Category Archives: learning

#Linkinprofile

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I have always wanted to say that in my posts on social media without sounding like I am begging for people to come to my blog and read what I have written.  I have never been one to seek attention, good, bad, or otherwise.  (Wait, what would otherwise be??) Then I made the most delicious dinner the other night and took a picture of the post deliciousness and #checkmyblogfordetails & #inprofile happened.  Now, I have to make good on my promise to the 10 people who liked or commented on the picture and post the recipe OR maybe just the experience of creating the recipe. I don’t really know yet, you’ll just have to keep reading to see what transpires here. So a while ago I wrote a blog that was about dinner and how frustrating it is sometimes to figure out what to cook and how unhelpful my family can be.

Last night I didn’t know what to cook.  I had chicken and some homemade curry sauce in the freezer.  I also had some peppers and onions that needed to be cooked.  I decided to start with the peppers and onions and really I wasn’t sure where it would go from there.  I cut them up bite size (my bite size is usually to big for most people) and sautéed them with olive oil, salt, & pepper. From there I decided I wanted to cook the chicken and, wait, what is that?? Lo Mein noodles from Wegmans in the freezer? MMMMM

So then the magic started to happen.

I don’t know how to explain this magic as it has happened so infrequently in the last 5 years, since my sister’s death.  But when it does, I love it.

I love the end result when my husband says, “Did you write this down so you can make it again?”

And I say, “No.”

Then quickly pull out my phone to start writing the bones of the recipe down so I don’t forget that I magically created.

I know I will never be able to recreate it.  It is an impossibility to truly recreate a magic trick.

Often times that is what making dinner feels like, a magic trick.  One that, even I do not understand.

So here is my attempt to give you the recipe that was magical:

  • 1 yellow pepper chopped however you like it but small enough to cook all the way
  • 1 small red onion diced but not to finely
  • 2 average cloves of garlic (FRESH is best) cut up however you like
  • 1 TBSP of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
    • saute and set aside
  • Cook lomein noodles, rinse and set aside
  • cube chicken of your choice (3/4 of a pound or so) I used chicken thighs (5 of them)
  • cook in batches in sesame oil and olive oil with a little s & p to taste
  • the second batch of chicken add in 2 TBPS of soy sauce
  • when all the chicken is cooked toss it together with the soy sauce and let it steam for 5 or so minutes
  • toss the pepper and onions in with the chicken to coat with the soy sauce
  • SERVE over the lomein noodles

No pictures. I really, honestly, didn’t think it would be good so I didn’t take any pictures. While we were eating and my family was reflecting on how they really liked it and how I should make it again, I thought, “Well Gee!  I should have taken a photo for insta.”

And thus this post was born.

Maybe I will post about my cooking block that has last for 5 years.  Maybe I won’t, it is a hard subject to discuss because I really do love to cook.  No, really, I DO! I also love to do grocery shopping, but that is a post for another day.

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Where am I

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So I am embarking on a journey.

I want to be a writer.

I feel called to write.

I will write.

I AM A WRITER!

My daughter is my accountability partner as she is a writer as well.  An amazing one that that.

She is in an out patient treatment facility and has asked that as practice and exposure I write for her blog for the next few weeks.

I have practice writing every day (remember Dressember??) but that was super-hyper focused writing and had a concentrated purpose.  Now I am kinda flailing and not writing because I am not sure what to write, how to write, grrrrrr.

So frustrating.

ANYWAY, everyday is a new day and a chance at renewal.  So you can check me out blogging at cathyterranova.com

cooperation

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This word.  It is a hard word to understand.  It is a hard word to emulate.  It is a hard word to spell! (how many double letters are in that word anyway???)

