Circles…

Hello world!

Try

Trust

Treasure

…My three words for 2012, are still going strong…

swirling in circles!

Life is full — of friends, family, challenges, joys, sorrows, time-management pressures.

As I have blogged about before and likely will again, LEWWP consumes many hours of most of my days.

Aging parents and associated issues there consume many hours a week, too.

Interconnecting and separated circles of responsibilities, self-care, professional development, start-up-related must-dos, mundane daily routines, friends, flowers, and more make for rarely a dull moment!

Online communication has become the largest circle in my life.

Is that a positive?  Yes.  Most of the time my answer is an emphatic YES.

The photo above has a lot of meaning for me, and it is my selected artifact for a course I am presently enrolled in, a course titled “Facilitating Online Learning.”

We have an assignment to post an artifact.

As I understand this assignment, this is my chosen artifact.

Circles, interacting, separating, coming together again, overlapping, fading, growing stronger, expanding, shrinking, expanding again, multiplying, re-connecting, bouncing, rolling with the punches = 

CIRCLES! 

Google+ Circles

As these circles interconnect, their circumference lines bump and meld = personal, professional, private, open.

The roles I take on, the hats I wear, morph:   administrator, friend, learner, founder, facilitator, wife, mother, daughter, neighbor, gardener, professional, amateur, consumer, proprietor, credentialed, credentialer, taxpayer, community advocate, global citizen advocate, traveler, work-at-home, online community manager, more.

As I try, and trust, and treasure, the circles of my life bobble like bubbles, gently nudging one another out of the way, sometimes merging to form one larger circle, sometimes dividing into so many tiny bubbles/circles that I feel like a hopeless juggler!

The more I try, the more treasures I appreciate.  The more treasures I appreciate (and these treasures come in many forms, tangible and intangible), the more I am able to trust.

~ ~ ~

Lest you think I forgot…

Haiku for today: June 9, 2012

Life’s loop-de-loops spin,

hover, drop, enlarge, tease, pop

certain circles Venn

One of the best decisions I ever made…

haiku for February 3, 2012:

quiet, gentle awe

a simple flower opens

all the world listens

~ ~ ~

This post has been composing itself for weeks now…

in smiles,

in stretches,

in walks,

in those dozing off to sleep moments,

in those wake up with a start in the middle of the night moments,

in those sleepy “just look at the sunshine streaming through the window” wake-up-in-the-morning moments,

and most definitely through the long (long!) workday hours of my life these past several weeks.

~ ~ ~

This post is a tribute to a woman I’ve never (yet) met face-to-face.

This post is a tribute to the magic of Skype, the magic of the Internet, the magic of technology, the magic of PLNs (personal learning networks / professional learning networks) and SLNs (social learning networks) — without which Joanna and I would most likely never have met.

This post is a tribute (also) to the learning journey I’ve been traveling these past several years (please see this link for more info).

~ ~ ~

Several weeks ago (Dec. 15, 2011), I received news of a devastating announcement, news that EnglishCafe.com would be closing, shutting down, no more — as of Feb. 1, 2012 or sooner.

Since that time, so much has happened!

After a few frantic days of trying to ‘save’ the memories of EnglishCafe, of mentally attempting to adjust to a life without EnglishCafe (rearrange the letters of E N G L I S H C A F E and you can spell “changes life” — and indeed, EnglishCafe changed my life). EnglishCafe ‘was’ my life, or at least a very large part of it!

~ ~ ~

So, what to do?

As is my usual tendency, I ‘did’ a lot.  Notified people I knew who might know of jobs, amped up my jobhunting, followed lots more folks on Twitter, spent more time on LinkedIn, cried (wept), threw things, walked, walked, walked, talked, talked, talked, and kept logging in to EnglishCafe… which was no longer the same.

As I was recording screencasts (for my own memories) of various posts and profiles on EnglishCafe, I would repeat, a lump in my throat, the mantra that this “just can’t not be anymore” often followed by “but how, but what can I do, what can we do?”  During one of these screencasts, I voiced an idea that popped into my brain, “What about a Ning?”

When that screencast was finished, I went to Ning.com.  I had learned of Nings years ago (Thank you EVO, thank you CarlaArena) and had experimented with a few of my own Nings (back in the day when they were free).  I made the decision that I could not justify paying to keep the Nings I’d created once Ning went to a fee-based service, so had not used them much in recent months/years. But my memory and experience told me that a Ning might just, might just, might… be an answer.

