Saturday, March 26, 2016

Slice of Life: March 26 -- What I Learned from Not Slicing

I'm writing tonight to admit what those of you who read this blog already know: I didn't keep my Slice of Life commitment.

It's hard to type that sentence.  No, the physical act of pressing the keys on my keyboard isn't difficult.  It's feeling like I didn't keep my word that's hard.  It's feeling like I've let others down that frustrates me.  It's feeling disappointed in myself that's hard to get past.

Yes, I feel bad about not keeping my commitment, but at the same time, I may have learned just as much (if not more) from this experience.  No, I'm not advocating quitting.  Please don't get me wrong.  What I am simply saying is that "life" happened this week and I realized that I wasn't as committed to a Slice of Life as I should have been if I really wanted to accomplish my goal.

And so, in spite of my lack of commitment and failure to meet my goal of slicing for 31 days, let me offer what I did learn through this experience.

1.  Things that are not a priority don't and won't get done.  A slice of life truly wasn't a priority for me this year.  I know that sounds bad, but it's honest.  I committed to slicing this year knowing it was going to be even more difficult than in the past.  That knowledge along with failing to make it a priority meant slicing fell to the bottom of my "to-do" list each day.  As a result, when real life happened, which it did, then I simply forgot about slicing or didn't have the energy or motivation for it.  It wasn't a priority and, as a result, didn't get done.

2.  Things that are a priority do and will get done.  I honestly entered this year's challenge half-heartedly.  That's probably part of why I didn't make slicing a priority.  Truth be told, that should have made slicing more of a priority for me if I wanted to reach my goal.  When I prioritize and make something important on my "to-do" list, it gets done.

3.  I need to plan ahead if I intend to slice next year.  I need to have a game plan going into next March if I decide to take this challenge again.  It's hard to come up with writing ideas for 31 days, especially after a couple years of slicing.  However, I know that if I think ahead, I can be better prepared with writing ideas that will help me when I'm stuck and don't know what to write about.  I always tell my students that you have to have a plan if you want to meet a goal.  This year, I failed to heed my own advice.

4.  This experience has only been a failure if I didn't learn something from it.  I refuse to say I failed.  No, I did not meet my goal, but I did learn a lot from these past few weeks of slicing.  I will take what I learned through this experience (and about myself), and will use it to do better in the future.

5.  I need to reach out to others for help more often.  I often tell students that anything I have ever done that was worth doing was hard.  A Slice of Life would fall into the "hard" category.  In looking back on all the difficult things I have ever done, I can find one thing they all had in common: I relied on others to help me get through the tough times.  Looking back, I didn't reach out to my friends and colleagues like I should have this month.  I didn't seek them out for ideas and I didn't read their blogs as much to get inspiration.  Asking for help would have been key in helping me meet my goal.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Slice of Life: March 20 -- Celebrating

Today was a day spent with family, celebrating my birthday.  My husband, Wesley, and I joined my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and three nephews for brunch.  We ate at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield.  They have a delicious buffet full of all kinds of amazing foods.  At the end of brunch, my family surprised me with a piece of chocolate cake complete with a huge sparkler stuck in the top in the place of a candle.

More than anything, I enjoyed the time spent with my family.  We don't get to all get together as often as we would like.  My brother is very busy with his job and family, as is the case with my husband and me.  I really cherish the time we do get to spend together, but it always seems to go by too quickly.  We are entering the time of year when we celebrate lots of birthdays in our family, so I am looking forward to seeing my family more often in the next few months.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Slice of Life: March 19 -- Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday. 34 years ago I entered this world. 34 years seems like a long time ago. I suppose I don't feel that old and, to be honest, getting older has never really bothered me. Today, however, it seems odd to think that I will soon be closer to my forties than I am to my twenties.

I spent the day with my husband, son, and parents. It was a pretty low key day as tomorrow we will actually celebrate with my brother, sister-in-law, and three nephews. This day is always one that makes me pause and reflect on all I have to be thankful for. The best part of my birthday is spending it with my greatest blessings. Any day I get to spend with those I love is a good day.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Slice of Life: March 18 -- Spring Break

At 2:52 today, the bell rang, signaling not only the end of the school day, but the official start of spring break.  The blustering northerly wind and cold drizzle didn't make it feel like the beginning of our week long spring vacation.  Despite the cool temperatures, it is in fact spring break.

