Monthly Archives: November 2015

On Simplifying



I’m a visual person! How about you?

I felt grouchy and overwhelmed, but after a week of Thanksgiving break sleeping in, my bedroom, classroom, staff break room and home desk area are all now decluttered!!! 🙂 I went on my Pinterest and tried to recreate this:


and it ended up turning out like this:


I’d say I need to simplify! As I felt refreshed this week sleeping in, I had all of these books I wanted to read and new projects in my head I wanted to dive into. I even thought about signing back up for my dance classes, as I do miss it. After looking at my To Do List that is currently sans laundry and cooking because I couldn’t bear to write any more onto the board, I am reminded to keep things simple! No more adding to my To Do Tasks/ Projects until I have more completed!

What do you do to keep life simple?









About a week ago, I decided to make investments for retirement. When I asked my credit union financial advisor for socially and environmentally conscious companies to invest in, he advised against it. Not only do such companies not do very well, there are very few such companies, which would make my investment portfolio not very diverse. I found this report from him to be disappointing. If there isn’t an existence of such companies, that means there isn’t a great demand for it!

wall.jpgPeople talking about not accepting the Syrian refugees is just one example of people who do not care about others. My view is, why stop at Syrian refugees? What about those in other war torn impoverished areas with less media coverage such as the Central African Republic?

People are so satisfied to spend as little as possible, work every day and then retire and pass away! I say this because I’m spending my first year at my current job/ school. I am often asked if I will stay this time. When I tell inquirers the truth, I sometimes I get reactions like: “Don’t you think it is time you settle down?” “You still don’t know what you want to be?” “Don’t you want to buy a house?”

The answer to all of these responses in my head is this, ” I do not want to settle down. I want to see the world (perhaps a project similar to this one will suffice for now learn about the world…or I could eat my way around the world instead:

EDIT: Apparently no idea is new under the sun: ) and leave every place I see with something better. Like right now, our school just got a grant for a school garden. I am going to create an ecology program for the school and a year-round sustainable garden before I leave. It will take several years to get off the ground. When I finish, I will move on to another part of the world to learn a new skill (perhaps new languages?) and set up a new project. I think the term, “What do you want to be?” is overrated. We are NOT our jobs. Yes, I’m a teacher, but my changing my life from time to time does not make me any less or more because we are NOT our jobs. And no, I have no plans to buy a house because I don’t see the need for a house since I don’t have children or pets to fill said house. Why buy something I do not intend to use? I am going to use my money to do other things I like for now. food-drink-real_estate-realty-agent-thanksgiving-corn-rhan397_low.jpg

I don’t want to spend my life just working and then retiring, at least not yet.


I don’t want to just sit and watch inspiring people talk on TV and on the internet. I want to join them in their life and their work. For instance, I will not simply read the book or watch the movie  I Am Malala. I would rather ask what I can do to help her cause. I want to live a life worth writing about too. And if that means not settling down and buying a house and having children, I have always been okay with that. I just hope I have the courage to live these dreams I have had all of my life. At the same time, I also know that the hardest thing to change is myself and without self control, I have control over nothing.



One of my inspirations for Project 1:


A possible Project 2 inspiration:


Yet another teacher this year has asked me to mentor them. I am honored and hope they will learn as much from me as I have from them. In my quest to change the world and myself, I find these new teachers inspiring because of their enthusiasm and positivity and because their sole focus, aside from finishing school (and perhaps hopefully their families), is their students…) Some thoughts I have for them:


iep effective.jpg

This past week, I was shown that some people still care for the children we educate! My principal worked hard to propose class size reductions for my department and for the fourth grade at our school and we were approved!!!! Someone up there still cares about the kids we educate! They aren’t just a number! I am so grateful for this opportunity to recreate my class now that it will be smaller and have only a limited number of grade levels, giving me a clearer level to focus my lessons and providing more instructional time to kids who need it very badly. I think starting things new/ recreating is an important feeling to have… What do you think? Does a rolling stone ever gather moss? If I decide to “settle down”, this would be a good place to do it. Living in my hometown has brought me closer to my family, for which I am grateful!!!

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? What are your thoughts on helping people and places in need? Do you think your country should accept Syrian refugees? Why or why not? What inspiring stories have you heard or read lately and what do you intend to or are you doing about it?





Thanksgiving Reflections


Buddhist Global Relief

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

This past Sunday I attended an interfaith Thanksgiving service at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Peekskill, New York. I spoke extemporaneously. This is a polished version of my talk.

Thanksgiving is a time when we all gather to give thanks for the blessings we have received over the past year. Here, in the US, we have much to be thankful for, but as I reflect on the blessings that I have experienced, I also realize that almost every one of them represents a privilege that I enjoy but which too few people in the world share.

First, I realize that I live in a country that has not been subjected to devastating military assaults, and thus I enjoy relative security in my physical person. When I recognize this, I think of the millions upon millions of people around the world, especially in the Middle East, who do…

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