#lifecaptcha Who Tells Your Story?

Introducing #lifecaptcha! My friend Jen from Story Exploratory and Teach Mentor Texts and I are super excited to share a project we’ve been working on. We hope you’ll follow along and maybe even join in!

Stories are the heart of the human experience.

Life is but small moments,
one after that another,
woven together.

I have a story.
He has a story.
She has a story.
You have a story.

To live is to have a story.

We have long seen the value of telling our story.
As bloggers, educators, mothers,
we share our stories
to impact change.

Right now, we live in a time of endless avenues to
tell our story
show our work
leave our mark
make the world a better place.

When we tell our stories, we
celebrate our actions
inspire others
show how change is possible.

Likewise,
when we listen to stories, we
recognize noble actions
are inspired
see how change is possible.

We wondered:
What if we dropped everything and took a picture at random times throughout one day?
Would this tell a clearer story of our lives and empower others to see that they can impact change too?
What if we asked others to join us and take pictures at random times throughout one day?
Would this let us learn from the lives of others and empower us to do more?

And so, #lifecaptcha was born.

Because we’re fans of Chimamanda Adichie’s TedTalk The Danger of a Single Story and we strongly believe it’s relevant to life today as much as ever. But we also agree with Sisonke Msimang and the message of her TedTalk If A Story Moves You, Act On It.

Because Donald Trump makes unkind remarks directed towards African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and women (to name a few…). But we know his eyes aren’t open to the beauty in each and every individual on this Earth.

Because Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” But to do work to move justice for all forward, we need to continue to learn to see the world through others’ eyes.

We all share the human experience.
Stories
bring us together
bridge us together
bind us together.

The more stories we share
the more our understanding and empathy grows.

Life is short and there’s work to do. So we asked ourselves, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

We do.

And now we’re asking you, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

You do.

Small moments tell your story.
Small moments amplify your impact.

We’re blending Instagram and spontaneity throughout the year
to share “a day in the life” as a way to tell our stories.

What exactly is a “day in the life” really like?
What are the small moments that add up to a day?
What are the small moments that add up to a year?
What are the small moments that tell your story?

We invite you to join us.
Follow #lifecaptcha on Instagram.
On the 19th day of the month,
Every hour at 44 minutes past the hour,
drop everything and take a picture.
Share on Instagram using #lifecaptcha.
Connect with others.

Tell your story.
Show how change is possible.
See how change is possible.
Make the world a better place.

To join Jen and I on our #lifecaptcha journey this year, follow us on Instagram:

Jen Vincent – @mentortexts
Erin Jackle – @maraudererin

While Jen and I are both educators,
we hope to share this with educators and non-educators alike.
If you know someone who would be interested in #lifecaptcha,
please share with them!

Currently…

My good friend Jennie has been posting these with inspiration from Katy Upperman. Since I was feeling stuck for words tonight, I decided to give it a try too!

Loving

Fleece-lined leggings, wool socks, scarves, and coffee.  It’s coooooooold outside! The best part about the cold is hunkering down in cozy clothing with a hot drink and a good book.  Basically, this is the only good thing about the cold.

Reading

I’m currently reading three books! My fiction read is Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam. Gorgeous writing accompanies this tale of three young women in Brooklyn and Bangladesh.

I’m reading two non-fiction books this week – Rising Strong by Brene Brown and Better Conversations by Jim Knight. I absolutely adore Brene Brown and the way she makes me think about myself, my needs, and how to be the best possible Erin I can do. Jim Knight’s book is definitely having an impact on my coaching conversations, and I’m excited to explore this further.

Watching

Right this moment I’m watching Gilmore Girls, which should surprise no one. Lately, Ted and I have been watching Jimmy Fallon and Elementary when we have time together.  We also jumped on the Making a Murderer train.  That’s…something…all right.

Listening To

So, when I said up there I am reading three books, I guess technically I’m reading four. I just finished listening to Awakenings by Oliver Sacks and now I’m enjoying an audio re-read of The Raven Boys.

Thinking About

I’ve been thinking about how important it is to get my needs met, and that sometimes that means I need to ask for what I need. As someone who always seeks to help and provide for others, I sometimes forget that I need other to help and provide for me.  So, I’m working on being more conscience of what I need and being more upfront about asking for it.

Anticipating

Teeth falling out!  EEK! Somehow, both of my teeny tiny babies have a loose tooth. It just doesn’t seem possible and, quite frankly, took me completely by surprise. In fact, I yelled so loudly upon discovering Charlotte’s loose tooth that she very matter-of-factly told me to, “Calm down, MOM.”

