The Bridge Between Theory and Practice

It’s been wonderful and fascinating–and frustrating–to be based out of the globally-recognized research facility, Utrecht University.

Utrecht University

I’m positioned in the Martinus J. Langeveldgebouw (The Langeveld Building) which houses CAS (Child and Adolescent Studies); in less than a month I’ll be giving a keynote address to the professors, PhD candidates and more about the work I’ve been doing. It’s an intimidating audience. Here’s why:

I’ve been walking this new line between researcher and practitioner since I’ve been here in Utrecht. Mostly, people have been confused: researchers in the halls have asked how my numbers and data sets are coming along (I don’t have them–except the numbers of listeners of the podcast) and teachers I’ve visited wonder how my classes are going (which is when I tell them that I’m just trying to interview individual students). I admire both points of view. The researcher, the people with whom I share the Langeveldgebouw, studies the data and reports on it. That’s all. She will write what the numbers tell her. Often, they are inconclusive. Even seemingly concrete findings, they are forced to admit, depend on many variables. So, if a practitioner reads a research report, it will certainly read that while one researched idea seems to be true, it also depends on a number of variables. Research, it seems, rarely ends in friendly and easy how-to instructions.

The practitioner is stuck in the trenches, too-often ignoring the new research. Sure, the practitioner claims there is no time (and, perhaps, that’s true–perhaps a systemic change is needed to allow [or force] the practitioner to keep reading research), but reading the researcher’s work is vital to the growth of our profession–and, of course, benefits the students. I know this problem very well. Since finishing my Master’s degree in education ten years ago, my attention to research has had to be very intentional. I could go my entire career–easily–without paying attention to new research, only accept the district-provided professional development.

So, the aim of my upcoming keynote is to communicate what both sides need.

  • The researcher must aim toward clear and concise recommendations. The practitioner, I think, will only pay attention if it’s practical and if it’s direct. It’s fine to admit that the recommendation has flaws, but it’s important to be clear when there is enough research to call it a recommendation. Sitting on the fence, to point out that there are many disadvantages as well as advantages to a decision, doesn’t end up getting us  much practical change. It makes the practitioner hesitant to adapt.
  • The practitioner must be ready to change and review. It’s critical to consider that all of our choices are temporary, that best practice is always changing based on the evidence and recommendations found by the researcher. Then, after implementing a new idea, we must be open to rigorous review. We must constantly ask this: “Is it working?” And, if it’s not, we must change again. If it is, we must share our successes with other practitioners.

Here’s the crux: time.

I know teachers. I know they’re already swamped with planning/teaching/assessing curriculum and running extracurriculars groups.

I know researchers. They’re conducting research and writing grants and supervising PhD candidates.

Time stands in the way. It’s grants like this Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching that allows me, I hope, to be a bridge–through the upcoming keynote–where I will have the opportunity to tell researchers what practitioners need. Then, when I get back to West Michigan, I’ll look to share with teachers the need to keep reading research to hone our practice.

Both researchers and practitioners are critical: without the other, neither can be effective.

The Photos Aren’t the WHOLE Story

Over the almost two months of living in the Netherlands, Nikki and I have posted hundreds of pictures to Facebook and Instagram, showing smiling faces and delicious half-eaten stroopwaffels. We have seen Gothic cathedral after Gothic cathedral. They’re gorgeous. The train rides demand smiles. We’re having a great time.

But, it’s not all perfect. I just don’t know how to take pictures of our struggle. Even if I could, I likely wouldn’t want to post them. It would be a lie, though, to say we don’t have any struggle. How does one capture the struggle in order to be entirely honest about the experience? For me, I need to use words.

