Facing My Travel Fears

Facing My Travel Fears

Wanderlust: a strong desire to travel. There has always been this deep desire in my heart to travel. For some reason, hopping on an airplane is exhilarating and all part of the adventure. Once upon a time, I even tried to convince my dad into investing in a new business venture for me – travel blogging. He didn’t quite like the idea, as he didn’t know how he was benefiting from the investment – I guess who could blame him! However, I need to let you all in on a little secret, airports terrify me. Let me say that again airports terrify me, not the flights – airports.

I’m Scared of Airports

Travel day brings an elevated level of stress. Every time I step into an airport, I immediately enter a time warp back to when I was 13 years old. My siblings and I were surprised with a trip to Walt Disney World. As we were making our way to our connecting flight in Atlanta, I took a wrong turn and ended up on a tram in the wrong direction of my family. As the tram was pulling away, I noticed my family wasn’t on the tram and I could see my dad’s face through the tram’s windows. With the help of a guardian angel at the next tram stop, I sprinted in the right direction trying to find my family (I have NO sense of direction) and there my dad was sprinting towards the tram stop.

Here I am 30-plus years after this traumatizing event for a junior high student and travel anxiety for me is still incredibly REAL. My family will attest to this anxiety and in all reality, they do not help in combating this fear. It is incredibly difficult to experience new places with such a fear of airports, but I can honestly say that the excitement doesn’t start until I am waiting at the gate.

Trying to Ease my Travel Anxiety

My anxiety starts creeping up a few days before the flights with insomnia. For how prepared to fly I believe I am the list below seeps into my mind.

  • Worry about proper documentation
  • The security lines
  • Crowds and chaos
  • Other anxious people running around

At the airports, I am very irritable and have an overall tense feeling until I reach the boarding gate and walk down the passenger bridge to the airplane. I constantly remind myself to not give in to the anxiety of airports, however, that is easier said than done.

I am currently blogging from an airport, waiting for my next flight. I just returned from a family vacation, where we had two international flights. In a few short hours, I will go through the entire airport process for a domestic flight to a leadership conference. To combat some anxiety (or at least try) I have signed up for travel alerts on the Carriers app, I have another book to read, I have calming music downloaded, and a journal to record my thoughts. However, probably the most important way to relieve anxiety is to not get caught up in the chaos around me.

Adventure is out there, and it is always waiting for me just beyond the boarding gate – however, I must conquer the airport process first.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Making Summer Memories

Making Summer Memories

Summer has always been my season. Growing up I spent my time riding bikes, and swimming, but most evenings were spent at the softball fields. Nostalgia sweeps over me with the small summer moments of eating vegetables straight from the garden with my dad, picking peonies with my neighbor lady and roller skating on our sidewalks.

Now 40+ years later, I am reminded of those simple moments quite often, and I still love everything about the summer — even the summer heat!

For most of us, the school year is over which translates to summer sun and summer activities. As summer begins, whatever your plans may be I encourage you to make the most of each opportunity. We all have those memories that are brought up around the supper tables, go and create those memories. However, do not forget the sweet summer moments that remind us we do not always have to be elaborate in our plans to make lasting memories.

What I’m Looking Forward to This Summer

While I am looking forward to the norms of the summer, I am sharing a few of my favorite simple things of the summer.

  • Deck sitting, especially under the stars and lights, where the quiet encompasses me.
  • Walking 18,000 steps following my son on his golf outings.
  • Sun brewed iced tea, three to five hours in the bright sun brings a mellower taste to my favorite beverage.
  • Corn on the cob and what is even better, grilled corn on the cob. Our friends introduced this to our family and even our kids love it.
  • Tomato sandwiches – you know the BLTs without the LTs, these are absolutely delicious in the summer. On a side note, I refuse to eat these in the other seasons as the tomatoes are not fresh.
  • Kohlrabi is another favorite garden pick which was introduced by my dad.
  • Walking sheep with my kids.
  • Family Farmer’s Market adventures, what could be better in the summer? Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh flowers and great conversations.

