Summer of Intentionality

Dear Friend,


Just saying the word elicits a certain feeling.

Though I loved school so much that I became a teacher, I have always wholeheartedly welcomed summer. There is just something about the possibility of summer, the way its days are a blank canvas to mold into what you most want, what you most need. But for too many summers, my excitement about what might be possible in a summer was never fully realized.

Then, in 1995, I learned a powerful tool that changed how I approached summers and how I am hoping to help my son approach summers. Like several summers before (and many after), I was working at a holistic residential summer enrichment program for high school students called Love of Learning. The program always began with a very intense, often emotional staff retreat to help us form bonds and make plans that would enrich our work.

Usually, the retreat included the writing of personal mission statements and manifestos (and thus my belief in the power of both was born), exercises meant to help us capture our values and gifts in a way that would allow them to be our guide as we did our work. These sessions were the highlight of the retreat for me, always making me feel inspired not just by my own statements but awed by those of my co-workers.

One of my closest co-workers was a dear friend who was a year behind me in school. This particular year, he included part of Rudyard Kipling’s If poem in his statement and my mouth rounded into awe as he added the words from the top of his head while we worked together in the corner, a pile of candy between us.

“Dude, how did you know that?” I asked, impressed.

And that’s when he shared about the coolest parenting strategy I’ve ever heard.

Every summer that he was growing up, his parents sat him down and said, “what all do you want to do this summer?” And he would come up with this super list:

go to the local amusement park

check out a pro or semi-pro baseball game

have a friend spend the night

camp out

go to the beach

go fishing

 Basically, the stuff of summer dreams.

 Then they said, “what do you want to learn or experience this summer” and that list would read like:

learn how to throw a football spiral

identify 5 insects

write Grandma three times

read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, etc.

 Then his parents would add their own things to the learn or experience list like:

Memorize Rudyard Kipling’s If

Volunteer, etc.

 Next, they’d line up each experience with a reward.

 Write your grandma three times, you can go camping.

 Memorize Kipling’s If and you get to go to a baseball game.

 And so on.

Those lists hit the refrigerator and then it was up to my friend, by being intentional about how he spent his time, to make things happen. If he did what was on the “to experience” list, he earned what was on the ”to do” list.

Hence, more than a decade later, he still had If (a great poem for a kid to know) in his head.

Intentionality matters. Needless to say, the idea of capturing what I wanted to do and experience over the summer- a master to do list if you will- thrilled the girl who always kept a day to day to do list.

Now, my family has our own version of this tradition that we call Summer of Intentionality. During Memorial Day weekend, we sit down and brainstorm a master list of things we want to do over the course of the summer as a family and things we think are great for our son to try or do (like learning how to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich or going through his toys and donating some). While we’re at it, I make my own personal list that includes some fun things that I want to do and some bigger work to dos that I’ve been dreaming about getting off the ground but that my teaching schedule prohibits during the school year. When we’re done, we transfer the lists onto butcher paper and hang them prominently in our home. As each item gets completed, we cross them off our lists. For items with multiple parts (like read 100 books), we keep track of them in a journal until we’ve completed them and then check them off the master list. These master lists work whether or not you have kids and no matter your kids’ ages. As Happy gets older (I am thinking either the summer after Kindergarten or the summer after First Grade), we will likely move to the “earn your adventure” approach.

Today, I want to encourage you to create your own Summer of Intentionality dream list for you or your whole family.

What do you want to learn, do, experience, enjoy?

Capture all your wishes, make plans, and then get started having a summer that lives up to your hopes with the caveat that not necessarily every single thing will be crossed off the list, but you are far less likely to get to the end of summer and think, “I wish I had made better use of my time.”

We would love to hear from you. How will you be spending your summer? Leave a comment and let us know about your summer plans.

And as always, if you have questions for us, please let us know.

With much adoration,

 Rosie (and Tami)

 PS – If this message resonates with you, please let us know what spoke to you. If you know someone who might like it, please forward it to a friend.

summer of

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7 Self-Care Tips to Get You Through The End of the School Year

It’s right there. The light is at the end of the tunnel. The finish line. The end of the school year is coming!

And with it a lot of additional stress from last minute grading, report cards, Open House, field trips and all the other time consuming business of wrapping up another school year.

It would be so easy to just power through and ignore the fact that, despite your good intentions, you haven’t exercised in weeks and you are eating lots of sugary treats in the staff room to fuel your over-filled life. We know. We’ve been there.

But we also know it doesn’t really work if you want to feel good mentally, physically and emotionally.

Instead we offer an alternative to business as usual.
7 self care tips for end of the school year

Self-Care Tip #1

Ditch the soda and coffee and replace it with lots of plain water.

A lot of times we think we are tired and hungry, but really our body needs water. Next time you are feeling sluggish or hungry grab some water and see if it doesn’t perk you up.

Self-Care Tip #2

Take 10 for 10.