  1. We’re asking a lot of the girls.
    • We have asked them to re-think school. Moving from a facility in which they are supported by adults and peers alike in Spring Lake Public Schools, they now have to rely on a screen and their own drive. Sure, there is a lot of benefit to self-reliance, but it can be draining and, well, no fun. It’s so much more fun to see their friends in school. It’s so nice to raise a hand to ask a question and be guided to the answer. Here, questions have to go to a mom and dad who, from time-to-time, end up feeling “stupid” that we don’t know the answer to a 9th grade question; therefore, our responses can be short, a little snippy. Of course, that doesn’t help the initial frustration at not knowing the answer, but it is what it is. It takes some deep breathing (sometimes, walking away) to regain composure and get on with finding the answer to the problem.
    • We’ve asked them to find friends. Of course, language is a bit of a barrier, but so is the time itself. We’re already two months in. At this point, when we push the girls to make a friendship, we’re also having to admit that we’ll only be here for another four months. Certainly, we adults can understand the value of friends no matter how long the connection, but I think it ends up a bit more challenging finding the value when the friendship seems like it will be short. Still, Nia is on a basketball team. Each time practice rolls around, it gets a little easier. Ellie is in pole vaulting class and, while there are no girls in the lessons, she’s around people her own age. Kaiya and Ellie, thankfully, have now been with two other American girls living here in Utrecht. They’re very nice and they’ve been together a few times and have started a real connection. Though it takes intention, the value of making friends is becoming more clear to the girls. But it’s NOT easy to transition from childhood friends–friends they’ve had since they could say the word ‘friends’–to being forced into a position of making brand new friends quickly.
  2. We’re asking a lot of each other.
    • My speed is to go, go, go–as if I’m on a vacation at all times. Nikki will then, appropriately, remind me that the girls need structure to their lives–the Netherlands, included. She has to constantly remind me that downtime is okay, desired even. By getting downtime, our very active times can be more enjoyable. When I slow down enough to appreciate the concept of slowing down, I know it’s true, but I have such a hard time remembering it in the moment: so much so, that I can get upset that we’re not moving around enough–that we’re not to the train earlier or that we’re not speeding through school to get out to the park. This has caused a few huffs, a few rolls of the eye. We have had to communicate our way through all of this. Two months after arrival, I’d say it’s happening less frequently, but still happening.
  3. We’re asking a lot of our pocketbooks.
    • Money is stressful. This is true for us at home and it continues to be true for us here in the Netherlands. Nikki and I did our work before leaving, even supplementing the generous Fulbright grant with other generous local grants and gifts, but it’s still stressful to live and experience another culture–especially knowing that there is an end to the experience. Traveling the places, eating the foods, experiencing the events will NEVER be less expensive than it is right now, living in the country, but it would be a lie to say it’s cheap. So–that leads to tough conversations about “museum versus trampoline park” or “weekend away in Belgium versus a Saturday in Rotterdam”. Please don’t get me wrong: we KNOW our fortune at these decisions. We know our fortune of being who we are and where we are, but the truth of our experience remains: we are in this constant conversation about the value of an experience and how much it costs to have that experience. That’s–well–stressful.

All of this demands great conversation. I’m pleased to say that, while not perfect, it is a strong suit of our family. It’s something, though, that we need to keep working on throughout our time here. This experience is shining a light on gaps in our communication which the routine of our Spring Lake life covered up. In the long run, Nikki and I know that noticing those gaps, those speedbumps in the ease of life, is better than ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist.

What we’re doing is WONDERFUL. The Facebook and Instagram photos are not lies. The happiness you see is REAL. The joy is REAL. But they’re not full truths, either. Certainly, this is the case for every person in every setting, but it was time to come clean with the truth: this kind of change to normalcy is tough in occasionally unsettling and frequently wonderful ways.

Family Pic

The Value of Museums

I’ve been reminded of the value of museums while being here in the Netherlands. For just 60€ for adults and 35€ for adolescents (and free for ages 0-11), we have been able to secure Museumkaarts which allow us access to over 400 museums country-wide. These museums have been a centerpiece of our experiences.

Of course, museums allow us a glimpse of a time long ago. Rembrandt gives us a glimpse of medicine.

Vermeer lets us into the mysteries of someone in a different socioeconomic status.


Excavation sites beneath the Dom Tower show us what the city center of Utrecht might have looked like in 1245 A.D.


But, to me, museums’ real power is when they force us to confront the world AS IT IS, not how it used to be, and I’ve been privileged to experience those museums as well.

A week ago, I traveled south to Maastricht to meet Susan Leurs, an artist with an exhibit on people around the country who have been bullied. With her brilliantly-shot photographs, she shows a pureness of people, a stripped-down and vulnerable version. That vulnerability, though, shows real power. In these photos, we can see the pain and the victory of overcoming–for those who have. (You’ll hear a Share Chair Podcast interview with Susan in the coming weeks.)