The first signs of summer are upon our family, with the most obvious being that I’m unfazed by time and days of the week. Still I am excited to create a full summer of memories while being intentional about the simple things of summer.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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You Are Loved, You Have a Purpose, You are an Inspiration

You Are Loved, You Have a Purpose, You are an Inspiration

Dear Reader:

You have been on my heart lately. I am often curious as to who actually reads my blogs. Each new month, I write, I delete, I rewrite, with the vision of you, my audience, in my heart as I prepare to share our stories. And while each month I share a small piece of my heart, this month has a different approach.

I am sure you have felt a wide range of emotions today. Maybe your day has been overflowing with blessings and joys. Maybe your day has been one stressful situation followed by another. Maybe you are completely exhausted. Maybe you are overwhelmed with grief. Maybe you are feeling inspired. Maybe you are filled with anticipation.

A Message to Readers

My dear reader, it doesn’t matter the stage of life you are in: the 20-something college student, the working parent, the single parent, the grandparent, the stay-at-home parent, or whatever the role, each day brings both joys and doubts. Each decade brings you new joys, new trials and tribulations, and new stories. And my hope is that each one of you can take away one small nugget of inspiration each new month.

You are Loved. You have a Purpose. You are an Inspiration. While it may be difficult for many to truly communicate their purpose, I do believe we all want our lives to leave an impact, to create a positive change. Your purpose doesn’t come out of the blue, it comes from all of the meaningful places and connections you have already been to. These moments are part of your story and your story is inspiring. Trust me, whether you realize it or not, I am inspired by you, my audience.

To the single parent, you inspire me in more ways than you will ever know. I have a high regard for your ability to wear the parent hat, the goofy hat, the nurse hat, the hard hat, the teacher hat, and the list goes on and on AND you do it with dignity and grace.

To the working parent, you have my heart. It is difficult to maintain a home while giving of yourself to your career. While there may be days of complete exhaustion, you still muster every ounce of time and give to those around you — you inspire me.

To the grandparent, oh I just love you all. Your selfless demeanor, and the giving of your time are so greatly appreciated. Yet, the best part is your willingness to share the many stories and experiences you have lived. You have a purpose and are loved.

To the 20-something adult, you are loved. It may seem as if life is constantly bringing about change, or figuring out how to make ends meet each month, or even deciding what you want to do with your life — live your best life. From my experience, the 20s were ridiculously challenging, but I also experienced the best moments of my life during this decade. You inspire me, even now well into middle-age.

To friends, you are important as ever. It does not matter if you are a lifelong friend or a later in life friend, you make life more enjoyable. Friends are beautiful people who listen, who uplift, who strengthen, who even can calm overreactions. You have a purpose and you inspire me.

A Standing Ovation

One of my favorite quotes from Auggie Pullman in the movie Wonder is, “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

I may not be able to give each one of you a standing ovation, but I want you to know:

You are LOVED.

You have a PURPOSE.

You are an INSPIRATION.

Sincerely,

Shelly

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Finding Balance in a Busy Schedule

Finding Balance in a Busy Schedule

Do you ever just want to quit? Your heart is overwhelmed, the busyness is all-consuming. There are definitely seasons like this and for some, it happens more than others. Some of us can stop and look at the flowers, for others we stop, pick the flowers, run home, cut the stems at an angle and then arrange them in a vase.

Pause for a minute.

My parents rushed us from our weekend basketball tournaments to dropping my sibling off at volleyball practice, while I needed to get to my piano lesson before participating in both our late-night basketball games. My parents’ vehicle looks like a disaster from fast food wrappers to water bottles. Don’t forget our backpacks as my siblings and I try to catch up on homework in between activities.

If we believe our hearts are overwhelmed and busyness is consuming us…what about our own teenagers?

Overscheduled

Most days, if not all, I see teenagers (mine included) rushing from one activity to the next, overextending themselves in pursuit of social, academic, athletic and leadership opportunities. And, why? Because of grades; because of college; because they are told they have to; because they are told if they do not participate in year-round sports they will not find success; because their friends are doing it; because ______ (fill in the blank).

It is no wonder our teenagers are stressed both physically and mentally.

When I look back at the start of the global pandemic, everything just stopped. We were forced to declutter our lives. And honestly, some of those moments during the pandemic I hold closest to my heart. Our family spent time together completing puzzles, watching birds, gardening (or at least trying to garden) and even cooking. As we navigate into the new normal, it seems as if society is reverting back to rushing around from activity to activity. Our teenagers feel the pressure from all different angles to maintain their hectic schedules with no downtime.