(PS I am not a good speller due to the fact that I have been word processing since I was 12 and have had spell check to support this challenge)

Relationships can not work without cooperation and yet so many survive albeit, barely.  My marriage hasn’t always been the most cooperative.  It has taken hard work and effort on both our parts to try to work together and put our ego aside for the betterment of our life together.  I have realized, over the course of 18 years, that we are an amazing project couple.  I dream big and talk big. He brings me down to earth and helps me be realistic. Somehow he always manages to make whatever I dreamed up happen.  Sometimes it takes years (decades?) of talking and dreaming out loud.  Sometimes they seem like pipe dreams but I still speak them because I trust him.  Yes, he sometimes gives me a hard time (I want to make a green house out of wine bottles and I am saving empty wine bottles for this venture) but usually he listens and ponders and eventually figures out a way because he know I am a cooperative, flexible dreamer and really only want what is best for those around me.

Now, don’t get me wrong my husband isn’t perfect (although pretty darn close in my eyes) but he is a wonderful person.

He is a person who tries hard to please others.  Funny thing, so am I.  We both want those around us to be happy and to be well cared for in the circumstances that we can control. We can control how we make the other person feels. He can make me angry but on the flip side of that coin I can control how I react to his “issues” (and trust me vice versa). He can also make me happy (and 99.7% of the time this is what he does) and I can control how I react to that as well.

This type of cooperation has been what makes our marriage work, but not just our marriage, our relationship.  We choose on a regular basis not to be snippy with each other and to cooperate as best we can.  Does it always work?  Well, no but if we step back from the situation and look at it differently we are usually OK. And if I am honest, sometimes it takes me leaving the situation and coming back to it later to help with the cooperation.

OK STORY TIME!!!

I am getting a fire place!  A gas fireplace.  We are building the hearth and mantel.  He built the bones and I helped out along the way.  We decided on tile facade together and I set the pattern for it.  He had some ideas of his own and I started to get frustrated.  I felt myself start to fume.  So I chose to step back.  I chose to let things happen and let him do his thing.  Guess what….because I chose to step back and not get all irritated it all worked out ok.  We aren’t quite done (and no he won’t let me post pics) but already it looks better than I could have ever imagined.  AND we were able to cooperate and not fight over something so small.

Let it wash off your back like a duck.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Sleep on it.  All good cliches.

Trust me.  My marriage isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

19 down ~ 12 to go!

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I have spent the last 3 weeks working Monday through Friday.  I work at a high school, in case you hadn’t noticed from previous blogs.  It’s funny what students notice.  It’s also funny what happens when you engage with them.

I have been trying not to be impatient with my students this week.  It has been hard.  They have been a little squirrelly due to the 2 week break that is now here.  They have also had changes in schedules both here and many times at home.

There are concerts to attend, cookies to bake, projects to complete, unit tests to study for, & so many other things that make this holiday lovely.

Some of my students moved, found out about illness, lost their homes, made bad life choices, forgot about projects, didn’t study for those unit tests, and many other things that may not only make the holiday less lovely but also the life that comes after the holiday.

The last three weeks at work have been good and my eyes have been opened to their conditions in and out of school.

I came to a startling realization this morning when, at 6:00 AM my husband went and gently woke our younger son up so they could make fresh salsa for the cultural experience they had today at school.  Ethan helped his dad make salsa and my mom helped him carry it into his school this morning and give proper storage and warming directions to the teacher for this afternoon.

My children have had that sort of support their whole lives.  They do not know what it looks like to have their safety or well being jeopardized by anything!

While I am fairly certain (notice I do not say 100% certain) that I do not have many students who are held in bondage against their will or who have been sold I am certain that I have quite a number who have not known the certainty of the love and support my children have had their whole lives.

To have both a parent and a grandparent go out of their way to take food to a school party is something many of my students do not understand.

That sort of support allows a freedom to be who you want and to pursue a life of freedom and choice.  That sort of freedom can also be very scary without close conversation about direction and purpose (we make sure we try to give the proper guidance).

What is fantastic is that they have me (and the other teacher and support staff) at our school.  My students share information with me that I can either counsel them on or send them to the right person who will be able to counsel them appropriately.

It is nice to be the person they see and then walk in the room (actually having been looking for me) with a “hang dog” look on their face to tell me something they think they did wrong. It is nice to tell them they are over reacting or that they aren’t and they have a chance to change their direction.  It is also really  nice when I can challenge them to do better and BE better.  I always smile when they call me mom because they have no idea what calling me mom allows me to do 😉 they just trust me enough that they want me in the inner circle of confidence.

