I've been feeling quite pensive these past few rainy days of Fall. To be honest, I've felt a little blue. Maybe it's the cloudy days, maybe it's that my daughter has flown the nest to college hours away. I'm not sure. However, I find in these moments that discouragement and doubt can creep in and threaten to zap my joy if I let it. When this happens, I always turn to gratitude and those people in my life that have helped shape who I am becoming and given me the courage to fly. These are the people who have believed in me at points in my journey when I didn't believe in myself. They help me find my voice, validate my "crazy" as a unique gift, and give me courage to share it with the world.
Though there are many more that have shaped me in my journey, these people have made a significant impact on my life.
My mom, Susan Mills, raised me to believe I was special. If you could imagine a female version of Mr. Rogers, she's it. In fact, Mr. Rogers was a major part of my childhood. I would get sung to sleep by "It's you I like...." and other songs from the show on a regular basis. She valued the importance of play allowing me to explore and experience the wonder of childhood. She has always accepted me just the way I am, loving me unconditionally through all my ugly moments. She has a rare beauty that resonates from deep within her.
My dad, John Norton, is a legend in the field of track and cross country. He helped coach Olympic greats and developed a world renowned track and cross country program that attracts athletes from around the world. He has always had incredible passion and zeal for his work. He was relentless in pursuing excellence and making a difference in the lives of athletes. As I've grown older, I recognize his determination and passion for his work in myself and I'm grateful to have had a role model that demonstrated how to live out your life's calling.
My husband, Russ, is an incredibly loving and humble man who has always supported me in all my endeavors. As an amazing and passionate ceramics educator, he gets the wild world of education and it's demands. He doesn't always get my level of crazy, but whole heartedly supports me in all that I do. He has always been my greatest ally and friend; lifting me up in my darkest moments encouraging me to keep going and chasing my dreams. He accepts me for who I am, flaws and all.
My daughter, Ella, has a fierce determination and drive that inspires me daily. She is passionate about people and culture; eager to make a difference in this world in a powerful way. Her adventurous and lively spirit is refreshing and helps remind me to never stop chasing my dreams.
My son, Tommy, has a personality that is larger than life. His sweet, sensitive spirit and smile light up any room. His wit is beyond his years and can have a whole room laughing hysterically in seconds flat. In addition, he has an uncanny sense of rhythm that can get anybody dancing. He reminds me to laugh, play, and dance often.
MY PERSONAL LEARNING FAMILY
There are so many that make up this family of educators that I can't possibly list them all. These are the people that get my crazy passion for education and my relentless pursuit to bring the very best teaching and learning to the classroom every day. They are the ones that push me to kick fears to the curb, crush obstacles, and take big risks to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Without this encouragement and support, I don't know that I would have found the courage to send my first tweet, write that first blog post, submit a proposal for that first conference, moderate a Twitter chat, or write a book proposal.
Tears are filling my eyes as I think of all the big leaps of courage I've taken because of the special people in my life. To all who have replied to my tweets, commented on my blogs, joined in on my Twitter chats, encouraged me in my writing, supported and encouraged me, believed in me...
from the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!
You've given me the courage to fly.
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!