Monthly Archives: April 2014

What is HAPPY?


My sole reason for living and teaching overseas has always been primarily for the international experience. Listen folks, a wise woman once said to me, “You ain’t never gonna have enough money, so there’s no point in overworking yourself or letting money run your life.” And it is so true. If you really think about the dollar bill, it’s a piece of paper that can easily be destroyed. Yet it holds so much power over many people. Often it is the deciding factor in many people’s lives and their everlasting hunger for the dollar bill increases as they acquire more dollar bills.

Listen folks, you will never have enough of what you don’t need. Let me say that again. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH OF WHAT YOU DON’T NEED. I can exercise enough humility to admit that I have had jobs that have paid very well, but money has never satisfied my hunger for life. And life is so much more than the material possessions that money can afford you. This has become even more evident during my time over here on the EASTERN side of the world.

Can money really buy you happiness? Well, what exactly is happiness? What makes you feel good and brings a huge smile to your face? We are all very different people, with very different belief systems. Your belief system typically stems from your family up bringing. What did your parents teach you about happiness? Or maybe you surrounded yourself with a group of friends who affirmed what happiness looks like and/or feels like? We all have a belief system that helps us conceptualize happiness. These beliefs are also known as memes (Wayne Dyer). What I believe about happiness, doesn’t discredit what you believe to be true about happiness.

For some folks happiness is having a particular title at work, the Mercedes Benz, the Gucci bag and Kenneth Cole shoes. And if that works for them, then let them be happy.

For other folks, happiness may result in starting a family, owning a home with a white picket fence, attending church every Sunday, and living a quiet life on the countryside. And if that works for them, then let them be happy.


My definition of happiness has evolved over the years. The beautiful thing about getting older is that each experience you go through makes you an even better person than what you used to be. Therefore, as I continue to age (gracefully) I am okay with the idea that my belief about happiness continues to change. So right now happiness to me is peacefulness, contentness, giving, serving, and just being present in the moment.


I’m at a point in my life where I don’t associate happiness with any material possession on earth. ‘Ain’t no car, house, electronic, shoe, shirt, ring, accessory, gonna bring me happiness. And if it does, it won’t last for long.’ I want everlasting happiness. I want my last day on this earth to be a moment of true humbleness. Where I can drift off into a space of eternal life, having no regrets because I know I lived my best human life. Remember folks, we are not our bodies. We are spiritual beings having a human experience so make the most of it and figure out what KEEPS you happy.


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Dear SELF,

As you continue to embark on this journey (living and teaching overseas), there are some things I’d like for you to be mindful of:

1) Do not forget where you are. It is important that you experience the culture but keep in mind you are NOT in America. What may seem like common sense to you, is possibly a foreign concept to the people of this country. They simply may not know any better. Therefore, pick and choose your battles. Your life experiences differ greatly from theirs and that is okay.

2) Maintain your work ethic. I know you recognize that you may work harder and exhibit more passion than your colleagues. However, understand that you have been called to serve in this capacity for a reason. Your purpose may not be to change the norms of your current work environment or the culture. Your purpose may be to make an impression on just one student, maybe more. Either way, you must continue to lead by example. Continue to exhibit passion and focus on the job at hand. The rest will fall into place. Do the work, leave your mark and do not invest in the results…..invest in the process. Change takes time and this may be something you will not get to see while performing your service in this present moment.

3) Continue to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual self. As you move through life maintain a healthy balance. Hit up the gym, keep reflecting (writing), and seeking joy throughout this experience. Do whatever it takes to stay connected to your source. It will ensure peace of mind. It will also afford a level of trust that will guide you confidently in the direction you need to go. Remember, approach every situation asking, ” How may I serve?”. Keep that ego in check! You are a spiritual being housed inside of a physical body. It ain’t about you anymore and this selfless mindset will ensure abundant happiness manifests in all areas of your life.
4) Stay connected to the ones you love. These relationships play a big role in keeping your flame lit. And if/when that flame begins to dwindle pick up the phone and reconnect with a loved one. Every so often you may need a gentle reminder that you are not alone in this foreign country.

5) This international teaching experience is a stepping stone to where you ultimately are supposed to be. You may not know where it is leading you and that is okay. Trust and believe that there is something bigger than yourself going on in this world. Your role is one layer of the beautiful canvas that is being created by all members on this planet we call earth. REMEMBER THIS…your still alive! Therefore, your ultimate purpose has yet to be fulfilled. When its time to leave your physical body (hopefully no time soon) you can rest easy and know that you have completed your service here on earth.

