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Bring More Joy To Your Life: Happiness Hacks November 2017

Bring Joy To Your Life: Happiness Hacks November 2017

November FLEW by – one minute I’m sneaking Halloween candy, and the next I’m boxing up cornucopias and hanging outdoor Christmas lights! Despite the speed with which I flipped my Hay House affirmation calendar pages, November definitely was a month that brought joy to my life! Surrounded by new adventures, old friends, and loving family, I found joy from California to Washington D.C., and I do wish that my November happiness hacks bring a little joy to your life, too.

Happiness Hacks For November 2017: Time To Travel

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Sunsets on Carmel Beach are always spectacular.

I love traveling. I hate airplane flights – especially ones over water. This has been my discomfort spot for as long as I can remember, and definitely where I need to put growth mindset into action.

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Presenting on Hyperdocs at the TGC Educator Summit in Washington, D.C.

This November, I took trips to Carmel, California, Washington D.C. and St. Louis, MO. One of my happiness hacks, when I travel, is to take something from home that makes my day start on the right note: coffee. I travel with either a plastic pour over drip coffee filter or a portable French-press in a travel mug. All I need is a baggie of my favorite ground coffee, some hot water and I’m starting my day off just like at home! Note to self: check hotel cups carefully before heating water in hotel microwave. I nearly evacuated the 24th floor in St. Louis after smoking out my microwave at 6 am – who knew there were metal bands around PAPER coffee cups?

st louis view

Happiness Hacks For November 2017: Happy At Home

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My babies = bring joy to November.

It’s my daughter’s senior year in college, and so far I’ve been able to get her home for every Thanksgiving. Having her live far away has had its challenges, for sure – but the blessing of devoted family time when she comes home definitely takes a bit of the sting out. Besides our daughter coming home, we filled our house with special aunts and uncles and cousins and dogs…nothing fancy or elaborate, just time together to laugh and share the small moments of life since we were last together. One thing I’ve learned is not to sweat the details about family gatherings, and to accept all the help that is lovingly offered. There is plenty of time during the year when we are lost in our daily routine, and to just relax into the comfort of loved ones is an easy happiness hack to accomplish.

Happiness Hacks For November 2017: A Bit Of Reading Time

I met my Goodreads goal of completing 37 books in 2017! Making reading for pleasure a priority has brought so much simple joy into my life-it’s like channeling all those comforting childhood moments when I would find a space to read and immerse myself in imagination. This month I completed Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’ve got several of Pam Houston’s novels on my shelves and considering she’s a local UC Davis author, I jumped in. Her realistic fictional short stories about love and life in and out of complicated relationships were easy to read, and just the right size to complete one or two in a sitting. And don’t worry if you’re not a cowboy fan – the emotions are relatable despite any longing for campfires and horseback rides! The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one of those books that has been recommended by so many people that I was getting embarrassed to say I haven’t read it. Like so many, I whipped through her tale of two French sisters battling during WW2 in vastly different ways. I can’t say that the writing itself was anything too breathtaking, but Hannah manages to carry the reader along an expansive track of the WW2 timeline without losing interest or momentum.I’m currently reading:  Homestead: Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility by Jane Kirkpatrick (love her pioneer stories) and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (must read her latest, too!) – with a dash of Wonder by R.J. Palacio ( I so need to read more YA lit!=) just to mix it up. I’ll finish these three by the end of 2017 just so I get to an even 40!

Happiness Hacks For November 2017: Wise Words

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St. Louis sunrise over the Mississippi River from my hotel room – a perfect reminder to be present.

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers/writers – Katrina Kenison. She writes her blog, A Gift of An Ordinary Day, at www.katrinakenison.com. I’ve read all of her books, and absolutely absorb every word she writes. This month her post, “A Blessing For Deeper Knowing”, really made me stop and think deeply about who I am and how I integrate into the world around me. She writes, “This work of knowing begins anew each day, with our own quiet recommitment to the truth of the present moment. And truth, of course, begins with me: the truth of who I really am, the truth of what I say and do, the truth of the consequences of every choice I make. So it is for each of us.” Definitely, check out her words-I just know you’ll feel inspired.