As in 10 minutes of guided meditation for 10 days. It sounds counter intuitive to spend time meditating instead of working, but trust us, it works!

Headspace offers a FREE 10 day meditation program. Tami did it last summer and is still with the program 9 months later. With LOTS more space in her head. And life.

Self-Care Tip #3

Use the buddy system.

Make a pact with a colleague to do one hour a day of personal time. Maybe you do a yoga class or hit up the gym. Or instead you read for pleasure in the tub. Just make sure you have an accountability partner to keep you honest!

Self-Care Tip #4

Go outside.

Nature heals. Maybe it is a walk on the grass bare foot for a few minutes or a half day hike with your family on the weekend. Just get outside and let nature do its work.

Self-Care Tip #5

Turn in upside down. You can even do it with friends.

Check out this post from Tami about how to make it through the day without more coffee or trip to the vending machine.

Self-Care Tip #6

Stop thinking self-care takes a lot of time.

Check out this post from Tami on how to use a timer to take better care of yourself.

Self-Care Tip #7

Drop one thing.

Instead of trying to keep every single commitment when clearly you are up to your eyebrows and totally stressed the limit, drop one thing.

Rosie shows you how in her post Drop One Thing.

We hope you find these tips helpful and easy to implement. 

Please hit reply and let us know how the end of your year is going.

With much adoration,

Tami and Rosie

PS – If this message resonates with you, please let us know what spoke to you. If you know someone who might like it, please forward it to a friend.

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5 Tips For Managing Expectations

managing expectations

The following is an excerpt from Rosie’s post entitled, The Most Confining Expectations Are Our Own…

Lately, what I have been doing is having conversations with lots of people with whom I work or love about their expectations of themselves.  Because, boy, do we expect a lot of ourselves.  We expect ourselves to do everything perfectly.  The first time. And to do it all efficiently, effortlessly.

And I see myself in those people because I have been there, and it makes me panic for these people whom I so admire and for whom I want the best.  Because I don’t want the reason why life is hard and joyless to be them.  I know what it is like to take myself and everything I do so damn seriously and to feel that everything is so darn urgent that pleasure and satisfaction disappear.  I also know that being held hostage by your standards is no way to live, because you are always waiting– waiting for the other shoe to drop or for breathing room to appear.  And the truth is that you have to create the breathing room in your mind and approach because life is always going to be full, it is always going to be brimming, it is always going to ask for more.

Given that our expectations can be the very thing that sabotage us, here are five starter steps to managing- your own and other people’s- expectations.

Click here for the 5 Tips for Managing Expectations.

Do you struggle with managing your own expectations?  When does that come up for you?  How do you manage them?

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Understanding Self-Acceptance

self acceptance

You have to love yourself.

Women hear this adage and they panic.

“But love is so big, so total, so absolute,” we think.  ”And sometimes I don’t really like what I did or what I look like. Doesn’t self-love just give me a way to let myself off the hook over and over again?”


To get the full post click over to Rosie’s post.

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It Comes Down To This

comes down to this

What if I told you that you could only hang out with one friend for the rest of your life?

One friend is all you get to see you through everything—the birth cries and the death cries, the celebrations and the losses, the laughter and the tears.

One friend.

Choose carefully.

And, now, what if I change your understanding of both the rules and the reality of this situation.

What if I tell you that this is really true? Not just a game or a fun dinner time “answer this question” type deal.  There really will be just one person that walks alongside you throughout your whole life.  There is going to be one person there for everything.   And she has already been chosen.

She is you.

Do you treat yourself as well as that friend you chose?  Do you give yourself as much self-respect and patience and care as that friend gives you, as you give that friend?

Do you matter to you as much as much you matter to that friend?

Because the truth is—and, look, I know this is a hard truth, I know it is an uncomfortable truth but both those things do not make this any less true- that, in the end, you will be all that you’ve got.  But way before that, even, you are the only one who is alway with you.  You are the most immediate person you’ve got.

And you should have your own back.

You should believe in you, respect you, care for you, treat yourself well.

You should matter to you.

Because, really, what could be worse than spending the rest of your life with a bully, a mean girl, a troll, an insensitive or disrespectful drag?

I really can’t think of anything.

So, I want you to realize that you are all that you’ve got in any given moment, in every given moment.  Let the truth of that shift something in you.  Let it bring you home.  To you.

We don’t have the kind of time left to keep being mean to ourselves.

We don’t have armored souls that make those barbs not matter.

We don’t have the luxury of doing the type of damage in minutes that will take years, decades, a lifetime to undo.

What we have are these beautiful spirits, longing to be free.  And they can’t be free- really free- until they know that they will be safe in the world.

Make your soul that promise.  Welcome its authenticity into the world.  And then relish in it, make up for lost time, and move forward inspired by your newfound loyalty and reverence.

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Orginally posted at

Are You Afraid to Add One More Thing?


Have you read through all The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher materials and thought, “YES, you are talking about me! I want to be healthier, happier and saner.”