While in Maastricht, I also ended up at a photography museum where the exhibit was given to a famous Dutch photographer, showing his wide range over a 50-year career. While he shot nature and portraits, he also focused on showing human tragedy: the grueling work conditions which give us our clothes as well as the horrors of 9/11 as he was the only professional Dutch photographer there on that fateful day. (He was scheduled for a photoshoot at one of the Twin Towers later that afternoon.) This particular exhibit showed him revisiting his now-famous photos ten years later, first shooting the horror in 2001 and then re-shooting in 2011.

Additionally, while in den Haag, I visited the Humanity House, a museum dedicated to the harrowing journeys of refugees fleeing their home countries to eventually land in the Netherlands. After going through a re-make of the journey, from safe home in Syria to chaos in Syria to the long and exhausting journey to the Netherlands to all of the required paper work, the museum forces the participant to really feel the experience–even if just for an hour. As a matter of fact, at the end of the museum, there is an experience to read a half dozen journeys of people now in the Netherlands: journeys from a war-torn country, journeys from extreme poverty, journeys from torture and sexual misconduct.

With these contemporary museums, I find myself questioning my work. How can my little podcast make an impact on these massive challenges facing our world? Does it really matter, what I’m doing?

And that’s when I turn to a young woman to pick me up:

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank

With Anne Frank’s presence alive and well throughout the Netherlands (I travel past a memorial statue of her here in Utrecht every other day), I’m reminded that all I can do is work on my corner of the world, to make positive change–one story at a time.

The Share Chair Podcast

What’s Bad for the Waist is Good for the Work

It turns out that an appropriately-placed cheese board, a perfectly-timed coffee and croissant, or a joyfully-poured beer can go a long way for my work with connecting to teachers and students.



It turns out that a full meal, a real sit-down meal with neighbors can go a long way with contacts to local schools. In our first week here, we were both invited to homes and we invited others to our home for various cheeses, full snacks, and even a traditional Dutch stamppot. From here, the inevitable conversation of “What are you doing here, anyway?” comes up and it allows me to speak about the need to speak to secondary school students. Just like that–I walk away with emails: emails of directors, of teachers, even of parents of teens who “might be perfect” for my work.


It turns out that mentioning kibbeling (Dutch fried fish) at the staff lunch table or buying said table a Tony’s Chocolonely bar can go a long way in gaining access to new ideas. Seriously, I didn’t bring this up for access; it just kind of happens. Around food, there is conversation. After mentioning the kibbeling, people started discussing other foods I have to try which led to where to find such foods which reminded someone of a school in Delft I should visit. And with Tony’s? Well, it just so happened that one professor, in the middle of snapping off her piece, invited me to her next lecture on adolescents and media. Snacks, I thank you.


The bike ride to campus, though important for most days, is still thirty minutes and there are times where that’s just too far in the wet weather of the Netherlands in January. So, I find myself at cafes and terrific work gets done there. I zone in on the computer screen like all of the students around me (my favorite cafe is the one in the city center campus–about a five-minute bike ride from my house). The atmosphere is right to get things done. Finally, when the work is all done, a celebratory beer can help. So far, the Dutch cohort has found ourselves to a few such celebrations where we discuss the work we’ve been doing and the various collaborations we’ve had around the Netherlands. Their conversations inspire me and keep me moving forward the next day.

Sure, this must stop. It really does. The waist can’t get too big. But, to start, it would be a lie to deny food and drink its rightful spot in making important and lasting connections.

Oh! It’s also been really fun with the family–great connection there, too! Enjoy! Prost!



My First School Visit–Alkmaar

I’ve learned something very important living here: the first time I go somewhere, I have to give myself time to get lost.

area–map–of–netherlandsTherefore, I set off early to Alkmaar (near #2 on the map) for my first school visit. I woke up around 5:30am, started my cycle to Central Station by 6:30 and was parking my bike in the largest bike garage in the world by 6:45. Secure the tickets, grab a coffee, and I’m off on the rails by 7:08am. I have to say–at this point, the travel is so easy and “as expected”. With the right apps, I know exactly when the train leaves, exactly which stops it’s going to take, and exactly where I’ll be when I get off the train.

