sunsets

Why Sunsets Are So Special

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Sunsets.  Colourful bands of light mesmerizing us with striking beauty.  If only we could slow down and truly enjoy the ending of a day gazing at the setting sun until it disappears beyond the horizon.   I can easily do that on vacation, but at home, when life is hectic, it is really difficult to just stop in awe and take it all in.  I live in a small farming community in British Columbia, Canada.  We have some of the most beautiful sunsets!  (Two of which are featured on this post.)

Thankfully, I have a new connection to sunsets.  My Mom passed away almost 2 1/2 years ago now.  One of her favourite things in nature was a sunset.  When the rays of light streamed through the clouds she would always say, “It’s like the coming of the Lord.”  To which we all smiled and giggled.  But to her, it was meaningful.

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Today when I see a sunset, my heart is immediately warmed and I feel a loving connection to my Mom.  Ever since she left this earth, I appreciate and am grateful for each and every sunset.  My heart string that is connected to hers gets an unwavering and enormous tug.  I love you, Mom.

Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.”

The little things

Finding beauty in the little things

Life is busy.  We rush around thinking about what’s next on our to do list, what we’re going to make for dinner or who we have to email/text a reply to.  This past week, I noticed two things that made me stop and appreciate the little things.  As I pulled in my driveway one day after work, I noticed a beautiful daffodil glowing in the warmth of the sun.  It wasn’t nestled comfortably in a garden surrounded by other annuals revealing their colours and joy.  This pretty pop of Spring was in a ditch across the street from my house.  My eyes were immediately drawn to this pale yellow object and as I approached it, it’s simple beauty spoke to me.  A single daffodil growing independently in a spot no one would expect.  I was grateful for that daffodil.  It’s unexpected presence made me smile and brightened my spirit.

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The next day, again as I drove into my driveway after work, I got out of my vehicle and my eyes were drawn to a busy bumblebee gathering pollen from a dandelion flower.  I grabbed my phone to take a picture as it busily went about it’s work.  I was encouraged by this natural, little phenomenon.  It reminded me for the second time that week to pause and enjoy the little things around me that might be overlooked because im so busy buzzing around like a bumblebee tending to daily life.

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So what I’ve been reminded of through all of this is to slow down and be observant of the little things around me.  You never know what you might be missing!

gratitude

Gratitude in your Classroom

Gratitude is an important concept for kids to learn.  Being grateful for things that don’t cost money or aren’t material possessions can be quite difficult for students to grasp.  This is the second year I have done gratitude journals in my classroom.  They are proving to be so valuable.  I can see how my students have grown and become more aware of all the little things that they can be grateful for.  We have these great mini-binders from Staples that we use as our journals.  The bonus is that you can reuse them every year.  I just send the personal pages from each binder home at the end of each year with each of my students.  Here is what the binder looks like…

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Here are a few examples of what they have written…

 

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Their gratitude has become deeper than simply “I’m grateful for my family” or “I’m grateful for school” (even though those are awesome things to be grateful for).

This year I also added a weekly, whole class gratitude.  We reflect on the week and decide what we were most grateful for.  Once we agree on something, a student writes it on a piece of paper and puts it in the “gratitude box”.

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At the end of the year, it will be fun to read all the weekly gratitudes together and enjoy all the positives that the past year included.

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Parents appreciate the fact that their children are being mindful of all the things they can be grateful for.  It is an activity we do at least 3 times a week and my hope is that the happiness and positivity that come out of writing in these journals will encourage my students to continue having a heart of gratitude through the years.

I personally write in gratitude journal at home every day.  I know it helps ground me and focus on the good…even on those tough, tiring days we all sometimes experience.  Gratitude changes everything!