Finding Balance

With our own overscheduled children, healthy conversations about commitments and truly understanding their passions helps create a healthy balance. Around our home, we also extend grace. If our kids want to sleep in, we let them sleep in. Their growing bodies need it. We protect two weeks of our summer where there can only be family commitments — no academic, athletic or social commitments. We talk about strategies to combat stress, especially when busy days occur.

As parents, we often step back and reflect on our own lives. My challenge is for parents to truly step back and reflect on the commitments they are asking of their children. Are the commitments we are asking of our children truly bringing them joy and providing the time to discover who they are?

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Doing A Social Media Detox

Doing A Social Media Detox

The word detox, do you all remember when it was associated with the latest cleansing fad? Now the word is more often associated with stepping away from technology – digital detox. I often wonder how difficult it is to step away from technology? Our phones are our alarm clocks, our calendars, our calorie trackers, our way of communication. Even my husband and I often wonder how school administrators completed tasks for their jobs pre-cell phones.

At the start of every digital citizenship unit, I share this with my students, “According to The Journal of American Medical Association of Pediatrics non-school related technology use doubled to 7.7 hours a day of screen time during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic screen time was 3.8 hours a day.” When reflecting upon this, most students agree, but they do not want to be the person who spends that much time on their devices.

I admit it, I visit multiple social media sites daily. I mindlessly scroll through sites and get sucked into the rabbit holes of information. We absolutely battle the screen time usage around our home; even though we have multiple educational discussions with our children about the importance of healthy screen time balance. We discuss how social media can be positive, yet there can also be much negativity surrounding it.

Which leads me to a question I ponder often, where or how do we find the balance?

Last week a dear friend texted me to let me know she deactivated her social media account. She continued that she did not need the noise in her life and it has allowed her to be fully present in the moment. Wow, that was a huge light bulb. If my friend could leave social media, I could hit the pause button. Actually, I did it. I hit the pause button on my personal accounts and put a time limit on my professional accounts. However, most importantly, I hope to encourage my children to delete one social media app for a time period.

A social media detox is going to shock my system. However, I am looking forward to allowing myself to be bored (to be really bored), to take out a piece of paper, to create or to pick up yoga. This time is going to allow me to be more present, allow me to reconnect with my surroundings. This type of detox, I hope, will be a time of being mindful.

Who knows maybe this detox will be life-changing, maybe not. At the minimum, I know I am creating more sensible boundaries on how I spend my time online and truly making personal connections.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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How I Work to Inspire High School Students

How I Work to Inspire High School Students

As a principal, my husband gives many talks to the students throughout the year. Most times the talks are informational and to remind students of expectations but there are times when the talks are inspirational. During any one of these talks the students and teachers really see the heart of my husband. My favorite talk, however, is each year when my husband talks to the senior class. The words are never the same, yet the message is. I always get a little choked up when he ends this discussion, “Just remember, I love you all.” Yet, what gets to me the most is he not only encourages students to graduate from Milford High School with their high school diploma but also with a passion, a purpose and an employable skill.

Passion, Purpose, and Skill

With a passion, a purpose and an employable skill. My husband articulates this sentiment so well, yet this is my belief. This is my colleagues down the hall belief. What is really crazy about this, is an article I read about a month ago, suggesting employers today are starting to value skills over degrees. This article made it very clear degrees are still important, however, the skills prospective employees possess may have a bigger impact during the hiring process. This made me think even more. What can I do as a teacher to better connect students with their values and their employability skills?

A Love For Teaching

I love the teaching profession because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. I get the opportunity to have discussions with students on the importance of finding a passion. The importance of starting to develop or find their purpose. And even, teach about values and how these values develop into passionate employees.

