Challenge Accepted (and Completed)

For the first time, I completed the Good Reads Challenge. Sure, 2016 was only the 2nd year I participated, and I only missed my goal by one book in 2015, but it is still my first win.

I honestly attribute this to two things:

  1. Audio books for my long commute
  2. Signum University

2016 Good Reads Challenge Books

About half of these books were read when I audited Modern Fantasy II at Signum or as part of the Mythgard Academy Seminars, which are free scholarly discussions of popular fantasy and science fiction works.

My biggest problem with reading all these books? I want to read MORE books and have challenged myself to read 30 in 2017. With the baby arriving at the end of February however, I’m not sure how I’ll do unless I add all the baby books. Time will tell, however.

A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

2016 was not my favorite year, but it won’t go down as one of the worst (I’m still pretty angry at 2006, and I’m a terrible grudge-holder).

This year, my wife got pregnant—by design, no surprises here folks! In January, we realized it was now or never to start trying to get her pregnant. We had researched sperm banks fertility clinics and the home insemination process for a while, but “now was happening NOW” and we had to go back to our online dating days (we met online) to find the perfect father for our theoretical bundle of joy. Then were the trials and tribulations of two women getting one preggers (look it up if you can’t figure it out).

Continue reading at: The Student Affairs Collective A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

Why “Finding Center”?

I’ve long tried to make this some kind of “professional” blog; mostly due to a deep-seated desire to be “respected and known amongst my peers.” But that’s not me. I LIKE blogging but do my best work when I have a REASON, such as calls for contributors to other sites.

My life does not revolve around higher education. I’m an active Girl Scout volunteer, a wife, a mom to animals, soon-to-be mom to a human, helping establish an Alumni Affiliate for my high school FFA Chapter, and am circling back around to making religion a bigger part of my life. Higher ed is part of me, but it isn’t alone in making up who I am. How can I try to espouse the life mottoes of “Life shouldn’t be complicated” and “Be Prepared” when I fragment parts of my world?

“To make a long story even longer” (to quote my father), I turned toward religion as I thought about the reframe for this blog and came back to a symbol I embraced quite  a few years ago as the symbolic representation of my religion: The 7-circut labyrinth

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Photo credit: A L A N A via Foter.com / CC BY

A labyrinth has a single path leading to a single goal, but you can’t see what’s up ahead, and you loop back upon yourself, but never in quite the same way. I have never found a better symbol for one’s life path. Hopefully, by taking it as the symbol of this blog, I will be able to make something of this, even if no one else reads it (although I DO want people to read it!).

#SACommits–“Recognizing Myself”

I’ve contributed another post to the Student Affairs Collective blog, this time as part of #SACommits: a project reducing the stigma of mental illness by talking about it.

In 1994, I was a high school Freshman. My arms and wrists were covered in scratches and small cuts. I was convinced the world would be better off without me. I just wanted to go away, be alone, and not bother or be bothered by other people.

Keep reading at The Student Affairs Collective » #SACommits – Recognizing Myself.

SAReflects–“Life is Like The Lord of the Rings”

In January, I contributed to a series about Authenticity on the Student Affairs Collective blog:

I wrote the better part of this not really knowing where I was going with the post. I only know that, when I jumped into a Twitter conversation the other day about balance, how we present ourselves to others, and being liked by our students and colleagues, I felt the need for our student affairs community to talk about the genuine struggle that is the human condition.  Then, I wrote something in my very last paragraph which has made me completely re-work this post. Please continue to read, I promise it will only get a little geeky around here.

Keep reading at The Student Affairs Collective » Life is Like The Lord of the Rings.

I am my Label(s)

And, I’m not my labels.

Recently, I began a Supervisory Leadership program which uses the DiSC personality assessment. I tested as pretty solid Conscientious  which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the tool or who reads the description. Now, please know that this was geared specifically toward my work life–I wouldn’t be surprised if I tested slightly toward Steadiness (possibly a CS) if I took the test in a more all-encompassing manner. As we discussed our DiSC Personality, I found that I was also thinking about My MBTI, Multiple Intelligence, and True Color (see the bottom of the post for graphics of each). Looking at all of this together, one can get a fairly solid idea of how I should act in many situations, the kind of work I do, and the types of relationships I have.

Labels are a difficult concept to me. A lot of people hate personality assessments because they don’t tell a complete story, that labels are only a small part of who a person is. I absolutely agree, but only to a point. As I told Amma when I answered her call for stories from Introverts, I’m also shy–painfully so–and have anxiety/depression, which makes my exponentially more than most other I’s I know. A single label of Introvert isn’t enough for someone to really understand me

I think there is just as much danger in over-labeling as there is in not understanding the labels we hold. Once, at a high school/college LGBT conference, I attended a popular session on Labels, Identity & the Kinsey scale.  The facilitator asked for our sexuality/gender identity labels as part of the intro piece. Some of the participants had labels that were 10 or more words long. I’ve since grown to understand just how fluid sex/sexuality/gender (like many things in our lives) is, but still feel some of these young people (most of us were between 16 and 20) had labeled themselves into the tiniest box ever.

I’m relatively comfortable with who I am, which comes from trying to 1) understand the various labels I identify with & 2)understand what each means to both me and those around me. When I say that I identify as a feminine woman, I mean that I am relatively comfortable with my female body, and wear feminine clothing. I rarely however wear skirts or dresses, and will only put on makeup if I’m going to a wedding or such. To some people however, I am “not very feminine” due to my aversion to dressing up and being able to count my shoes on my own two hands. I know this, and [mostly] embrace who I am because I combine all of the various “me’s” into a single person. My labels do identify me, but only because I let them work together to create a whole, unrestricted picture.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

True Color’s Test – What is your TRUE personality?
Gold

People who are GOLD as their primary color like to fit in or belong. They tend to be reliable people who enjoy serving others. Things that are very important to them are tradition, home and family. They need order and structure, and are loyal and generous by nature. They are comfortable with rules and routine, and require punctuality and organization. They don’t like waste or change. They tend to plan ahead.

Facebook quizzes & Blog quizzes by Quibblo

New Year, New Process

For the last two years, I participated in One Word 365. 2013 focused on Here. Now; 2012 was about Focus. I’ve been thinking about what word I want to pick for 2014, or even if I WANT to participate this year, as I don’t feel I did a very good job the last two years.

The other day, I made plans with a friend I haven’t seen since my wedding almost a year and a half ago. We’ve lived in the same town since June; there is no excuse for that. When I do actually make plans, I become overwhelmed because I’ve made plans every weekend for an entire month or two (this includes non-friend plans like Girl Scouts, seeing family, errands, etc). I’ve been living under two extremes, and it’s not healthy for oh so many reasons.

So, I am making an actual, bona fide Resolution this year: I will see at least one friend per month. This resolution has a couple of rules attached to it to make it measurable:

  • At least one of us must have specifically brought up the idea of seeing each other; it can’t be a chance meeting
  • This is in addition to the 2 trips I already have planned with friends
  • At least half those I reach out to must be people I don’t already see on a semi-regular basis

So far, I’m off to a good start–the next 2 weeks are actually pretty full: Thursday night, 2 different people on Sunday, and next Friday. February has one definite and 2 tentative plans; March has one definite plan.