This break will be unlike any other for me.  For the first time, I'll be enjoying spring break with my son.  I am sure he and I will spend some days at home playing and, with warmer weather on the horizon, some nice walks outside in his stroller.  Either way, I am planning to enjoy this week off from school.  It's a nice time to relax and unwind from the stress of work as we begin to head into one of the busiest and most stressful parts of the school year.

I don't have big spring break plans and, honestly, I am perfectly fine with that.  I like the fact that I have a full week that isn't already planned for me and that I have the chance to do with it as I chose for the most part.  I can drink coffee on my couch in my pajamas.  I can take a nap in the afternoon.  I can have lunch with friends.  Those are just some of the things I am looking forward to this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Slice of Life: March 17 -- Thursday?

I stopped myself as I left a meeting at the end of the day. The words "Have a good weekend" almost flew out of my mouth when the bell rang, signaling the end of another school day. "It's not Friday," I thought to myself. Shortly thereafter, while on crosswalk duty, I asked my colleague how her meeting was. Then I realized her meeting was on Friday and that today was still Thursday.

For whatever reason, I've been a day off all week. Monday I thought it was Tuesday. Tuesday I thought it was Wednesday. Wednesday I thought...well, you get the drift. Maybe it was daylight savings time that threw me off. Perhaps it is the fact that it's the week before spring break. Perhaps today it had to do with the fact that I wore jeans to work today, attire that is normally reserved for Friday.

It was and has been Thursday all day. Which means that tomorrow is finally Friday. I'll be in trouble, though, if I wake up thinking it's Saturday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slice of Life: March 16 -- A Brief Reflection on Slicing

Can I be completely honest here?  Brutally honest?

Ok.  Then here's my confession: Slice of Life this year is really hard.

It's been hard before.  That's not new.  This year it's hard in a different way.  Year one was hard because I had never committed to writing for 31 days.  That was hard in and of itself.  However, I found that I had plenty to write about.  I sought out inspiration each day and put my best foot forward with most every post.  Year two was hard because I had to come up with an entirely new set of ideas that I hadn't used in year one.  I still felt inspired, and although my writing wasn't perhaps quite as powerful or motivational, it had meaning and merit.  This year, however, is hard on an entirely new level.

Perhaps it's a combination of several things that have made these past 16 days so difficult.  Being a new mom, the feelings of exhaustion that come with that role, having even more stress at work, and adjusting to a new routine have all made this month's slicing difficult.  I find myself slicing at the end of the day when I'm not at my best and when my head would rather hit the pillow instead of my fingers hitting the keyboard.  I have yet to find my true inspiration.  I thought that writing about my everyday life would be easier, but I have found that most days are pretty normal.  Certainly I am blessed and each day is a gift, but I'm not sure many people would want to read about most of my days.

You can imagine my surprise when a colleague stopped by my office today and told me how difficult slicing was for her, too.  We shared our feelings and were brutally honest with one another.  It felt good to acknowledge the feelings I had.  It felt good to openly admit that there were times I have wanted to quit.  It felt good to share my frustrations.  It also felt good to walk away from that conversation with a new idea to help me slice for the remainder of the month.

So if slicing has been hard for you, rest assured that there is hope.  You can do it and I can, too.  Yes, it's hard.  Yes, there will be times you won't feel like writing.  That's okay.  Just write anyway and know that inspiration will come and that there is something special about committing to writing even when you wonder if your writing is worth sharing.  Stick with it.  Keep slicing.  Seek out your friends who can help you.  And, most importantly, know that in the end, you will look back, smile, and be glad you fulfilled your commitment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Slice of Life: March 15 -- Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. That phrase would best describe my day. I had five meetings today, virtually all of them back to back.






I managed to cross one thing off my to do list before my first meeting. I grabbed a quick bite to eat in the fifteen minutes between my 10:15 and 11:30 meeting. I stuck around after school long enough to tidy up my desk. Then, exhausted, I scooped up my things and headed out the door. I'm ready for bed and a good night's sleep in preparation for another day that begins with -- you guessed it -- another meeting.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Slice of Life: March 14 -- Wordless

I'm sure you've heard someone comment that they are speechless. This expression is usually uttered after a moment of shock, awe, or genuine surprise. It refers to the inability to find the right words to speak -- hence the word speechless.

Tonight I am wordless. I may have just made up that word, but as I lay here in bed, I can honestly think of nothing to write. I literally have no words at the moment. I tried to think of something clever, something inspiring, but nothing came to me. I thought about just writing about my day, but realized there wasn't much to write about. It was busy and exhausting and thinking about writing about it just made me more tired.