Success in high school looks completely different to each student I serve. Even with my passion for teaching, I need a shift in my thinking. I need to encourage failure more and more inside my classroom. Allow students to develop more self-awareness of their values and apply these in the learning process. I need to encourage students to enjoy the learning process rather than focus on the grade. I need to encourage all of this while also helping my students find relevant experiences to connect their values and beliefs to their learning. Most importantly, I want my students to understand that no matter where their next stage in life takes them, the skills and passions they developed in high school will help them continue to live out their purpose. Through all of this, I can truly support our principal’s sentiments of graduating high school with a passion, purpose and employable skill.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Finding Joy in Cooking

Finding Joy in Cooking

I find joy in many aspects of my life. However, at the beginning of December, I was DONE. I was done finding joy. The joy in cooking, that is. I LOATHE cooking. Who in the world should expect a healthy meal for lunch, supper and breakfast, anyways? I hate recipes that tell you what to do and then all of a sudden it burns. I hate searching Google or looking through Pinterest boards with perfectly made meals. Here’s a thought, maybe I should start my own Pinterest board, “The Epic Recipe Fails” or “This Board of Really Cool Meals That Never Turn Out.” All of this over a pan of burnt muffins. At that moment (which also includes many days) for me, there is no joy in cooking.

Cooking Failures

I have had a long line of baking and cooking failures. There is the squash soup, the black-looking potato soup, the evaporated beef (a.k.a. roast), and the infamous “iPad brownie”.

There is my friend who can just dump food and spices together and her meals turn out amazingly. And then there is my husband’s secretary who can take any array of leftovers and create a delicious concoction. I have tried these cooking techniques but they don’t bode well for my family.

How many times could one person – namely me – possibly fail. There has to be a point where success shows up, to encourage me to keep trying. Just as Julia Child said, “Cooking is one failure after another, and that’s how you finally learn.”

Finding Success in the Kitchen

I keep failing over and over. However, for some odd reason, my family likes healthy lunches and suppers and for that reason, I keep trying.

Over Christmas break, a successful evening in the kitchen finally happened. During the meal prep process, I was so excited about how well everything was going, I even set out our table with our best chinaware. I actually prepared a meal with all the food groups represented for our family. The best part of the evening was the rave reviews from my children and husband. The only complaint, I did not season the mashed potatoes with enough salt. I actually needed the success of this night to encourage me to keep getting back into the kitchen. A tiny amount of joy.

Fail over and over and at some point, success will happen.

Two days later, I went back to the kitchen to try creating another meal. My mind was filled with a little apprehension as I prepared a prime rib meal for the first time. I even set out our best chinaware again. Success happened again. As we gathered around the table, there were smiles and my heart was filled with a small amount of joy.

I will fail, fail again, and then will fail some more. However, at some point, there will be a tiny cooking success. And at this moment there is actually joy in cooking.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Continuing My Mom’s Tradition of Giving

Continuing My Mom’s Tradition of Giving

Generosity. As defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: characterized by a noble or kindly spirit; having an abundance.

As we begin this holiday season, this third season without my mom, I can feel the presence of my mom working through my hands and my heart.

Appreciating What My Mom Did for Us

Growing up, did my mom go overboard during the Christmas season? Absolutely. Did she go overboard with the gifts? Absolutely. Did she go overboard with food? Oh goodness, absolutely. Did she go overboard in the generosity department? Absolutely. And, this is why I am grateful. You see, I may not have appreciated my mom’s gift prior to being an adult, but she was extremely generous with the giving of her time and quilting.

One Christmas mom quilted 13 quilts for every person in our family. The prior Christmas she created 11 different quilts for a family of 12. She also created one special quilt to be given to each aunt on my dad’s side for 11 consecutive years. Before her illness, she also found time to spend with her sisters and mom making quilts. Generosity in the purest form.

How Quilting Keeps Me Connected to My Mom

It took me well into my adult life to fully appreciate the detail, the time, and the love it took to make a single quilt. My mom tried to teach me multiple times to quilt…I just did not have the patience. I did however become a pro at pressing material. Mom also sat down with both of our girls to teach them the basics of sewing.

Unbeknownst to us, this was all part of a bigger plan that would show up years later. I am far from being the master quilter, but I am trying. With the help of a dear friend, who loves to quilt and shows an exuberant amount of patience, I jumped the fear hurdle. I am not sure if it was the daunting idea of such a huge project, but I pulled out my mom’s sewing machine and her material to make a quilt book for a little girl who is incredibly special to our family.