I love that I am able to reach them on a different and life lesson level not just on a textbook and test level.

That is what this whole month has been about, so far, right?  A chance for others to have a different life? A chance? A choice, finally? A change?

If you haven’t already check out the change IJM is making in the world.  It has been amazing what the 700 staffers around the world are able to do with the money that people like you and me give to their organization.  This month the dresses you have been watching me wear are similar to a 3-day or a 5-k that other people do.  Mine just last a lot longer! I am wearing dresses so that I can help raise awareness about the 29.8 million slaves in the world and also raise money to rescue them.  I am also spending time in prayer and meditation about their plight and the courage it takes IJM to find them and rescue them. My friend wrote a fantastic holiday meditation book called O Antiphons.  While is it about the holiday the tip that you leave on Noisetrade will benefit IJM as well.  You should check it out!

Will you join me? Hit any of the links above to find out more or to give.  If that isn’t something you can do then I know you can pray. That is something we all can do.  A short simple prayer of supplication for freedom and courage for those who need it most.

Thank you for joining me so far….only 12 days left in this journey!

PS aren’t my students adorable?!

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My 3rd period senior class.

vertigo & understanding bosses

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So last night while I was blogging the room began to spin and my fingers forgot how to type.

This morning I got up and went to work, still spinning.

When students have prepped for a presentation and the teachers isn’t there to see and grade the presentation then some trust is lost between the two. Plus, I didn’t want to write lesson plans! We are two days from a break & I wasn’t feeling bad enough this morning to call in so I went to work.

During first block my brain wasn’t connecting to my mouth and I felt sluggish and dizzy. I had them do vocabulary while I tried not to fall out of my chair.

Luckily 2nd & 4th block were presenting their career research and I just had to grade their work as they presented.

I came home during my planning, (after I finish with students) crept to the basement and slept for 3 hours.

I am blessed (always!!) to have a boss and family that care about my well being.

When I messaged (I had to rewrite the email a few times due to finger brain lack of communication) my boss to let her know I was headed home due to extreme vertigo she asked if I could drive and also to take care and rest.

I have worked at the school for 9 years now.  At my old work, which shall remain nameless, my last boss was heartless (for the record I had more AWESOME bosses there than this last one but he is the one who drove me out!).  I would have to justify absences and it was often easier to go to work and stay for an 8 or 9 hour shift and put up with him than listen to him passively a aggressively complain about my absence. It is so nice to work for a boss who cares.

As soon as I got home my son came out a greeted me at the car to see why I was home.  He also asked to make sure I was OK and to see what he could do to help.  (My boys! I tell you I am raising an awesome pair of men.) My husband and other sone went and got dinner.

Now it is the end of the day.  I am going to work at my second job (I teach online school too).  Then bed.

My vertigo is annoying more than anything. For instance as I look at the keyboard, it is moving back and forth like a boat on the water.  It makes me nauseous. I can’t talk properly.  There are other problems that the vertigo poses too. That is a post for a more lucid time.

What became clear today is that I have options.

I left my old job because I didn’t like the boss.  Is my new boss perfect? No-one is! But is she understanding?  Yes.  She knows I get my job done and take care of my students.

I have choices.  I get to choose to wear a dress to work or not every single day!

Today I made the choice to wear black and white houndstooth leggings, a black and white dress, with a velvet-ish jacket that has flowers on it. I added a green scarf to the ensemble.

I make choices everyday.  Some are good & some are meh. But the point is I still get to make them.  I own them.  No-one makes me do things I do not want to do.

There are so many people in this world who do not have that luxury and many of them are in bondage.  In slavery because they needed to feed their family and this long term solution seemed the good thing to do so their family can be fed. In slavery because their parents sold them due to a promise of a “better” life.  Working for pennies a day unable to see the end of the tunnel, plan for retirement, a vacation, a sick day, a mental health day.

My vertigo changes my day.  I am unable to do things I want to do.