So here I am, laying in bed, typing this on my phone, admitting that tonight I don't have much to offer. I am, however, still writing. I suppose that counts for something.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Slice of Life: March 13 -- Firsts

Since having our son, my life has been filled with firsts.  There was the first time he rolled over, the first time he said "MaMa," the first time we took him to eat at a restaurant, our first overnight stay in a hotel, and his first day at daycare.  Today was another first.  For the first time since he's been born, we took Wesley to church with us.

I had mixed emotions about this venture.  I was excited to be back at church.  We haven't been able to take Wesley out much since he was born in order to make sure he did not get sick.  As a result, my husband and I haven't been to church much at all since Wesley was born.  On the other hand, I was a little nervous.  There's only so much you can do to entertain a four month old for an hour and a half at church.  Combine that with the fact that he didn't eat much before we left for church so I wasn't sure when he would be hungry again.

Fortunately, Wesley was a champ!  My husband held him through the first part of the service and when he started to get a little restless, I took him and he fell asleep on my shoulder.  Amazingly, he even slept through the loud music and actually snored through the sermon.  That part was a little funny, but all in all, our first trip to church was definitely a success.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Slice of Life: March 12 -- MeMa

Today my husband, son, and I visited my grandma.  My grandma is an incredible lady.  She's 92 years young and lives life to its fullest.  She has nine grandchildren (not counting spouses) and 25 great grandchildren with one more on the way.  The great grandkids affectionately call her MeMa.  My son, Wesley (#24), absolutely lit up when he saw her today.  I'm not sure who was more excited today, Wesley or my grandma.  What I do know is that they both enjoyed their visit with one another.  We enjoyed talking, laughing, and took my grandma out to eat dinner.  It's wonderful to get to spend time with her, and I am glad we took the opportunity to visit her today.

Slice of Life: March 11 -- Basketball

I am not 18 anymore.  Or even 22 or 25.  I'm 33, almost 34, and I am reminded of that more than ever one night each year when I play in our school's annual fundraiser basketball game.

I used to be a decent athlete.  I've played sports since I was a little kid and played volleyball and basketball in high school.  I've always been pretty athletic, and still am for the most part.  My muscle memory kicks in from years of shooting jump shot after jump shot, and I manage to shoot the ball well enough to score a few points.  What doesn't come back so naturally, however, is my ability to successfully run up and down the court play after play, let alone the agility or quickness that is needed to play such a fast paced game.

For some reason, however, I walk on the court and believe in my heart that I still have the same "moves" as I once did.  I convince myself I can still use a quick crossover dribble to drive to the basket and kiss a layup off the glass.  I convince myself I can move my feet fast enough on defense to challenge a ball handler and possibly even swipe the ball away with one swift motion.

The reality is that I'm not 18. I'm not in high school.  My quickness has long since left me.  I no longer have any "moves" but instead, am happy that I can even move today at all after playing last night.  I may have made a few shots last night, including a three pointer and a nice layup while being fouled, but I aired balled two shots, threw the ball away more than once, and walked up and down the court more than I ran.  Truth be told, my entire body is sore today, a nice reminder that I used muscles that hadn't been used since last year's fundraiser game.

Despite the aches and pains, I still had fun.  I laughed at myself and my colleagues.  I got to remember why I still love the game of basketball after all these years.  That's something I will gladly relieve each year, even if it means I might have to relive it in pain.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Slice of Life: March 10 -- Excellence

Tonight was our school district's annual MAP Banquet, where we recognize students who scored all advanced on last year's MAP assessments.  It's a proud night for me, as I get to witness current and former students earn recognition for their outstanding achievements.  I feel a tremendous sense of pride as I sit and watch our students receive their awards.  I am amazed by their work ethic, dedication, and determination, and feel honored that I had a very small part in their life.  Students leave the middle school and I don't often get to follow their achievements or keep up with their life beyond the two years they spend in my building.  On nights like tonight, however, I get the chance to see just how far they have gone and how much they have accomplished.  We have so much to be proud of in our community, and tonight was a perfect example of that.  While it was great to recognize so many students this evening, there are just as many other students who may not have scored all advanced on the MAP test, but who have still achieved excellence in academics, fine arts, sports, and many other areas.  I am very proud to be able to witness their success.  It's truly an honor and another great reminder of why we do what we do each day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Slice of Life: March 9 -- Proud, Blessed, and Humbled

Today was a busy day, and in many instances, I found myself running from one task to another.  My lunch was cheese and crackers from the vending machine, I talked to several students on the short break I had between meetings, and I frantically scribbled down my list of things to do, leaving most of them undone at the end of the day.  After the final bell rang and bus duty was complete, I sat down at my desk exhausted, but also feeling extremely proud, blessed, and humbled.

