solve with my colleagues especially. Plus, my colleagues just kept me sane with their sense of humor and unique perspectives on situations.

The third to last week of school, I had run into a problem with my lessons (I did not have any time to finish the unit). I talked it through with my good friend Rich M. who gave me the idea to show a short story video that related to the theme we were discussing. Then students could just do a quick write comparing the video to the text they had read. This was just one day instead of a week like I usually did after reading the text before writing the final essay. This little mini lesson Rich and I came up with also broke up the routine of reading and writing. We were able to do some discussions that helped to connect the theme to their world. This further provided a smoother transition for the last essay. I was so thankful to Rich for working through this with me.

Now with information I learned from the convention, I was further able to network with other educators about this time of transformation I find myself in. I met Dr. Janet Worthington, who delighted us with a reenactment of Minnie Pearl for one session. She showed me how important it is to remember the influential figures of our past to help us with our present. Minnie Pearl was an entertainer on the Grand Ole Oprey show for fifty years. Her legacy reminds us to use humor with our everyday circumstances. Dr. Worthington talked to me personally about how I can use my writing to help educators. I can write about educational concerns in my blog, I can contact state legislators, I can be part of the initiative to help make Idaho Education more valued in the state house. Dr. Worthington would love to help me find more connections from her own wide network. Even though she is retired, she has currently been teaching part time technical writing classes at BSU and assisting students with their own personal writing. I am excited at the connection I have found in Dr. Worthington.

At the monthly DKG meetings and state convention, I am appreciative of the friends I have made, even though they will always be my mom’s friends first. I feel a part of the organization. This next year I will have a role to initiate the new members. I like having an active part in what ever I am doing and this new role will be minimal enough for me to still stay active besides just attending meetings. At the end of a long day at school, I am glad to be able to go see Lynn, Shirley, Crystal, Sharon, Mom… and find some new perspective on an educational related topic. One day we had a police officer visit us to talk about safety on the roads; another day, we had a gal come to share information about a horse therapy business for children with disabilities. All of these visitors have shown me how awesome it is that there are so many avenues for education.

Regardless of how many parent emails I had to send, or how many times I had to remind certain students to stay on task with their work each day, going to DKG is a positive outlet. All of the ladies understand what I am going through. They have welcomed me into their organization with friendly smiles, warm hearts, and genuine concern about how to improve the education system, which are the traits of DKG I value most.