6) Let go and surrender! You’re so used to taking control and planning everything out. Get out of the driver’s seat (of life) and find joy in being the passenger. Recognize when your ego is simply trying to affirm its place in society. You are NOT what you have and/or what you achieve. Those are all attributes of the physical world and you will only desire more, more and more of something that will not bring peace of mind and happiness. Just be in the moment, it is all you really have. You came into this world with nothing, you will leave this world with nothing. Therefore, is it really necessary to acquire those physical incentives that ultimately mean nothing when your time here on earth comes to an end? Sit back and simply enjoy the ride and serve with passion. All is and will continue to be well as long as you allow it to be.

7) Be thankful! The moment you express gratitude, is when all that IS becomes enough. And this is when you will truly embody spirit and be open to receive the many blessings life has to offer.


The awareness that lies within YOU.

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Let LIFE Lead the Dance

imageLiving and teaching overseas continues to foster an array of emotions. One MOMENT I’m happy, everything is great, I love the camels, I love the people and I love this country. The next MOMENT, I’m over it all and want to go home (lol). Obviously something usually triggers my desire to leave. I have come to realize these triggers are directly connected to any situation that compromises my own beliefs and values. This is the moment my tolerance level is exercised and stretched beyond measure. Right at that moment when the ‘band’ is about to snap, the negative thoughts take advantage of my vulnerability and invade my mind like a little boy in a toy store.

Living in another country is no doubt a wonderful experience. However, with these positive experiences one has to be prepared to deal with the challenging ones as well. I have learned to embrace each obstacle because it truly is an opportunity to grow. Furthermore, each time I overcome the urge to leave (go home) I feel even more empowered to continue on this amazing journey of self discovery.

I continuously surprise myself because my infinite patience, flexibility, and tolerance has revealed itself in my most challenging moments. It took this journey to affirm my strengths and as I move forward I welcome each speed bump with open arms because I affirm that all is well.

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qualities of great TEACHERS


Tough love through authentic praise, meaningful consequences and consistency

Energetic presence with much creativity

Attitude of optimism and will do whatever it takes to ensure all students are successful

Caring heart and passionate nature

Hopeful and willing to make the most of the resources that are available

Eager to set all students up for success

Ready and prepared to exercise much flexibility and patience

Serious about safety and creating a classroom conducive to learning

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Reflective Teaching

imageTeaching is the type of profession that will always bring about new challenges on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. My favorite teacher (sarcasm) is the one who will claim 25 years of experience yet he/she has been teaching the same exact way for each of those years. In this case, I’d push back and say he/she actually has one year of teaching experience. A great teacher is reflective and recognizes that no one group of students is the same. Therefore, if a teacher finds himself/herself teaching the same grade level and subject, modifications and adjustments MUST be made in order to meet the group exactly where they are. Teach on purpose!

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Gratitude = Happiness

imageYou wake up at 5:00am to get ready for work. You take a moment and thank GOD for waking you up.

Then you flood your mind with positive thoughts to ensure a great day (thank you for my sound mind).

As you wipe the crust out of your eyes and yawn out loud, a sudden burst of energy compels you to hop out of bed (thank you for this bed).

You drag your feet to the bathroom in order to take a shower so that your physical body may now catch up to your current state of mind (thank you for my two feet).

You pass by the water heater so thankful that you remembered to turn it on last night. Hot shower here I come! As you run the water, you slip back into your room to play a little music to get the energy flowing (thank you for my iPad).

The nice warm shower is exactly what you needed because now you really feel ready for the day (thank you for this villa).

As you brush your teeth, you tap your feet to the rhythm of the music, you slip in your contacts and take a moment to look in the mirror and sincerely tell yourself, “I love you”. The reflection in the mirror smiles back at you (thank you for my teeth).

You walk out of the bathroom and in your peripheral you see the piece of paper posted on your wall that says, “as you think, so shall you be”. You smile to yourself (thank you for my awareness).

As you make your way down your hallway, you recognize how it has become a gallery of kindoras which are hanging comfortably, and waiting to be shown off. “Ah yes, the blue one today”. You slip it on over your white t-shirt and grey gym shorts. Finished! Yeah, you are dressed lol (thank you for this experience).

You slip back into your bedroom, turn off the music, grab a Guthra (head wrap), and head for the kitchen (thank you for this electricity).