The majority of my busy day was spent meeting with my teachers to discuss student data and instructional strategies.  We had some of the most open, honest, and empowering conversations in those meetings today.  I left each feeling a sense of pride in my teachers and students.  My teachers are taking risks, pushing their students toward excellence, and challenging them to take ownership of their own learning.  My students have accepted this challenge, and have experienced growth and success as a result.

It's days like today that I am reminded just how important my job is.  Today was a chance for me to be reminded why I love what I do.  I love talking about learning and helping my teachers grow professionally.  I don't always have as much time in the day to devote to those activities as I would like, but when I do get the time to have those discussions, I realize how proud, blessed, and humbled I am to get to be a leader at our school.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Slice of Life: March 8 -- My Colleagues

This Friday is our school's annual PTO fundraiser.  It's a fun night that features a basketball game between our middle school staff and the Webb City Police Department.  It's the one night each year when I attempt to relive my high school glory days and am reminded that high school was a long time ago.  I always end up getting knocked down while driving to the basket or simply trying to keep up with those who are in much better basketball shape than me.  What's most fun, however, is getting to play with my colleagues.

My job is stressful and busy and difficult.  My teachers and staff members can say the same about the role they fulfill at school each day.  On this night, however, I get to remember just how blessed I am to work with people who are so devoted to our kids that they don't mind spending an evening playing basketball in an effort to raise money to support our students.  We laugh together, cheer for one another, high five each other, and in general, have a good time.  I'm blessed to go to work each day and spend my days making an impact on others' lives.  I am also blessed to get to work with people who make me laugh, lift me up, and cheer me on each day, not just one night a year when we play a game together.

So if you're free Friday night and are in for a good laugh, come to the middle school at 6:30.  I promise you'll be entertained!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Slice of Life: March 7 -- A Difficult Day

Since I'm writing about my everyday life, I have to admit that today was a bit of a rough day.  My son has been under the weather all weekend.  He's been really congested, coughing, and running a slight fever.  I decided to stay home with him today so I could take him to the doctor.  He has bronchiolitis and now has to have breathing treatments every four hours.  He seems to be feeling a little better tonight and at least he is acting happy despite the fact that I know he doesn't feel well.  It's hard to see him sick and even harder when you feel like you don't know what to do to help him feel better.  Since he's so little, he obviously can't tell me what's wrong or what hurts.  As a result, I am left to interpret his cries as best I can.  For now, I'm going to focus on the fact that he is happy and smiling, swinging in his swing.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Slice of Life: March 6 -- Prioritizing

Oh, how I've missed you.  You've never been far away.  In fact, you've been close by, often right by my side.  I hate to admit that I have neglected you.  You've gone unnoticed, unrecognized, even though you have been a constant in my life for quite some time.  I have failed to seek you out.  You have been pushed aside many times as I opted for other things to occupy my time and attention.  Even still, you have always been there, begging me to return.  Somehow, however, I can't seem to make myself.  My eyes are heavy and my mind would rather not have to think, but instead, be captivated by something requiring less thought and attention.  Still, though, you sit there staring at me, and little by little, I find myself missing you.  "Will I have the time?" I ask.  Uncertain of the answer to that question, I can no longer deny that my curiosity has the best of me.  I settle in, decide it's time to begin again.  I grab a cup of coffee, prop up my feet, turn to page one, and begin reading my fist novel since summer.

It's not that I don't love reading.  I truly do.  As I said, I have missed it over the course of the past several months.  Unfortunately, however, it often falls to the bottom of my to-do list.  It gets overlooked or passed up when other options present themselves.  On many occasions, it is met with good intentions, but after a long day, reading becomes my last resort and is met with heavy eyelids that crave sleep.  

This weekend, however, I vowed to make the time to read.  It was not easy.  I carved out little slivers of time here and there, starting and stopping multiple times as I was interrupted by other more important duties.  The book I had hoped to finish is still sitting on my coffee table, with more than half the pages still left unturned.  That's okay, though.  I didn't meet my goal of finishing the book, but I met my goal of reading, of truly setting aside the time rather than making it an afterthought at the end of the day.  

