A Little Bit of Everything to Start the New Year


The start of the new year is one of my favorite times to be on Twitter. I love the #OLW and #Nerdlution posts. I love the “best of” book lists and the new reading goals being set for the year. Even if you aren’t a blogger, I’m sure you’ve been participating in all of this resolution making from the privacy of your own living room or reading corner. Fresh starts are a wonderful thing, right?

My OLW for 2014 was listen, and although I haven’t necessarily perfected the art of listening, it served me well. As someone who is quick to jump in with what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, I was constantly reminded to pause and hear my family, friends, and colleagues with more intention and purpose.

I have a couple of words that I thought would be my OLW for 2015. Yesterday, I was sure I finally had it; a word that was inspiring, about goals and pursuits. But a quiet voice spoke to me during a conversation with a friend early this morning. It whispered my word to me.

And I said no.

I don’t have time for that word.  I’m no good at that word.  That word will be a lot. of. work.

But, here I am about ten hours later, getting ready to accept my word, my challenge for 2015.


Such a simple word, a small act, yet something I don’t do nearly enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I encourage my students all the time.  It comes so easy, so naturally. But outside of the classroom. With colleagues. With friends. Even with my family. Ummm.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have serious tunnel vision during the week. When I’m walking in the halls, I’m on a mission.  As soon as I leave school, it’s off to the races with this sport or that music lesson. When I get home, it’s dinner and dishes and homework and reading. (There has to be reading!) I think I don’t have time, but my one little word is telling me that I should be making the time.

How often have I walked through the halls of my school and seen a really thoughtful display on the walls, only to smile and then keep walking without saying anything to the teacher who designed it?  When a colleague undertakes a project to better the school, how many times have I taken a minute to send an email or stop by to thank them? Not nearly enough.

My friends know I’m busy, right? If I don’t text them for a week, two weeks…they’ll understand. We’re all running our kids from here to there. I don’t do high maintenance friendships. Actually, I have the tendency to have no maintenance friendships.  I may have been telling myself that works for me, but I think the wonderful people I call my friends deserve a little more than that.

And my family. I want the world for my family. Unfortunately, many times that translates into pushing instead of encouraging. I push hard, because I want them to be the best they can be. Sometimes a push might be needed, but most of the time, an encouraging word or action will go so much further.

So, there it is. My OLW for 2015. It also happens to be the springboard for my Nerdlution.


Image by Kristine Mraz

For the next fifty days, I commit to an act of encouragement each day.  A note, a conversation, a text, or an email for my colleagues, friends and family. So many of you have encouraged me, and I have appreciated your words or acts on days when I needed them most. I hope that my OLW will become a permanent fixture in my life, but nerdlution is going to get me started in the right direction.

I also hope that everyone else is having great success with their nerdlutions so far, and if you haven’t chosen your one little word for 2015, there’s still plenty of time to think about the kind of year you want to have.  Or maybe your little word will choose you.  One little word can have big possibilities for you and the people in your life.

So with that in mind, let me encourage (see what I did there?) you to read some of these great books that I read in the first few days of the new year:

red pencil death by tp crossover

All three are perfect for MG readers.

What I’m reading now:

green glass house

And what I’m reading next:

boys of blur all the bright places image

Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!



Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “A Little Bit of Everything to Start the New Year

  1. Thank you for sharing, Jen. I can totally relate to your post and I could use a bit of a push to be more outwardly encouraging as well!

  2. Jen,
    I love reading your blog posts and I need to ‘encourage’ you by letting you know that I love reading them. I think I need to live by this word too. I’m glad I encouraged you to sit at Table #16 with the crazies. It was fun, no?
    Have fun tomorrow! Rock on!

  3. Jen, I immediately thought of missed opportunities to encourage others when I read your post. What an important word for 2015!

  4. What a fantastic habit to build–I love especially your distinction between “pushing” and “encouraging”–I think about this a lot as a parent and a teacher both.

  5. Oh Jen, so much of what you say about yourself I could say about myself. I am that tunnel vision, one track focused person sometimes. I love how you sit back, look and “push” yourself to grow and give.

    Happy reading! I look forward to 2015 with you and ENCOURAGE.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s