Happiness Hacks For November 2017: Teacher Hacks

Along with a month of travel, November was a month of presentations – for my district on Inquiry Learning, for the Teachers for Global Classrooms cohort on Using Hyperdocs, and for the National Council For Teachers of English on Recapturing The Love of Teaching Through Blogging and Social Media. You can see my presentations here:

Inquiry Learning

Using Hyperdocs

Recapturing The Love of Teaching Through Blogging and Social Media

I’m loving working with teachers and districts lately – if you’re interested in having me come to your area, please contact me.

I hope these happiness hacks help you add a bit more joy to your month – have a happy holiday season, and I’ll be back with more in December!

~Jennifer

**A little background on my Happiness Hacks series:

Years ago I started a gratitude journal – just a daily addition to my morning pages that documented the ordinary things that I was grateful for – simple things that made me happy.

During this time I read Gretchen Rubin‘s book, The Happiness Project – Gretchen’s writing and podcasts inspired me to create what I hope are monthly lists of ‘happiness hacks’ – small, simple acts or moments in life that bring me happiness and maybe they’ll rub off on you, too. You can read my essay inspired by Gretchen’s other book, Happier At Home here. 

In June 2017 I started with my first set of ‘happiness hacks’, and loved the responses I received on the post and on social media. Turns out, you do things to make yourselves happy, too. 

You can read my past monthly “happiness hacks” posts below:

Happiness Hacks For October 2017

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Where Did The Summer Go?

summer zinnias

Where did the summer go?

It went home

Where tottering stacks of ironing lay neglected

To cluttered cupboards that needed organizing

And dark, dreary closets that screamed to be thinned.

It went to the garden

Where stubborn weeds towered over rosebushes

To brilliant pink cosmos borders that needed deadheading

And hummingbird feeders, parched and waiting.

It went to the kitchen

Where warm blueberry scones burst from the oven

To freshly shucked white corn and barbecue any night

And sugary peaches, plums and dark chocolate at my fingertips.

It went to sleep

In between well worn cotton sheets

Early or late, it didn’t matter

And it woke me without an alarm.

It went to friends

On early morning walks to the Arboretum

Restaurants, cafes and bars for celebration

And long chats on the couch because we could.

It went to my children

Similing in the back of a pickup truck

Laying bricks and eating gallo pinto

And making memories to last forever.

It went to colleges

Searching for that perfect place for her

Soaking in the moments, the emotions

And feeling conflicted about her leaving.

It went to my students

Scouring the internet for the latest teaching trends

Reading, writing, planning, dreaming

And creating exciting new experiences.

It went to writing

Time to journal, to think, to center

Allowing myself time to feel the words through my fingertips

And share my life with you.

It went to books

Written by powerful, thoughtful women

Dawn Wink, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Elizabeth Silver, Lee Woodruff, Ann Patchett,

And Toni Morrison.

It went traveling

By plane, by car, by foot and by pick up truck

To Washington D.C., Newport Beach, Healdsburg, Lake Tahoe, Oregon, Washington

And beautiful, strong, glorious Nicaragua.

Where did the summer go, you ask?

It went inside my heart, stilled my breath, helped me grow

Paused my mind, made me think, cry, laugh, smile

And nurtured my soul.

Happiness in Nicaragua
Happiness in Nicaragua
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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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What You Grow To Be

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

~J.K. Rowling

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Visiting the track at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon.

Sitting in my garden tonight, watching the sun set, with my dog on my lap. An evening of reflection and gratitude after 1,800 miles driven over six days, visiting colleges from Ashland, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington. I’m so thankful we were able to spend this time together, just us two. From the day she was born, I’ve watched over her as she attempted all her ‘firsts’, soaring through life with grace. This time, I’m watching differently.

This time, I observed my first born take it all in, her blue eyes scanning the campuses for reflections of herself, searching for that connection that would whisper to her, Yes, you belong here. This is where you will grow.

As the sun sets on her high school career, another life-episode calls to her, nudging her closer to the woman she is destined to be and farther from where she was born. I can see it in her eyes- the twinkle of slight recognition as she returns home tonight just a little different than when she left. She is no longer the child she was days ago-now,she is reaching for the light when before, just as she reached out, she shivered.

It doesn’t matter what she was born to be…she is creating, choosing, forming herself every day. The decision is hers. This time, right now, I’ll sit back, support her, nurture her, and marvel as she grows and blooms into something spectacular.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

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