At this point, with an hour to go to my meeting, and only a mile to walk, I decide to take my time. I take a quick little jaunt through Alkmaar’s beautiful city center and move on toward the school. Inevitably, I get a bit side-stepped as I forgot to switch Google’s tab from bus to walk, but the adjustments were easy. I was walking in the unguarded doors with twenty minutes to spare. grote kerk

Quickly, I was welcomed to the school and was told that I was expected. I was to wait in the teachers’ lounge. Willem Blaue is a nice-sized school: 1,000 students and about 100 faculty and staff (many of them are part-time faculty–that’s a qualifier we see quite a bit: part-time). The lounge was nice–fit with windows on two walls, many seating areas and coffee for staff and visitors. img_7246

I’d been in touch with the IB English teacher, Ms. Kee, quite a few times via email thanks to The Fulbright Center connecting us months before we left. She showed up and we began talking about our career paths and our current projects. Within minutes, we were discussing the value of travel and how nice it would be for students to be able to do week-long exchanges. Everything is possible with two creative- and travel-minded teachers. She took me on a walking tour.

Willem Blaue is a rare school in that it houses all levels of students. Many schools in the Netherlands choose a level for themselves (students going to university, students going to college, or students going into practical jobs). Willem Blaue? They have it all: music, arts, academics, and a sports school where top players can find training in their school day.

Finally, I met the students in Ms. Kee’s class. We had an hour to ask each other questions. I told them about The Share Chair Podcast and asked about a typical school day. The truth is–their days aren’t so typical, but their weeks are. Some days, they are out by 1:30pm. Other days, they have lessons until 5pm, but they have an hour and a half break to go into city center. The students were shocked to learn that our campus was closed, that students had the same schedule each day.

I found myself having to discuss gun culture in America–and I’m not an expert. I simply stated what I knew: at our school, we must have a couple active shooter drills each year. The students were astonished by it. (I’ve done some looking; a few schools in Amsterdam have guards and/or metal detectors, but it really is rare.) After we got through the horror of school shootings, we were able to discuss the joys of school unity. Sports in the States do that. The students wondered about that whole “playing for your school” thing. Here, it’s all city clubs–no school affiliation at all. On one hand, they seemed jealous; on the other hand, they wondered if so much time together was part of what created a coarse atmosphere from time-to-time. I’m not sure, but they were interesting observations.

Finally, I was able to run the interviews: two of them, each with three students. (You’ll be hearing them in the coming weeks.) To no surprise, they’re teenagers. One a sister in a family of four girls and she mentioned that her dad could use a break. Another works three small jobs. Another young man wants to find his way to America to play baseball, but knows the opportunities are slim. In the second interview, we had a gamer, a fencer, and a boxer–each sharing his passion for his hobby. Immediately, I thought of students in Spring Lake who would get along with these students. I wanted to put them together in the same room, to let them work out together or play games or have coffee.

Until they can get together, I’ll do my best to share their stories.

MLK, Jr. and my day in the Netherlands

dr. king

I’ve had an appreciation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. since my parents took me to Atlanta on a spring break as a sophomore in high school. His burial site, his church–they resonated with me in ways that still make an impact today. Take your pick:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Immediately, starting with my administrative tasks and now moving into my work with the Behavioral Sciences department, Utrecht University has shown me light. Every single person has been willing to work with me, providing me with knowledge about their parent/child research questions–and about how to turn on the printer. The light has shown throughout the university.

The light has shown through the neighborhood as well. We’ve been invited to people’s homes and thrown into the neighborhood chat threads. We’ve become fast friends with some on Facebook, already liking each other’s pictures of kids doing whatever kids do.

Also, the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher cohort–LIGHT! Jana, Celine, Will & Andrea, and Nikki & I have been together two times already with the third meeting already set up. These people are smart and funny and up for adventure. It is our mutual bond.

Each component of my time here is lightness. If those of us with light just keep spreading it–even when the darkness is really dark, we can and will prevail.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Just our being here in the Netherlands is Dr. King’s message. It’s not always easy: the girls miss their friends, some food takes adjusting, transportation takes some getting used to. But it is always right to do what is right and giving our girls time in another culture–to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell all that is different–is just not wrong.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

I am often worried about my ego inside of The Share Chair Podcast project. Why am I doing this? I try so hard to make sure my reasons are in their purest form and, today, after reflecting on Dr. King’s thoughts, I am sure they are. I want students to feel connection. That’s all. I am willing (and wanting) to do the work to make that happen, but the end goal is for others. I know that for us to be our best world, each person has to be his or her best self. I also know we grow personally by the influence of others. This podcast, this project, this time in the Netherlands is for that: connection for the betterment of all.