My boss changes my life.  I do not call in sick for random things nor do I call in often.  But when I do I am not afraid to take the day to watch my kids or to heal myself.

Check out what IJM does for people to free them and then after they have been freed from slavery.  A bondage that they could not escape without our help.  My Dressember donation site is a good place to give.  As a collective we are raising $500,000 for IJM.  That money will go to help so many people discover a freedom they may never have known. Of course you can also pray, always, for the enslaved, the people working to free them, and the people who are helping the free in after care.

Day 10

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Today is the beginning of a very busy set of days for me.  I won’t bore you with the details.

I have nothing profound to say today.

I feel bad for that.

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Me and mah honks!

 

 

What I do have is support.  A feeling that I am cared for. A knowledge that I am loved.

That in and of itself is a profound statement.  If you have that you have a lot more than many people in the world have.

That is what I have for today.  I know it isn’t much where the written word is considered but it is a lot in the grand scheme of things.

There are people in the world who don’t even have the support of their parents or other family members, let alone friends who they can count on for love and support.

Support is a big deal for everyone on the planet.  It reminds us that we are important, because we are.  Every one of us is important (yes, even the ones we don’t like). We all have purpose and will impact someone on this planet.

If I could have a wish granted (that didn’t have all the movie caveats) it would be that the world would be free of slavery by the time that the pope has proposed and that all the people who are now free would have support.  That they would have at least one person they could look to and say, “They care about me. I matter to them.”

But what do they say about wishes? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?

Instead, we work tirelessly to work toward justice.  To find a way to support those who cannot support themselves.

The way I am working toward this end is by wearing dresses this Dressember.

How can you help?

Check out the IJM website to learn about advocacy, donate to my Dressember campaign, and or pray.

It’s day 9 and Christmas is coming!

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This blog today has been a hard one to process.  I have to be honest, reader, I am writing without planning.  That is a no-no according to your local high school Language Arts teacher (wait, that’s me!).  One should always brainstorm, outline, write in complete sentences, and make sure the reader NEVER is confused or you will loose them in the fray of your work.  The work should always be focused, well researched, and without emotion so that the reader will feel that you are unbiased. Well reader, I am ignoring all those conventions this month.  I have committed to wearing a dress daily, raising awareness for IJM and the modern human slavery epidemic, help get donations for the cause, and personally writing about it.  Writing daily has been difficult in and of itself. But I have managed to do it and I have actually grown my blog and twitter following by doing so.  This isn’t a popularity contest but people are following me WHILE I am posting almost exclusively about this world crisis called slavery.  That makes me feel like I may be making a little drop of a difference in the big bucket of the world’s problems.

SO…. for tonight’s topic….

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I wrote a little today in my journal while I was at school as suggested by my lovely daughter but what I processed tonight while I was out shopping is a little more pressing.

Shopping is not my most favorite thing to do.  But, alas, it is a necessary evil.  I needed to get an outfit for a wedding and for my grandmother’s 90th birthday later this month, so a shopping I went.  I bribed my lovely husband to go with me.  As I was out I began to think about what I needed to write about for my blog post.  After shopping my husband and I went out on a little date. In the car on the way to eat we heard an NPR post about an Irish writer who came to the US and her first visuals of all the strip clubs (there is more to the article but that is what stuck out to me). This made me realize that I needed to post about commodities.

We live in a society that is driven by commodities.  We “need” things daily.  There is apparently NEVER any food in my house, ask my two boys.  I always “need” to go to the store and buy new (FILL IN THE BLANK)__________. Commodities.  They are what drive us daily.

We always look for a deal.  We want the cheaper version of the same thing somewhere else.  I confess I am this way too.  See the tag in the lower right of the picture?  Yep, I bought that marked down dress! I didn’t really NEED another dress (I have more than I need, I am realizing that this month) but (enter invalid justification here) _________.

When I went to purchase the dress (yes you will see it later this month) the lady at the counter asked if I had any coupons.

I said, “no.”

“What about retailmenot?”

“I don’t subscribe to those because they made me want to shop more because I would be ‘saving’ money.”

“You are a wise woman.”