Wishing

Wishing for a clean house. It’s a little out of control these days, and no one in this house is doing a good job keeping up with putting things away.  Pretty typical for the month after Christmas, but instead of doing something about it, I’m wishing for a working wand so I can magic this mess up!

Making Me Happy

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On Grieving Those We’ve Never Met

I woke up this morning to a text from a friend. “Snape died!” At first I thought maybe she’d been doing a re-read or re-watch of Harry Potter, but then I got several more text messages and I checked the news. The world has lost an amazing person, Alan Rickman.

I’m not ashamed to express my heartbreak or to tell you that I’ve cried real tears today.  I’m not ashamed that I’ve been texting friends, posting on Facebook, and chatting on Twitter about the true sadness I feel over a man I’ve never met.  And yet…I’ve seen a lot of eyerolling and annoyance at public grief over the loss of a celebrity.  Posts about how it’s ridiculous to feel sad over someone you don’t even know.  Posts about how it’s not a real grief.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Did I ever meet Alan Rickman? No. Nor have I met David Bowie, Robin Williams, or countless others whose deaths I have mourned. You don’t have to be best buddies with someone to have them have an impact on your life. Alan Rickman’s art brought me great joy. He portrayed one of the most complex characters from a book series that holds my heart. He’s made me laugh, cry, and think. No, we weren’t friends, but I will miss him just the same.

Grief is grief. Mourning the loss of another human is what makes us human. It’s what reminds us of the fragility and value of this life we have. Surely, those closest to these celebrities are dealing with a different level of grief, but our grief is grief too. Our loss is real, whether you grieve with us or not.

What a testament to those who put their art out there to be grieved by those they’ve never met. I can only hope to be so lucky as to have that kind of influence in my own work.

Thank you, Alan Rickman, for being a storyteller. You will be truly missed.

Cultivate

My one little word for 2016 is…

Cultivate

I have never been big on resolutions, but I love having a word to guide me and provide inspiration throughout the year.  Last year, my word was “spark”. It was a great little word that kept me going and reminded me to take a chance on the things I wanted to do most.  Cultivate feels like such a natural follow up to spark.  To cultivate is to actively work to make something better. Looking at the year ahead, cultivating is about building habits and keeping a growth mindset.

Last year, my word was about getting started, and this year my word is about growth.  Growth doesn’t just happen.  Change doesn’t just happen. We have to work for it.  There are several habits, ideas, and projects that began in 2015 that I very much want to tend and care for this year.  Some are simple things like continuing to build healthy habits like drinking more water than coffee each day.  Some are a deepening of well-established habits such as reading outside my own preferences, experience, and comfort zone. Some are about my work in schools and continuing to cultivate an understanding of connectedness and innovation in my school district. I want to take the next steps.  I want to put myself and my ideas out there. I’ve planted my little garden and I’m ready to help it grow.

I’m going to grow in 2016, and I’m going to do my best to help others grow with me. In addition to my own personal growth, I want to cultivate kindness, cultivate curiosity, and cultivate innovation in those around me. I have big plans. Let’s do this, 2016!

If Only I Had a Time Turner

I generally don’t like to gripe about time because it’s true what they say…we all have the same 24 hours in a day.  Still, there are days when I struggle to fit it all in. With 24 hours in a day, it can be difficult to find the time to be the best professional I can be, the best mom I can be, the best wife I can be, and (the one most often neglected) the best Erin I can be.

It’s all about balance, right? Aren’t we always talking about balance and how to achieve it? For me, the struggle with balance is having to recognize that I cannot give 150% of myself all the time.  It’s simply not possible to run at full-throttle in everything I do, especially when I end up at the bottom of the list.  It’s about priorities, and sometimes that means I need to be full-throttle Erin and put myself first.  Easier said than done!

As much as I’d like to laze about all day reading, writing, and watching half a dozen episodes of Gilmore Girls, the reality of life is that days like that are extremely rare. Since I can’t necessarily dedicate a full day to myself on a regular basis, I’ve been intentionally finding ways to carve out time for myself during the day.  Listening to audio books in the car has been a great way for me to find time to read, but also to give my brain a break during the day. It’s become such a zen part of my day that I can hardly believe I ever went so long without it. I took a few minutes to jot down notes for this post while I was boiling water for dinner.  The girls were occupied with a show and the words were fresh in my mind. I often find myself inspired to write during moments when I can’t just stop my day to get my thoughts out.  I can, however, scribble on a notepad while cooking in order to preserve my ideas for when I have time to develop them later.

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I’m working hard to build those small moments of time for myself into my day.  Without those moments, I feel harried and overworked.  With those moments, I feel slightly closer to sane.