I know Dr. King was a Civil Rights leader, but he’s more than that. He’s a moral compass for us all and reflecting on his teachings today allowed me to view my own experience through his teachings.

The Work to Allow THE WORK

As with any job, it seems there is the work that really allows for “the work”. In my case, I have started with a variety of meetings: last week, with the International Service Desk and, today, I started with the Behavioral Sciences Department at Utrecht University.

The work here requires a residence permit and a BSN number (imagine a short term social security number) and I received my appointments from the International Services Desk. Additionally, they set me up with some maps of campus and some appointments with IT and all of that. Oh! I also received 20 euros on a transportation card and a bag of groceries. It was a quick meeting, but an important one.

Today, I had a meeting with the department head and my Fulbright mentor, Dr. Maja Dekovic. She’s well-respected and has been published internationally on the focus of parent and child development as well as the importance of peer relationships (there’s our connection).

We were able to discuss my mission and our shared roles: from her, I need contacts to high schools which she said she could put together quite nicely and I need communication about professional development opportunities or speaking engagements in and around the university. From me, I need to be a good communicator and be willing to take part in the department meetings and functions. Of course, I’m happy to do it.

We wrapped up, but she showed me straight to my shared office with Leonie Vreeke (here, it’s usually 2-3 people in a shared office). I, of course, took Leonie away from her work for the first hour or so, but she was abundantly accommodating, including showing me where to grab a quick sandwich to join the team for lunch. There, of course, the American With The Big Idea was the focus, sharing my project ideas and getting some strong feedback. The word is–this project just might work here.

After lunch, I continued with some writing of various introductions to the faculty and to future school administrators who I will meet.

In this way, I’m doing the work that must be done until I can do THE WORK of connecting students through their shared stories.

Some pictures of my office space at Utrecht University


Combining Dutch Efficiency and American Naiveté

This blog post was initially published as a community columnist segment in the Grand Haven Tribune on Tuesday, January 8 (you can find the segment here), but I include it as a blog post to include more images of what I write.

This is truly a wonderful place to live. We feel so fortunate–even through a few bumps in the road.

____________________________________________________________________________________________We left Spring Lake exactly one week ago–a wonderful send off from neighbors, friends, and family all waving goodbye. img_6677 We even drove our car through a banner reading “Netherlands”, breaking it heroically like a football team getting ready for its game. We were off. Of course, there were some tears from all of us, but, by the time we hit Coopersville on our way to Detroit’s airport, we settled into the reality: after an overnight flight, we would start our six-month life in the Netherlands.

After enjoying our fair share of movies on our seatback televisionsimg_6686 and much-improved airline food, the wheels hit down at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Everything worked perfectly: we landed, we got passports stamped, we found our taxi to drive us to our home thirty minutes away in Utrecht. In fact, the taxi dropped us right at our front door, spilling out all fifteen bags (checked bag, carry-on, and backpack for each of us). As planned with the homeowner, we knocked on the neighbor’s house and she’s waiting to let us in. Bӓrbel turns the key and we enter a world of Dutch efficiency.

img_6961We enter a hallway (imagine a “mudroom” in Spring Lake) only as wide as my shoulders and a half, but it holds many important items: layers of mail holders; a six-inch deep closet loaded with storage, including the wifi router and extra bike lights and seat cushions for a bench outside and badminton racquets; and twelve hooks to hold coats and hats and reusable shopping bags. Next, we enter the main door and the efficiency continues. Our space is built up as much as possible: starting with a great storage chest. img_6962We can find a wide array of home goods here–some kitchen items, some books, some technology. The sitting area is a 12 foot by 8 foot space, but is filled by a perfectly-sized couch to squeeze an entire family of four on it (yes, yes–I have to bring in a dining table seat for me, but the homeowners are a family of four). When we finally make our way upstairs, we see that the stairs resemble a ladder more than stairs with which we’re familiar at home: they are steep and narrow. img_6964Once upstairs, we realize the toilets are nestled perfectly under the stairways and the closets of the bedrooms are nestled into the walls while maintaining the important structure, meaning the closets follow the angle of the roof. This efficiency is impressive, really. Somehow, our space, 930 square feet in total, feels big: the ceilings are tall, some seating is hinged so it can be stored against the wall when not in use, and a perfectly-placed pocket door can go a long way.