Making Quilts of My Own

Just as my mom gave of her time to make beautiful quilts, I know it is not about the quilt itself. I realize it is all about the quality time I am spending with my daughter and friend. It is about the imperfect sewing lines that make this project special. It is about the smile I envision on Nicklyn’s face when she plays with her quiet book as I make each cut, sew each piece or even use the seam ripper. It is about the love in my hands and the joy in my heart, knowing I am creating something special, which is exactly what my mom did each new year.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Helping Our Kids Understand They Can Do Hard Things

Helping Our Kids Understand They Can Do Hard Things

There is a sign above my classroom door: “You Can Do Hard Things”. I see it every time I look up from my desk, walking around my classroom, or standing at the front of the room. The past handful of weeks, this statement has really struck a nerve with me. I find myself gazing at it and really focusing on those five little words. You. Can. Do. Hard. Things.

Doing the Hard Things

My husband definitely is doing the hard things. He balances many roles but the most important is being a dad, husband and principal all while he pursues an EdD. He is doing the hard things, however, the foundation of everything he does stems from one word: love. My husband loves all the roles he has and he understands the big picture.

He believes every student should leave Milford High School with a passion, purpose and one employable job skill. He does the hard things day-in and day-out even when his family does not see it. Yet, he knows he must model it not only for his family but also for the staff and students at Milford High School.

Have We Made Things Too Easy?

I often wonder, in today’s world, if we are lowering our expectations of our teenagers. Or have our teenagers lowered their expectations, knowing they can achieve the lower standard? It is becoming increasingly apparent that failing is not an option anymore. In general, our teenagers are afraid to fail.

So yes! Yes, our teenagers can do hard things. Here’s the deal, we should expect our kids to do hard things. The small hard things that we expect our kids to do today are going to help them develop the discipline needed to do those big hard things in the future. We should have the expectation that our kids can do the hard things asked of them. We can expect our kids to make their beds each day, turn in their homework on time, fail a project, or sit on the bench, but we can expect our kids to try and to ultimately care.

To do this, first though, as a parent, I had to learn to let go of fear. I remember teaching our kids how to ride a bike. At some point, I stepped away and let them ride down the street without me running behind them. Just like letting our kids bike, I had to quit being a band-aid for them. I had to let go of what could go wrong. I had to start thinking about what could go right.

Don’t Be Afraid to Push Your Kids to Do the Hard Things

Next, as parents we have to intentionally train our kids to do hard things. This is a great way to develop perseverance. But not only should we train them, but we also have to have tough, truthful conversations. We cannot sugar coat the demands of life. Life is hard. Growing up is hard. Having truthful conversations will teach our kids that life is always going to throw hard situations at them and that they may fail, they just cannot try. Hard work is part of life and is something that they cannot shy away from.

This parenting gig is hard. Even though we model doing hard things, we love that we can teach our kids to face life’s circumstances with a “what could go right mindset”. And somewhere in the middle of the hard things, our kids are going to find and pursue a passion and ultimately, they are going to realize that those hard things make the deepest impact on others.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Lessons Learned from Injury

Lessons Learned from Injury

Two weeks ago our middle daughter broke her hand during a high school softball game. The sport she absolutely loves. That night I instantly knew something was wrong when she pulled herself from the game and said, “Mom, I cannot get my glove on.”

Going from Manager to Mom

As her high school softball coach, my mind went straight to manager mode. My assistant coach and I quickly figured out who to sub and how to rearrange the defense.

As her mom, I quietly panicked looking at the tears in my daughter’s eyes. I encouraged my husband to take our daughter to the ER. Luckily for us, a local nurse happened to be at the game and she calmed our daughter down… me, not so much.

When I phoned my husband after the game, he and our daughter were waiting for a soft cast to be set. I asked how she handled the news and my husband replied, “As best as possible with a broken hand. However, Addi said she will be the best dugout leader possible.”

What My Daughter’s Injury Taught Us

Just then I realized this injury was supposed to happen. All summer we have discussed leadership as a journey not a destination. We discussed in her leadership journey she will find her style of leadership, she will learn that actions speak louder than words, the journey will be lonely at times but ultimately you want to learn to lead someone to the person they can be, not the person they are today.