How do you build time for yourself into your busy lives?

This is 35

Thirty-five is recognizing that my voice is always with me. 

Thirty-five is knowing what I like and what I don’t like. 

Thirty-five is feeling more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. 

Thirty-five is being brave enough to say what I think, to stand up for what I believe in, to admit when I need help. 

Thirty-five is a coffee addiction. 

Thirty-five is recognizing the people who build me up and taking a pass on those who tear me down. 

Thirty-five is seeing how far I’ve come since twenty-five and seeing how far I can go by forty-five. 

Thirty-five is being proud of who I am. 

Thirty-five is not nearly enough sleep, but lots of love and snuggles. 

Thirty-five is being the mom to two five-year-olds. 

Thirty-five is rocking my fashion sense. 

Thirty-five is a messy house, messy desk, messy car. 

Thirty-five is completely owning my goofy, nerdy, ridiculous self. 

Thirty-five is knowing how important quiet time is for my soul. 

Thirty-five is grey hair and a few extra pounds. 

Thirty-five is knowing when to say yes and that it’s ok to say no. 

Thirty-five is looking pretty good so far. 

  

I Have Hope For You #NIAW

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I’ve been struggling all week with what I wanted to say.  This year’s theme is “You are not alone,” which I adore since sharing my infertility story brought me so much love and support during our struggle.  Still, there were days when, despite the love around me, I felt so alone.  How do I honor the love shown to me while still acknowledging that I often felt alone?

During a particularly low day, one of my nurses said to me, “I’ve been hoping for you.  I keep your name in my hope box to remind me to hope for you.”

I was so touched.

Now that I’ve survived infertility and come out on the other side with two beautiful happy endings, you might think that infertility is part of my past.  It’s not.  It’s an ever-constant part of who I am.  While I may not talk about it much these days, I haven’t left that community or stopped supporting those dealing with this disease.

You see…I have a box of names now.  It’s a plain, cheap black jewelry box.  I’m not even sure where it came from, but it lives in the drawer of my nightstand.  This little box is full of names.  It’s full of the names of those I’m sending hope to, no matter what stage of the journey they are in.  Just starting out, IVF, adoption, laproscopy, hysterectomy, Clomid, you name it.  Whenever I see someone tweet or blog about their struggles, their name goes into the box.  There are blank pieces too, since I am hoping for those whose names I don’t even know.

If you are struggling, I am hoping for you.

I am hoping for you even when you can’t hope for yoursevles.

I see you.

I have hope for you.

Even in your darkest days when it feels like you have no one, I will hope for you.

You are not alone.

I Saw Your Face Today

I saw your face today while I was driving. 

I saw your face in the rear view mirror. 

I couldn’t see your eyes, but I’d know that double chin anywhere. 

Not the bullfrog double-chin from the steroids. Just your regular dad double-chin. 

I couldn’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure you were wearing one of your shirts with boats or fish or some other nauticalness. 

I saw your face today and couldn’t tear my eyes away. 

I kept checking the mirror to make sure it was you. It was. Even though I know you’d never drive a Prius. 

I saw your face today and immediately my mind began telling you everything I’ve wanted to say since I last saw you. 

I saw your face today and my eyes filled with tears. 

But also…

I saw your face today and it made me smile. 

Grateful #sol15

My house is a mess. 

The dishes aren’t done. The laundry isn’t folded. Everything is covered in dog hair and toys. 

I’m not cleaning, though. 

I’m sitting in the rocker in my girls’ room. Just listening to them breathe while they rest. Just looking at their sweet faces. Just marveling at these magical gifts I have been given. 

Ode to Diapers

Dear Diapers,

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of miss you. I know I complained about your mess, your smell, and having to haul you everywhere. I whined about washing you and longed for the days when I would never have to hose poop off you again.

I didn’t know how good I had it.

You made it so that I didn’t have to drop everything I was doing for a potty break.

With you, I didn’t have to run across Target to make it to the bathroom.

I didn’t have to stop eating mid-bite to take a kid to the bathroom. And then take the second one as soon as I sat down again.

When you were in my life, I didn’t have to squeeze into a public bathroom stall with two kids, squat on the floor to keep them from falling in, or hold them up to the sink to wash hands.

I didn’t have to deal with a kid freaking out about automatic flushers or loud hand dryers.

Most importantly, I didn’t have to worry about little hands opening the stall door every single time I dared to use the toilet myself.

All of this to say, I’m sorry I was so hard on you. I hope your next family appreciates your hard work,

With fondness,
Erin