Just as we were immediately impressed by the Dutch efficiency, we were confronted with some American naiveté. When Nikki and I heard that the Dutch are 92% English proficient, we took a more laid back approach to learning the language. The commitment we shared to our language app, Duolingo, faded over the last couple months, half expecting that signs and grocery items in country would read both in Dutch and in English. Well–it didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t the case. We appreciated not fully understanding the signage from Amsterdam to Utrecht, but our first trip to the supermarket was a bit of a challenge. Remember that whole “efficiency” thing of the previous paragraph? Well, the supermarkets are tight and tall with many people trying to buy. We decided to go all five of us at once (we’re now, one week in, comfortable leaving the girls at home, but we just weren’t sure on the first day) and we were scrambling, trying to figure out which milk was light or full, which pancake mix was most like the one at home, which sugar was the best for baking. Of course, after some bumping others and some quick, poor decisions requiring an immediate second trip to the grocery after getting home, we completed the shopping journey and, of course, with each passing day, we get more and more comfortable with the language.

We did, however, have a costly lesson in the value of bicycles where our naiveté became a hindrance. I made an assumption, based on what I’d observed around the neighborhood the first day or so, that a bicycle’s “fast” lock would be enough for a quick trip to the grocer. In fact, it was not. Upon leaving, the bike was gone, stolen. I returned home embarrassed, frustrated, and disappointed in myself. I had been told to double lock, to use the fast lock and the chain, but I didn’t and the bike was gone. When I reported this to our neighbors during our block party for New Year’s celebration, the response was simply this: “Welcome to the Netherlands. This happens a lot.” Good to know. Sad it happened.

We’re learning a lot–and quickly, too. Despite the challenges, our first week has been a knockout week where we realize we belong in this space, where we realize that a family can make a home in so many places in this world, where we begin to understand our own shortcomings and appreciate the skills of others.




Beginning the Work

Today, I begin my work here–at the Universiteitsbibliotheek.


It’s a beautiful building directly between our home and city center, a short five-minute bike ride. Students weave their bikes in and out of the bike garage underneath the library and I joined in–just observing how the locals do it most efficiently. Sure, time one, it’s slow for me, but I’ll get the hang of it quickly.

I didn’t have the credentials, initially, to enter because I don’t have my university card at the moment, but I was able to show my employment agreement letter and they let me in. The library is made of many corridors and lots of sitting rooms to study. The books reach the full two floors in most of the rooms. There is a lot of knowledge floating around in this building, much of which is in the students’ brains as they prepare for winter exams–yes, after the winter break.

My own work begins with this kind of work, trying to get back into blogging (it’s been four years since really being focused on it–of course, I’ve been up to a lot in the last four years, but still…) and working on making my various websites more friendly to visitors, expanding content. Today, I’ve been reading a lot–mostly, I’ve been reading my mentor’s works and findings. I need and want to pick her brain directly, of course, but from what I can see, a lot of our issues of cruelty are the same: lots of links to absent parenting as well as poverty issues and more. It’s been good work for the day and it’s not yet noon.

It’s true, I’m here to talk to students. That will come. I’ve already reached out to neighbors to get me in touch with favorite teachers of their own. I’m days away, I hope, from my first school visit. My official paperwork meeting with the university is on Thursday. The work is picking up: no, not the direct work with students, but the work to make that happen.

Cheers to a joy-filled 2018!

Happy New Year!
Many of you asked “Why the numbers next to your pictures?” early on in the process. Well–here’s why. While I don’t plan to continue the picture-a-day, but it HAS been enlightening.
Though my 2017 was good in many ways, it had fewer smiles than usual. I wasn’t finding the joy in my every day. So, each day in 2018, I committed to finding joy each and every day. It turned out even more helpful than expected. There were several days when, nearing the end of the day, I’d be much more focused on thinking of my positives throughout the day or looking for them to wrap it up. Truthfully, this was a more meaningful project than I ever expected and I’m realizing that more than ever right now.
And, not surprisingly, it turns out I love my family, my work, travel–and ice cream. Oh! Thanks, Nikki and family for putting up with my “Oh–I need one more picture” comments all year.