I looked at my husband and said, “I like to keep him around so we watch what we spend.”

She smiled wider and said, “Yep, you are very wise indeed!”

With the dress purchased we were off to the next store, my husband “needs” new running shoes.  We are visually stimulated to buy. So we look for that section of clearance priced shoes in the back.  However, if you are a savvy shopper you know to look for the real clearance section on the rack in the middle.  Here are the questions that ran through my head as I looked at ALL the clearance items, “Did the workers who made these get paid? How much did they get paid? It is a living wage fore the economy they live in?” We walked out of the shoe store without shoes, he didn’t need them that bad, he said.

The next store we went in was a barrage of images.  Images that hyper-sexualize the clothing, not to mention the people in the clothing.  They are really what’s for sale.  I know that our culture doesn’t think of it that way but it is true.  We wouldn’t buy that man’s shirt it it didn’t “read” well on a model.  We don’t want to purchase something that might make us “look” bad.  Walk past a V.S. or any other store that sells lingerie and you will see that particular brand of salesmanship.  It may not be the literal trading of humans but it is just that in so many ways. Now, think of those images with sale signs on them it is a crippling though.  What, exactly, are they selling?  It is difficult to decipher.  A lifestyle? A body image? A particular type of skin and hair color? The actual product? What is the commodity? (This reminds me of an art exhibit my daughter did in her book store a few months ago but I’ll talk about that in another post.)

What does this have to do with Dressember?  Well, quite a lot actually.  Images of hyper-sexualized females and males promote the issue that Dresssember is working hard to fight alongside IJM and their work freeing people from sexual slavery and slavery in general.  Slaves make many of the commodities we use. I know that if we carefully select the products we use we can get away from slave made products but it usually means we spend more money and cannot shop the deals (that is a huge and hard sacrifice!). It means we buy from retailers who care about the same issues we care about.  It means we talk with them about the hard issues.

As I there yet? I am working on it.  It will take time and a concerted effort on my part. But now that I am aware, I am working harder to do my part in the economic arena.

And now for the real reason you read this blog…. 😉

Yes, this is a real dressing room selfie! At least I looked at the mirror and not that phone.

Yes, this is a real dressing room selfie! At least I looked at the mirror and not that phone.

Monday #2!

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I had an epiphany today at work.

The announcements for the day ahead came on at 7:32 right after the pledge of allegiance and moment of silence.  One of them was about a collection for donations to the local animal shelter and, if memory serves, it said “bring in warm soft blankets for poor puppies and kitties at the shelter so they can have a safe and warm holiday.”  Do dogs celebrate holidays?  Do cats? How do you wish an animal happy holiday and what is that holiday called? What kind of traditions are included in these holidays? How do the blankets make the animals in the shelter safe?

Ok before I continue, I feel I must say these two things so you don’t think I am heartless towards animals who have no voice….

I honor the school club that is taking donations for the animal shelter.  I think it is a good thing to take care of animals we have deemed domesticated in our US culture. I am glad it is something the students can buy into and feel a sense of philanthropy.  It is a good thing to collect these blankets.

I have two cats who rule the house.  The kitties were found and rescued from New Orleans after Katrina hit. I love them.  They are very important to me. Their desire to sit on my lap or the keyboard of the computer while I am working is very endearing.  I have a neighbor who has dogs and they are the sweetest things ever!  I grew up with a cute little black cocker spaniel and then when I was in college my parents got a dalmatian that helped teach my kids to walk (not really but she treated them like they were her puppies). I think animals love their humans.  Who else always greets us at the door no matter how long we have been gone from home?  Who isn’t afraid of us when we have the flu and will sleep curled up even when we are so ill we can’t reciprocate? Their love knows no bounds. They are important to our way of life.  We, as people living in the US, find them necessary and often as important as humans.  What other culture has cards for “grandcats” or “granddogs” (the pets of your children who may or may not have children)? Just saying.

As I was saying, before I got distracted, we were in school this morning…..

My first period was taking a test so I had some time to muse.