I've learned that in life the things that get done are the things you make time for.  They're the things that you put at the top of your list.  They're the things that keep you up at night if you failed to complete them.  They're the things that you sacrifice and compromise to make sure they happen.  There are many things on my list that fall into this category, but reading hasn't been one of them.  From now on, I'd like to change that.  I'd like to make reading (for enjoyment, not just for learning) one of my daily priorities.  Sure, I still like to read educational articles and books and I enjoy reading non-fiction books that help me live my life with a greater purpose.  Sometimes, however, I just want to read a good, old fashioned novel.  A book read for pleasure.  A book that I can get lost in, that can take me away from the demands of the day.  

Add it to the to-do list.  That list is getting awfully long, but I'm hoping by adding things I love, it won't seem quite so long after all.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Slice of Life: March 5 -- Simple Saturday

Today was a simple Saturday.  Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing too exciting.  In many ways, it's just the type of Saturday I like.  I enjoyed a warm cup of coffee while watching television in my pajamas.  I played with my son, listening to him coo and giggle as he kicked and wiggled around on his play mat.  My husband, son, and I took a drive, not for any particular reason, but just because.  We ate hot cinnamon rolls with glasses of ice cold milk for dessert after dinner.  I read a book while my son slept quietly on my shoulder.

Yes, it was a simple Saturday.




Just the type of Saturday I like.

Slice of Life: March 4 -- My Apologies...

It's 4:21 a.m. on March 5th.  I am holding my little boy, who I had to pick up from daycare yesterday because he had a fever, as I type this slice and admit that I've already missed a day in this 31 day challenge.  I don't know why it struck me at this moment that I had forgotten to slice, but nonetheless, here I am, sitting in the dark, disappointed that I missed my first day of slicing in the three years I have participated in this challenge.  Admittedly, I was distracted yesterday by my son being sick, but that's not an excuse for forgetting to slice.

In my first post I wrote about my busy, exhausting, wonderful life.  Missing a post is life.  It happened.  I can't change it, even though I wish I could.  All I can say is that I will continue to slice this month and will do my best to not miss another day. Until then, I'm going back to bed.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Slice of Life: March 3 -- #TBT

This year I'm trying something new and posting a "Throw Back Thursday" picture and story each Thursday during Slice of Life.  This Thursday's post takes me waaaaay back to my birth.

I was born March 19, 1982, in Carthage, Missouri at McCune Brooks Hospital.  My parents found this picture of me right after my son, Wesley, was born this past November.  Wesley had lots of blond hair just like I did when I was born.  My husband also had a head full of blond hair, so we shouldn't have been surprised when Wesley did, too.  

Wesley has been such a blessing in our lives.  He had a bit of a rough start in life (I'll share more about that in a later post), but he is doing amazing now.  He turned four months old this past Tuesday and today we took him for his four month check-up.  The doctor said he is perfect, except for the fact that he doesn't sleep through the night.  I think she was partially joking about that last part, but we're working on it anyway.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Slice of Life: March 2 -- My New Routine

Yesterday I mentioned my new morning routine.  Thus far I have successfully navigated through three days of this unfamiliar ritual.  Granted, some mornings have been a little less bumpy than others, and I am still adjusting to my 5:00 a.m. wake up call that arrives after a night of less than perfect sleep.

Why the new routine, new early morning alarm, and the loss of sleep?  The answer is simple and oh so complicated all at the same time.

I am a mom.  A relatively new mom.  A mom who is taking her son to daycare for the first time.  A mom, who up until three days ago, relied on her parents, who generously lived with us for eight weeks, to take care of our son when I returned to work.  A mom who was blessed (and honestly, quite spoiled) by these parents.

My morning routine didn't change much when my parents were living with us.  I was getting even less sleep than I am now, but I also didn't have to get my son ready in the morning.  I didn't have to allot time for changing him, dressing him, feeding him, and getting all his things ready for a trip to daycare each morning.  Some mornings, he was still asleep as I left for school in the early morning hours.  Other days, he had just awakened before I set out the door and I got to start my day with a few minutes of sweet baby smiles and giggles.

Now, however, my morning routine could best be described as a delicate dance.  I wake up early so I can get ready before my son wakes up, therefore giving me time to change his diaper, dress him, and feed him before placing him in the hands of my husband, who cares for him and then takes him to our daycare, which opens after I am already required to be at work.