Is something else holding you back from pressing the registration button?

Is that something the little voice in your head saying you just can’t add one more thing to your already jam-packed life?

Is that voice saying to just hold on?

Is that voice saying things will get better if you just keep doing what you have already done?

Here’s the thing, friends. It’s not going to get better. Not unless you do something different from what you’ve done before.

We get it. We kept hoping things would get better on their own too. That if we just held on and worked harder, things would get better. But the reality is nothing got better until we did things differently.

We’d like to share what we’ve learned with you. So you can do things differently.

The idea behind The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher is that with a bit of a time investment up front, your schedule – YOUR LIFE – will feel less overwhelming.

In the same way that long-term – semester or whole year – planning can help guide your academic year with your students, HHST can help you find the you-time during the busiest time of the year.


Just that – long-term planning.

The reality is taking time at the beginning of the year to plan for your health, happiness and sanity can help create a healthier, happier, saner school year and LIFE.

Here’s your chance to change how your school year goes, to start and END the year with enthusiasm and energy. To feel healthy, happy and sane.

Let’s talk logistics of the program.

  • Once a week phone calls: 60 minutes. The call time doesn’t work for you? That’s ok! We’ll send you the recordings the following day for you to listen when it works for you. Maybe you listen on your morning walk, on your drive to school or on your prep. It’s up to you.
  • The calls are designed to be fairly philosophical (why we think doing X is important given our experience, the research) and instructive (how to use the tool, what the shades of grey might be with it, and the possible outcomes) and so, while they are live, it is not the discussion that drives them which makes listening live not imperative.
  • A weekly playbook that arrives in your inbox on Fridays, letting your read them and do the simple but impactful Healthy, Happy, and Sane assignments over the weekend.   Many of the exercises take less than 20 minutes.  Some can even be done at school or even worked out in your mind during your commute!  All of them are designed to be manageable while creating room in your life.   

The bottom line is nothing is going to get better unless you do something differently and it would be our honor to work with you if you would like support in making it easier.

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woman on rocks alter

Find Your Passion And Make Peace With Your Body


In addition to being a speaker, author and workshop/retreat leader, Rosie teaches body image courses at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Here is an excerpt from her post entitled: Getting to Body Peace


The time: Monday morning.  The scene: my closet.  The problem: what to wear to be on television. The challenge: the transition in weather makes me not want to wear long pants and a long sleeve jacket (my fall and winter professional wardrobe) but my spring wardrobe doesn’t really have anything that’s appropriate for television.   The result: one suit, six pairs of pants, and one dress strewn across the closet floor.

After the television segment (where I decided on a flowy, bright colored tunic that I normally wear with blue jeans but instead ultimately wore with black slacks to be more professional), one of the interviewers asked if I was totally fine with my body.

Cue: closet scene.

Click here to read more about how Rosie found her passion and came to peace with her body.

Are you at peace with your body? Do you find yourself worrying about how you look more than you would like? Let us know your thought in the comments section of this post.

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Image Source: Print of Original Ink Drawing Love Illustration Hedgehog Flower Woodland Decor Black & White 5×7 by mikaart on Etsy

Beginning of the School Year Stress: Optional or Mandatory?

At the beginning of Tami’s quest to find the joy in teaching, she went back to school and studied to be a yoga teacher. She figured if nothing else, she could find some inner peace by spending a lot of time on her yoga mat.

She found a whole lot more.

As these things happen, her rigorous yoga teacher training coincided with the beginning of the academic school year and the very long year with a very difficult class. Talk about conflict and stress!

In her post entitled, I Teach, Therefore I Suffer, Tami explores the learning process and holding expectations lightly while simultaneously trying to let go of her über controlling ways.

Just how does one have expectations of themselves as teachers and for their students without getting too caught up in the outcomes?

beginning of the school year stress

So this brings us to the question at hand: Is beginning of the school year stress inevitable? Have you found ways to transition from the relative ease of summer to the rigors of a demanding classroom? 

Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

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Image source: Teachers by iwannt on Flickr (cc)

Road Map For Resilience: 8 Steps to Help Get You Back On Track

A reader asked Rosie recently:

How does one build resilience in herself?

How does she exercise it?  

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the word resilience.

 lined paper

Back in the fall of 2010, Rosie’s dad experienced some serious health issues that changed her family’s lives. Unexpected complications left everyone at the brink emotionally and through this series of events she she discovered eight steps that helped get her back on track.

In her post Road Map to Resilience, she tells the story and how she discovered those eight steps that helped get her back on track.

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling physically, mentally and emotionally at your end, you will want to check out the post in its entirety.

Click here for the 8 Steps to Help Get You Back on Track.


What is on your road map for building resilience?  What have you heard learned through difficult challenges or periods of resilience?

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Image Source:

Half way looking at the road map by Kitty Terwolbeck on Flickr (cc)

lined paper by Erica Hargreave on Flickr (cc)