~ ~ ~

A new Ning is born… December 22, 2012

Was it really only a week later?  December 22, 2012 I explored Ning, set up a free one month trial Ning, played with it a little, then a lot, read, read, read, read, read the excellent help files Ning provides. I pondered. I dreamed. I began to wonder…

And that is when I made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (December 27, 2011).  All that I’ve learned throughout my online experiences has taught me to value collaboration, feedback, constructive criticism.  I knew/know/acknowledge that I will never please the entire population of the world, but also knew that I should not be creating this site alone.

There were complications. Because of the contract I and others had or had had with Global English/EnglishCafe, because of the uncertainties we were all experiencing as a result of the announcement of the site shutdown, because of the different directions other teachers on the site were taking, because of the high emotion a collective we were reeling from, because of many factors, there did not seem to be a likely colleague to work closely with.

But then, some angel of inspiration let me expand my thinking… why did it need to be a fellow TESOL (teacher of English to speakers of other languages) colleague?  Why couldn’t it be a colleague with expertise of online learning?

So… then… who?  It must be someone I ‘knew’ fairly well, knew instinctively I could work with (and whom would be / might be willing to work with me — not always an easy thing to do!). It needed to be someone who would be / might be willing to devote a fair number of hours.  It needed to be someone willing to ‘tell it like it is’ and ‘give it to me’.  It needed to be someone who wouldn’t just agree with me on nearly everything.  It needed to be someone with a sense of humor.

So… who?  Immediately, four names came to mind.  Two were not really considered because I knew their lives were too busy and it would be a huge burden to even consider asking them.  Of the other two, I will admit I chose “female over male.”  And so I approached Joanna.  And she said “Yes!”

And that is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

If you visit the Learn English With A Worldwide Perspective (LEWWP) site you will see evidence of our (Joanna and I) work together.

It is, of course, also the work of Ning, also the work of everyone mentioned above, and it is an ongoing work of collaborative energy.

~ ~ ~

It is my strong hope that at TESOL 2013 or another international conference, Joanna and I will be able to meet in person, perhaps with another member or two of LEWWP and share more details about our online PLN (personal/professional learning network) development journey.

~ ~ ~

on high alert?!

Today’s haiku:

darting to and fro

chasing a GMT dead-

line, notching up thrills!

~ ~ ~

Within 24 hours I hope to be sending invites to 50+ learners and educators to join and explore ‘Learn English With A WorldWide Perspective’.  This start-up experience has been intense!  The thrills are multi-fold, the panic real, the energy infusing every moment…

But now I’m off to swallow an herbal ‘help me sleep’ tablet, and tucking myself into bed!

Try, Trust, Treasure

haiku for today:

Try, trust, and treasure:

foraging for sustenance

nourishing anew

~ ~ ~

My three words for 2012: try, trust, treasure

For a few years now I’ve been following Chris Brogan’s suggestion of three-word guides/themes for the year:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/my-3-words-for-2011/

The most challenging will be trust.

2011 was a year I was faced with a major breach of trust, along with a few more ordinary ‘trust challenges’.

The world can be harsh.

The world can be beautiful.

Try. Trust. Treasure.

early new year beginnings…

haiku for today:

Pudgy, privileged

black crow preens authority

near the birdfeeder

~ ~ ~

As many of my friends and acquaintances know by now, my employer of the past three years — EnglishCafe (a ‘sister’ company under Global English) — has announced that EnglishCafe.com will be shutting down, closing forever.

It is very sad news.  I’ve been a part-time consultant and a facilitator/teacher on/from the site for over three years.

I’d established over 2000 EnglishCafe friends during those three+ years and logged in daily, often over 10 hours daily!  EnglishCafe was a huge part of my life, and it’s heartbreaking to learn of its closure.

Forced to make decisions on what comes next, needing to replace at least a fair portion of that income ‘pronto’, the past few weeks have not exactly been filled with the usual holiday joy.

https://hollydilatush.wordpress.com/ellwithholly will be the page I update with my decisions.  At this point, I’m working a few hours each day at building a Ning site: http://EnglishWorldWide.ning.com from which I hope to schedule classes — with some of the same students I’ve been working with as well as with the many new ELLs (English Language Learners) I hope to meet in the near future.

I am also actively seeking information about other employment options, and will be trying to find the hours to continue updating my pages here on this site, updating my LinkedIn information, trying to stay positive.

