Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Embrace "The Beauty of Different" This New Year

Recently, over at UpWorthy, I ran across this 3 minute video from The Beauty of Different.  (There's also a book out there by Karen Walrond with the same name.)

The message is largely for women (and girls!), yet I think it's applicable to just anyone.  The true message:  be you! Be true to you.  Love your life, and love the gifts & talents you have.  That's where confidence comes from.  We've all seen that person with "that glow."  They're all over this video... that glow of sublime happiness.  Of being happy and healthy and in love with your life.

My daughter debated with me that this video isn't "about being green." Technically, she's right.  But, it is about being amazing...and being amazing is about being healthy and happy and delighted by your own "effervescent charm."  And if that isn't environmentally-friendly, I don't know what is!

As we are sitting on the cusp of watching one year end, and another year begin, it seems like the perfect time to go forth and be amazing!!  Happy New Year!

Video from:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOz0DHoMsq8
Photo from https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1544566_629192650473165_987668339_n.jpg

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from GTG

From my house to yours, may your 
Christmas be rich with memories
and overflowing with love!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Go for a Hacker Mindset

How old are you...and how old is Logan LaPlante??  (13, by the way)

Spot on!

I love that his top 8 include:
-exercise                    -diet & nutrition
-time in nature           -contribution & service
-relationships             -recreation
-relation & stress management
-religious & spiritual

What do YOU want to be when you grow up?


Video from http://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

Every year on some radio station or another, I usually hear the run down on the total cost in today's world of "The 12 Days of Christmas."  'Tis the season indeed for that.  This 2012 infographic does a nice job of visually showcasing how pricy that kind of love is in today's $$.  Also fun on the Degree Search blog post is how the price has changed over time.  Inflation certainly takes hold!!

The Cost of True Love: The 12 Days of Christmas [infographic]

Speaking of "The 12 Days of Christmas"...here's what I consider to be the best version e-va!  From Straight No Chaser (an a capalla group that does a great mashup of Christmas tunes here):

Infographic from http://degreesearch.org/blog/the-cost-of-true-love/
Video from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Offsetting Random Acts of Violence with Purposeful Acts of Kindness

This weekend commemorates the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 26 lives were taken senselessly.  Newtown & the nation were horribly shaken, especially during the holiday season.  It's an anniversary that should never be.  I'm still as heartbroken for the families as I was last year.  The Huffington Post article on the anniversary was a particularly thoughtful reflection.

Additionally now, this weekend will become another anniversary of another wretched shooting, this time due to the double murder and suicide on Friday at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

As the country faces unbelievably sad moments such as these (especially during the holiday season), and politicians wrestle with gun laws, the senslessness of it all shines out.  People will be without their people at Christmastime due to the violence of others.  That's just plain wrong and makes you want to do something, yet leaves you feeling powerless as to what to do.

Last year, in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, a movement sprang up to take back power by attacking the fear and injustice--a movement based on spreading the joy and love of the season by "paying it forward."  #26Acts was begun, and it was through the sharing of human kindnesses that hearts began to heal.

Tonight as I was playing the "Santa Elf" role (wrapping presents for teachers, friends & family, & care packages for far-away friends), I was thinking a lot about all of this.  The unexpected surprises that will appear in mailboxes, on front porches, and on teacher desks that will be from me.  We all do this.  It's all a part of sharing the Christmas spirit.  It all helps to awaken the human spirit--theirs, but even more--mine.  

If you are looking for some ways to offset the random acts of violence with some random (or purposeful) acts of kindness, here is a list of some great resources.  May it help your heart grow 3 sizes larger, filled with holiday spirit, much like Dr. Seuss' Grinch's heart did!  May it help remind you of the true reason of the season.

 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar--a clickable calendar with different ideas each day on how you can do something this season to make someone's day.  25 ways to grow your heart, each day of this month!

 Lesson Plans on Random Acts of Kindness--A whole Kindness Notebook, tabbed out by grade level, filled with activities to use in your classroom.  They were compiled by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and are all free--a great kindness, indeed!

 Kindness Videos--Again, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation outdoes itself.  Many of the videos are not only information, but inspirational and thought provoking!  They also have some great monthly calendar & poster resources at their website which may inspire you to do a little something every day.

Images from:
--Sandy Hook Elementary Heart picture from http://northendwaterfront.com/2013/01/north-end-community-holds-candlelight-vigil-to-remember-newtown-shooting-victims-photos/
--Kindness red tag from http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/calendars-and-graphics
--Dr. Seuss Quote heart from http://www.spoolandspoonblog.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's Not Too Late for Hour of Code Week

It's GTG hat-turning time, switching from "eco" to "edtech."  Sometimes, they can be two sides of the same coin. This week, however (given it's Computer Science Education Week), it's heavy-handed on that edtech side. And kids nation wide are loving it!

Hour of CodeTake the kids at Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, for example. Computer teacher Barbara Hawkins has been cross-age pairing students to work on many of the Hour of Code activities this week.  In her classroom, learning comes alive.  (This is right about where teaching comes alive for us teachers!!)

