Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Life changing magic. #summer #Fwords

This summer has been a summer of life changes, and a summer of magic. My daughter moved across the country, and I accepted a new job in a district closer to my home. I read more, and exercised less. I checked Philadelphia off my bucket list, the Statue of Liberty, and Yankee Stadium. And I connected with so many inspiring school leaders in person, and on Voxer and I learned a ton- my idea bag is full of ideas to start the year!

But I learned something else. About life, and about myself. Anyone who knows me knows I strive for, and struggle with maintaining a healthy work life balance. I tell my staff and my family and friends that it’s a priority, and it is. My move to a new district is an amazing opportunity, and a big piece of my decision was shortening my commute so I could spend time with my family, friends, and on myself.

I think about work life balance all the time. And I’ve come to the realization that it’s probably not something I can ever achieve REALLY… because my work is my passion, I love what I do, who I work with and I can’t shut it off- do I really want to? Or is it more about prioritizing things- work and health and family, so that what matters most gets done.

I’m not alone.

At the National Principals Conference in Philadelphia, there were a few running themes throughout the conference, both in sessions, and in conversations, that has continued all summer.

Prioritize relationships.
Play matters-- for kids and adults.
Work Life Balance and managing all that.
Social media is bad. Social media is good.
Happiness and health.

After the conference, challenges were created and blog posts were written about these themes and more. Read Jessica Hutchison’s post here. Cathy Jacob’s work-life-balance facade post here. And Jessica Cabeen’s post about breaking up with your phone here. And there are more!

One  thing I loved was the challenge to remove all apps from the home screen of my phone so I just see my family.


I don’t have email notifications on my phone, and some of my friends have removed it completely.

The social media struggle is real. Having technology in our pocket means inspiration and learning can happen 24/7, along with interruptions to family time or just me time if I let it.

And the F words.
It’s kind of a secret, but I’ve been reading an amazing book AND discussing it with some other principals. I haven’t posted on Goodreads. But in reality this book has been the  thing that tied all of this together for me this summer.

Wait for it.


It’s the best book! And it’s written in the style of another book I read this year:

Really, they are both about the same thing-- prioritizing things that give you joy and getting rid of things that don’t.

I have been trying to get rid of stuff since January, and in reading Sarah Knight’s book, I realized my mind has been cluttered with so many F words- things I should not be spending time or energy on. And taking time from things that bring me joy.

The other F words.


Those are the things I need to focus on. And so, this summer of F words comes to an end, and another school year is set to begin.

My challenge? Every Friday will be F word Friday! I’m hoping to celebrate and share little wins I have in these areas! I hope you will join me in the F words challenge-- and that can hopefully bring us all some life changing magic!


  1. Now I want to read that book! I can't wait to hear how your new school year goes! I am excited and ready to get to work with the first graders after taking a nice break. I do like to "turn school off" for a bit every year. It helps me to get excited about the whole thing again. I'm always looking for ways to simplify and I have found that is one of the keys to staying positive. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the last few weeks, Jen!

    1. Hi Natasha! Thank you for reading and commenting! The book is hilarious :) and impactful.Have a great back to school! Miss you!

  2. What a great, inspirational post! Our summer sabbatical is key for me. I like doing a little PD over the summer to inspire me for the upcoming year, but I try to not do too much. The best thing about our chosen field is that there is always a new beginning every year...to try new things, meet/work with new people, and most awesome, connect with a new crew of kiddos. Looking forward to working with you, Jen.

    1. Hi Sheila! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It was fun to get back at blogging :) I agree that the summer break to rest and recharge is so important. I'm so excited to be joining the Stoneridge crew, meeting families and kids, and of course working with you! Enjoy the last bit of break!

  3. Thank you so much for your message! I too struggle with turning my brain off from what we do. I love what I do each and every day, looking forward to the struggles and the success stories that each day brings. The "F" words (Friends, Family, Fitness & Fun are something for all of us to focus on so we can be more effective at what we do and feel great each and every day!