As I work on this site, I’m recognizing just how much I have learned over the past few years.

I’m filled with gratitude for the many ELL professionals who have taught me — directly and indirectly, who have encouraged me.

Even if I opt not to launch this new site, the attempt to develop it is proving to be an excellent opportunity for self-reflection, an awareness of the skills I do not have, the areas of expertise I enjoy, and those  I don’t.

2012 will be an interesting year!

Was your Christmas wish “bring springtime”?

haiku for today:

warm. foggy, balmy!

four days before Santa flies 

in tee-shirt and shorts?

~ ~ ~

I hereby resolve…

Are you drafting your list of resolutions?

Recent news has pushed me to make some changes to my list — as each year wanes, I rather enjoy the exercise of evaluating where I’ve been, what’s been accomplished (and not), reflecting upon new skills practiced, new competencies mastered.

You?

For the past few years I’ve enjoyed attempting Chris Brogan’s three word idea.

So soon I’ll be posting my three words for 2012.

passions and compassions

haiku for today:

blue, bare, blustery

woodsmoke drifts across sunlit

backyard chill: dreamland

~ ~ ~

passion

compassion

These are two of my favorite words.

Earlier today I was writing a post for Steve Hargadon’s “Teacher 2.0” challenge activity related to discovering/rediscovering passions.  I’m copying most of that post here:

 

The H tree!

~ growing, admiring, photographing flowers; carefully picking and designing floral bouquets and arrangements to give to others

~ walking and photographing in natural settings, walking in lovingly cultivated garden areas

~ reading and writing

~ intentional dialogue groups

My paternal grandmother taught me to identify flowers, observe their preferred growing conditions — beginning at a very early age. This love of flowers has been a strong steadfast joy in my life ever since.  Most people who have met me know this about me — often at the very first meeting!

I was privileged to grow up on a 32-acre farm (agricultural farm) with 3 ponds, two creeks, woods, fields (with Native American arrowheads turning up once in awhile!), and with parents, an uncle, grandparents, and two other nature-loving families living on those 32 acres along with my family.  Ample opportunities to explore nature, learn from nature, abounded.  In addition, my dad planned wonderful family outings and camping trips to explore beyond our farm.

My dad was an avid reader, my mom read to us frequently. Our home included a substantial library. I recall being quite proud of my ‘always with a nose in a book’ status, and striving to borrow and read more books than anyone else my age from school and local libraries.  Currently, I continue to read an average of 3 or more novels per week.

Intentional dialogues:  Sometimes I’m accused of not knowing how to have fun (but do not believe this is an accurate accusation) because I prefer meaningful activity over meaningless activity most of the time. Meaningfulness is subjective, at least to some degree.

I’ve been teased because I often actually like meetings (well-organized, well-facilitated meetings).

I like learning opportunities.

I like listening to people speak about their passions, their compassions.

Freshman year discussions — sitting with classmates on sofas, chairs, floors, bunk beds — sharing as we probed philosophical questions: loved it!

Anti-racism  Undoing racism / Dialogue on race groups have been important, still are important, in my life.

Intercultural groups, Parent groups, class assignment groups, community groups, all of these and more = fit into the realm of what I refer to as intentional dialogue.  And while I agree that talking is not enough, I also passionately believe that intentional dialogue is a needed part of any process of change.

I would be surprised if people didn’t recognize my passions and compassions fairly quickly; a poker-face I have not! This is true for ‘students’ as well as colleagues or any other citizen of the world I might meet.

Passions and talents: how are they different?  I’m smiling as I read this question, think about my response to this question, smiling because the two words/meanings hadn’t crossed paths in my mind until I read the question.

 

I do have some talent at floral design, at speed-reading, comprehension, teaching reading, writing, listening, caring, building community.  But I believe it’s my passions that enable those talents to emerge.  There are a few people who seem to have innate talents, but unless those talents are presented, explored, shared, developed with a passion at their core, they lack meaningfulness.

Do I spend as much time ‘as I need to’ focusing on my passions?  hmmm….  If I were given the scale of “rarely / sometimes / usually / always” I would respond, “Usually.”

Compassions generate and perpetuate meaningfulness.

Pursuing my passions generates healing, healing generates energy to persist in following, acting upon my compassions.

Interesting reflections…

What do you agree with?  Disagree with?  Why?  How would you respond to any or all of the above-referenced questions?

Holly