You start thinking about how much you will dread the hour drive, and the moment you become aware of this thought you dismiss it. Instead, as you make a cup of tea, you immediately express gratitude. While waiting for the water to boil you think about how fortunate you are to catch the morning sunrise (breathtaking), how happy and eager your students are to see you, and your ability to even get into the car and drive yourself to work. As the water boils, you suddenly snap out of your brief moment of gratitude. You prepare your cup of tea, take a sip, and the hot water karate chops your top lip! “Damn, it’s so hot!” Lol…(thank you for my senses).

You check the time (5:45am), grab your keys, lunch, tea, work bag and head out the door (thank you for having a job).

You step into the silent hallway, and head towards the elevator. Ding! You step into the elevator and can’t believe an emirate is standing in the elevator wearing the exact same kindora and guthra. You smile, he smiles back. You nod your head, he nods back. You move into the elevator and he steps closer to you. You give him the side eye, and he side eyes you back. You turn your head towards him, and he turns his head towards you. You give him the, “Is there a problem look?” He gives it right back at you. You reach out to push ground floor as he reaches out to push ground floor.

As the elevator makes its way down to the ground floor and the doors open you look back over your shoulder into the mirror and smile at yourself (thank you for my sense of humor).

You part ways with your emirate image and walk outside into the cool, comfortable weather. You lift your arms high above your head expressing your gratitude, for experiencing another morning routine and beautiful day.

You head towards the shiny blue car that waits to take you safely to work (thank you for my car).

You start your car and prepare to have a fantastic day!

As I think….so shall I be!

Consider these thoughts organized! :9)



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imageGlobal awareness is an essential element that I would like to be a part of my proposed academy. I believe awareness sparks profound curiosity which is a beautiful thing that will afford our scholars the opportunity to explore, inquire, learn and experience the many wonders of the world. As global citizens, we have an obligation to continuously step outside of our comfort zones in order to evolve and expand our thinking. This is when learning truly begins!

Another essential element I would want integrated into my school is a HOLISTIC APPROACH to teaching and learning. Any child that walks through the front door or sneaks thorough the back door, will be embraced whole heartedly. There will be an academic, social, and emotional component all of which will EQUALLY be addressed. Each of these components will be infused into a rigorous and meaningful curriculum. The social and emotional piece will be targeted through advisory sessions, community meetings, mentor programs, counseling services, ECT. Scholars will also be taught how to get aligned with SELF and become more compassionate beings in order to be productive citizens of the world. After school programs and service learning projects will branch off of all these components. Most importantly, a SAFE space will be fostered throughout the academy affording our scholars the opportunity to open up and reveal their truest self so that all of their individual needs will be addressed.

Meeting every scholar exactly where he is at will be an essential component of our academy. I believe in individualizing each scholars educational journey through differentiated instruction and assessments, goal setting, data talks, authentic relationships, and a student centered learning environment. Additionally, scholars will be an active participant in their educational journey. They will be expected to know their current performance levels, where they need to go, and what they need to do in order to exhibit success. More importantly, regular data talks and goal setting with their advisors will ensure they are able to articulate the steps needed to get there. Celebrating each and every success of our scholars will promote a collaborative approach among all the stakeholders of our school community. Additionally, the strong awareness of their abilities will ensure they leave our academy wanting to become productive leaders of the global world.

Please note that I continuously refer to the academy as OUR academy because I plan to foster a professional learning community. I believe that it takes a village, and every member of the team will play an integral part in the success of the academy and in the success of every scholar. Additionally, our students will be referred to as SCHOLARS due to their evolving love of learning. Lastly, our school is referred to as an ACADEMY because we will specialize in producing lifelong learners working to serve the needs of the global world.

I’d like to formally introduce you to the ACADEMY in my HEAD:


As I think, so shall it be!

Consider these thoughts organized…. :0)

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A young boy or girl who comes from a disadvantaged circumstance given the opportunity to step outside of their local community and into the global world.




ALL students having the opportunity and desire to be change agents of the world.




Scholars on a purposeful journey serving the needs of others with compassion and love.


Simply Imagine!


That same young boy or girl returning to their local community, eyes wide open, and eager to celebrate the struggle……….now recognizing the time to struggle was in devine order.


Simply Imagine!


***Everyone deserves to have access and as I move through my journey the vision and mission of my learning community continues to unfold before my eyes!***


Consider these thoughts organized!




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