This injury forced her to:

  • Go outside of her comfort zone
  • Practice servant leadership skills (something that was not her strength)
  • Seek other opportunities to be an active team member

Her injury has encouraged me by:

  • The valuable questions she is asking
  • Watching her action
  • Listening to her words

How to Be a Good Leader

Leadership is not always going to be joys and mountain tops. Leadership is full of adversities or challenges, leadership is full of making difficult decisions. Yet, the leadership journey is full of moments of growth. The one thing I am absolutely positive about, my leadership style is nothing like my daughter’s. Yet, she has my heart. In all reality, this is her journey, not ours. Her dad and I are here to encourage and challenge her to make those around her be the best person they can become.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Recognizing My Gift is Joy

Recognizing My Gift is Joy

Today I started the day out in a rush. I hit my snooze button for an extra 30 minutes. I took a little longer to put makeup on, brush my teeth and walk out the door. Little did I know a handful of colored circles with wobbly lines would change my day.

Needing to Slow Down

Once I arrived at school it seemed as if I had left my checklist completely unattended the day before and there were already six new items to check off before the warning bell rang. To start the day, there was a tech issue in the Spanish classroom and I explained in my best Spanish, “Yo estoy rapido en la mañana!” All the students looked at me with a look of confusion. The actual Spanish teacher explained, “I was in a hurry this morning.”

My day started out in a rush and feeling behind. I kept reminding myself I needed that extra sleep and time this morning just to prepare myself for the day. I kept focusing on the big picture of the day. I wanted to control what needed to be checked off on my list and became very frustrated when I remembered things to keep adding to this list. At one point in the morning, my daughter kindly asked, “Mom, do you need me to help you today? You seem so rushed.”

It’s the Little Things that Matter

And before I knew it, I was abruptly reminded at about 8:30, 9:15, 10:20 and then again at 11:10, that the little things are what bring us joy. Two text messages, a reminder that a “to do” list is overrated, a “this is so cool” comment from a seventh-grader, and the excited “oohs” from kindergarteners.

Yes, four times I was reminded to look at the simple, little things. I don’t think I was intentionally ignoring the small moments of joy, I just think I wasn’t “seeing” those moments. The fourth reminder came from my little kindergartener friends. They showed me joy is right in front of me, they showed me simplicity brings joy. In my small time frame with kindergarteners today, I brought joy to them by showing them how to color little circles with wobbly lines using technology. Yet, they reminded me of my life word — joy.

“Your Gift is Joy”

Later on in the day, I was teaching my Intro to Business students a lesson on leadership and a quote from my mom popped up on one of the slides, which I had forgotten I had typed. My mom told me prior to her passing away, “Shelly your gift is joy, share it daily with your students.” It took me everything to hold back tears.

My day needed to start out in a hurry, because I needed to be reminded of the joy the simple/little things bring us in life. Some days I get caught up looking at the big picture, looking at the big goal, I forget it is about the small things that we do that allow us to have the greatest impact on those around us. I am thankful for those wobbly colored circles as they reminded me that my greatest gift is the joy I share with others.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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Sending Our Daughter Off to College

Sending Our Daughter Off to College

“Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught to them.” – Jonas Salk

As we walk the path of parenting, I’m sure you’ve read or heard this quote many times. Lately, a version of this quote has been on my heart. My husband and I are preparing to send our oldest daughter back to college. Not only is she going back to college, but she’s also moving into an apartment and we fully recognize she won’t be moving back home next year.

Preparing for the Change

Is my 40-something heart ready for this? I’m not sure. I know, though, that this is the circle of life, and we prepare our children and ourselves for this time. I remember whispering to our three-month old daughter that I would teach her the tools to keep her grounded but when the time came, I would give her the wings of independence.

For nearly 20 years, what we’ve taught her has been deeply rooted in faith, hard work, joy and wanderlust. And now, I must hold up the other end of the deal and let her fly. She’s more than ready, but my heart is still heavy and full of joy.

The Transition at Home

Then I look at our other two children and how much they’ve loved having their sister home this summer. They’ll also have an adjustment period. Our sophomore daughter will no longer have those extra clothes and shoes around the house. She’ll be upgraded to oldest sibling status and her responsibilities will change. She’ll get the opportunity to be the chauffeur for her brother—just like her older sister did for her.

Our junior high son will tell you he’s taking over his sister’s room immediately, but deep down he feels as if his best friend is moving out again. He’s going to miss his older sister taking him places and paying for him. Yet, he’s excited to have more hot water in our home.

Just like one of my best friends, my husband just keeps encouraging me. This is the way it should be. We just have to trust. Our oldest’s wings are ready to fly. Yet, we know she has her roots and will find home for supper, her siblings’ events or a weekend.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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