Thousands of teachers nation-wide are doing the same.

If you haven't taken advantage of Hour of Code/Computer Science Education Week--it's not too late.  Here are a number of resources that will assist you on this quest.

What is it?
The Hour of Code is a challenge to teachers/students to try computer science/programming for one hour.


  • Common Sense Media’s “Hour of Code” Offers a Quick Easy Introduction to Computer Coding” --A multitude of resources here
  • So many good resources.  So much coding that needs to happen.  Jump on it!! Code away....today!

Images from
1. http://www.carrollwooddayschool.org/page.cfm?p=323&newsid=510#.UqpWhwXvZME.facebook
2. Video from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU1xS07N-FA

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shop 'Til You Drop

I'm sitting here, a week-and-change after Black Friday and all the ads, incentives, free shipping, & more, looking at my Christmas list (making check marks as I shop -- as any good Santa would do), and I find it all fascinating.

Propaganda, errr, I mean advertising... to the N'th degree!  Sigh.

The day after Thanksgiving I ran across this on Pinterest:

Black Friday, Black Friday, some ecards

There's something more than a tad disturbing with this philosophy!!
Or rather...this REALITY.

For me, one who isn't a fan of shopping on a "good day," Christmas and all that comes with it hits me oddly. I love the lights, the music, the sights, the sounds, the magic & mystique (especially from they eyes of the cherubs)... but the shopping (and yes, admittedly, the spending of money), hits me poorly.  The meaning that's projected is "If you love me, you will spend a boatload of money on me."

Anyone who has been following along the last 4 years knows that materialism doesn't exactly float my boat. I am a big fan of "The Story of Stuff."  I know the value of the dollar.  I have the salary of an independent school teacher, and while we do okay, we're not rolling in the dough.  We don't overtly overly-indulge our 2 children, and yet, they want for not.

We are a middle class family, and my kids have a crew who loves them.
Therefore, we have "stuff."

I feel we are a society over-consumed by consumerism. There's wayyy too much "stuff" out there.  In the world, in the stores, in my own house.  Christmas comes around (for both my kids and I), and I'm hit with the loud thought:  how much more "stuff" do we really need?  I think back to the BIG chit'lin "wants" from last year (from my own home), and I assess & query: "how much were they truly used the last 365 days?" I'm saddened by the probable answer.

Insert "Toys 'R' Us" ad here.  When I saw this advertisement, I knew it was "blog fodder."  As an environmentalist & anti-materialist, I'm more-than-slightly appalled!  Yes, Toys 'R' Us is a mecca (which has overwhelmed me since it first came about in my hometown during my teen years). Yet, this video screams consumerism over environmentalism to the N'th degree.  There are soooo many things wrong here.  Watch and see. (Then read the LiveWell's article "Misguided Toys 'R' Us Ad Makes Nature the Bad Guy.")

So my challenge to you (and yes, to me, as well):  Step away from this ad.  Step away from the Christmas consumerism.  Step toward the light of sanity, and do what you need to do this holiday season that will keep you on the straight and narrow this season!

Delight in the fun, festivities, the humor, the hugs, the lights, the sights, and the sounds, and all the people around.

Images from:
SomeEcard from http://www.whatevo.com/post/Black-Friday-BD868F37CD935E16
"Story of Stuff" pic from http://dariobusch.com/2011/01/the-story-of-stuff/
Shop Till you drop from http://www.myniceprofile.com/girls-45787.html
Meet the Forest pic from http://livewellcolorado.org/livewells-commitment/newsroom/livewell-blog/misguided-toys-r-us-ad-makes-nature-the-bad-guy

Video from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5SXybm6bss

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"How Amazon Stole Christmas"

I found this infographic interesting this week as I've been Amazon-ing through my Christmas list.  What's even more entertaining is the Seuss-esque rhyme associated with the original article over at Direct Marketing News.  Send in the drones and the Prime free shipping!

Infographic from http://www.dmnews.com/infographic-how-amazon-stole-christmas/article/320050/

Monday, December 2, 2013

Still Talking About CNN's 2013 Heroes

Sunday night I curled up on the couch to watch the 2013 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tributes .  The top 10 heroes were highlighted (and you can learn more about them and some of the other nominees here.)  Their stories were telling, heartwarming, and inspiring of hope.  TV you walk away feeling good from (which doesn't happen much any more, these days)!

I've stated before (after the news of the Hero of the Year came out, but before Sunday's show aired) how I was particularly proud of home state eco-man Chad Pregracke.  Well, that didn't stop at his acceptance speech.  He spoke more about it afterwards (and in this clip below) with Anderson Cooper.  Yep!  Illinois environmentalist done good--well done, Chad!

If you missed the tribute, you can watch it again this Saturday, December 7th at 9 pm ET/PT on CNN.

Pic from http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/19/chad-pregracke-of-east-moline-illinois-is-the-2013-cnn-hero-of-the-year/

Video from http://www.cnn.com/video/standard.html?/video/bestoftv/2013/11/29/cnnheroes-chad-pregracke-intv.cnn&video_referrer=