So far, I have managed to get myself ready and my son ready in order to arrive at work on time.  I've yet to have to change my outfit or his due to spit up, I haven't spilled my coffee in my haste to run out the door, and I have yet to deal with crying, fussiness, or general discontentment (on his part or mine).  I am sure, however, that one morning I will face one or all of those challenges that will send my delicate dance spiraling out of control.  Until then, I am going to be thankful for surviving three days of my new morning routine and will savor the happy smiles and giggles I enjoy from my son as we share this new adventure together.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Slice of Life: March 1 -- Another Year of Slicing

I awoke this morning in darkness, enveloped in the warm covers of my bed.  I smiled amidst my grogginess, certain I still had several hours of slumber until my alarm clock sounded the start of another day.  I rolled over, found my phone buried under the covers next to me, and glanced at the time: 4:44 a.m.

Ugh.  Sixteen minutes.  Sixteen minutes until my day would begin.  Sixteen minutes until my quiet peace would be interrupted by the morning rush.

I silently scolded myself for looking at my clock in the first place.  How did the hours pass so quickly?  How could I only have sixteen more minutes of rest?  How could I go back to sleep now, now that my mind was already reeling with thoughts of the day, worries about my seemingly unending to-do list, and wondering how day two of my new morning routine would go (I'll explain more about that in a later blog).

I snoozed until 5:30, then trudged out of bed and began getting ready for school.  I went through the motions of the morning, half asleep and doing my best to snap out of my early morning fog, all while mentally planning out my day:

  • Finish planning tomorrow's staff meeting.
  • Don't forget to reply to the email I received at the end of the day yesterday
  • Work on the schedule for upcoming MAP testing 
  • Call the pharmacy to refill a prescription
  • Participate in tonight's Twitter chat
  • Write Slice of Life post
Slice of Life?  Is that really today?  Is today March 1st?

These questions swirled in my sleepy, foggy brain until I finally convinced myself that it was indeed March 1st and that meant my first "slice" would be beckoning later in the day.  I wish I could say that realization was met with enthusiasm and a certainty surrounding my first blog post.  Unfortunately, if I am being completely honest, my first thought was the same thought that crossed my mind when I first glanced at my phone this morning and saw those numbers staring back at me.  Ugh.

I feel a little embarrassed to admit that feeling.  After all, I am the one who agreed to participate.  After all, I am the principal, the leader, the person who should be motivating and inspiring others to accept this challenge.  I should be filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and joy.  Instead, I felt a twinge of discouragement this morning.  How can I possibly do this again?  Year one was a challenge.  Year two was downright difficult.  But, year three -- what can I possibly write about this year and where will I find the time to devote to this important task?

Those questions were still floating through my mind at 3:28 this afternoon.  I glanced at the clock and made the swift decision to gather my things and head home for the day.  I convinced myself that I could finish my to-do list at home, believing I could be more productive later.  I grabbed my laptop, picked up my phone, fished my keys out of the container on the corner of my desk, turned off the light, and shut the door.  I took a few steps out of my office and stopped in my tracks.  Slice of Life.

I unlocked my office door, flipped on the light, set down at my desk, and opened my laptop.  "I might as well do this now," I thought, as I logged in to my blog and was greeted by the flashing cursor and empty page.  My head that had been so full earlier in the day with things to do was completely empty for topics to write about.  I looked at my past blog entries, searched for a quote, and thought I had found my inspiration for this first post.  As I began writing and words began to fill the empty page, my topic shifted without me even realizing it.  No longer was I writing about how fast time flies or the start of March or even about slicing.  I realized I was writing about life.  My life.  My busy, exhausting, wonderful life.

My long to-do list?  That's busyness and lately, that's my life.  My initial feelings about slicing?  That's exhaustion, a feeling that has recently become one of my constant companions.  Wonderful.  As busy as I am and as tired as I may feel at this moment, wonderful, however, is the best way to describe my life.  It's filled with newness and joy and excitement and wonder that sometimes, unfortunately, I lose sight of when I get caught in the midst of busyness and exhaustion.  It's in those moments that 4:44 a.m. and the thought of "slicing" for thirty-one days is greeted with an almost audible groan.  However, when those moments pass, I realize that the sound of my alarm brings forth a new day full or possibilities and that "slicing" means thirty-one opportunities to share my story, my life with others.

Yes, "slicing" will be hard.  Yes, I'm still feeling a little uncertain.  Yes, I am sure there will be other days when I will greet writing with an inaudible (or perhaps audible) groan.  However, that's life.  It's hard and it's uncertain and it's wonderful all at the same time.  That's life and that's what a Slice of Life is all about.

So here we go.  Day one is in the books.  The first piece is written.  The challenge has been both extended and accepted.  I'm committed and willing.  And, as I type this sentence, a smile has spread across my face.  It's March.  It's a Slice of Life.  And to quote one of my friends, "It's gonna be great!"