In second period I had to teach but luckily we were talking about The Canterbury Tales. I love Chaucer! I began to think back to the satire presented in many of the characterizations and one in particular, the Nun’s characterization. He like this character but finds some of her choices to be a bit odd for her profession.

I don’t want to go into detail or bore you with a lecture about the nun but, the short version is – Chaucer was pointing out that she loved animals so much that she fed her doggies fancy foods and became distraught when mice (who carried many diseases) were ensnared in a trap.  Her job as a nun in the 1300’s was to care for the poor, ill, widowed, orphans, among other disenfranchised people of the time. She doesn’t seem to be good at her job as Chaucer never mentions her taking care of humans at all.

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Excerpt from The Prologue of The Canterbury Tales The characterization of the nun

 

As I was reading and considering this passage I began to think about our US culture.  Most of us aren’t nuns so maybe it isn’t our “job” to care for the disenfranchised. Maybe that’s why it seems that we care for animals so much but have a hard time believing that there are 29.8 million people held in slavery today. The staggering number of people that are held with out their consent is mind numbing, and it is so much easier to ignore it than it is to face.  So instead of talking about how to solve human suffering we talk about how to help animals in need.

This month I am wearing dresses every day, all day to bring awareness to human trafficking in the world.  I realize I am blessed to live in a country where I can choose what to wear, who to worship, to work outside the home or inside, to go out with ma honks on a Friday night , & so many other freedoms that are taken for granted every day.  I do not like to wear dresses. But every day I am considering the freedom more and more, to be able to choose whether I like wearing a dress or not.  This adventure is so much more than just a dress even after just 8 days of participation.  It is an awakening to a world that is in need.  It is an awakening I needed.

Will you help?  Here is a link to my donation site. If you are unable to give check out the IJM website and learn more about the very real tragedy of modern day human trafficking.  It is clear and present danger to many around the world.  Do not hold blind eyes to it any longer.

And because I am wearing dresses all month…here is today’s picture:

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A week of school is in the books

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Today was wonderful! I can truly say I had a great day. I have now spent 5 days wearing dresses and I haven’t passed out, lost my mind, hurt anyone, or spilled anything on them. I am even wearing them long after I get home. I am cooking, cleaning, and doing my general after school lounging in them.

Today was dress down Friday (jeans and spirit wear, I work at a high school). My breakfast buddies (Friday mornings are sacred!) asked why I was still “dressed” up. They all know that I love any excuse to wear jeans to work. I was so confident in telling them about why I was wearing dresses! Amazing start to my Friday!

Later in the day a student came in late (we were taking a test) and asked to speak to me I  that hall. With tears in his eyes he told me that he hadn’t told anyone abut that he felt like he could trust me and so he told me why he was late. My heart broke you this young man who was so willing to show me his heartache in the hallway if school.  Without going into details, he felt like I was trustworthy and would care about him. He isn’t the first student to say those words to me and he won’t be the last.

Later in the day I went and visited one of my cohorts and we talked about books, artists, & Dressember.  My colleague was excited about this journey and wanted to know more.  As we talked the words, “Are you trying to inspire me right now” were uttered in my direction. My direction!

Then after a family night of Chinese food, Santa Clause 1 & 2, & an attempt at decorating the Christmas tree (not successful I might add), my daughter called!! That was an hour and a half of a blessing. We prayed together at the end of our conversation ❤ <3.  I love that our lives have intersected.

I know that feelings like the feelings I had today do not last.  I know that when we are experiencing amazing things there are really HIGH points and really LOW points.

I realize that this post has very little to do with the fundraiser BUT THIS….if I was in bondage none of this would have happened.  If I lived in a different country it is likely that I wouldn’t have the wonderful students and co-workers that I do.  But my life isn’t different.  I am seeing my life for the first time as a blessing and as a gift that I can no longer take lightly.  I must DO.  This month I am doing, what will I do next month.  How will I effect those around me? How will I effect the world? I have no idea but I will do something.

Look at the picture of my dress.  I didn’t take a photo of the whole ensemble today but this shot is the epitome of who I am.  I am who I say I am.  I try my best not to put on airs for others.  I want to be as authentic as I can be.  My mix of patterns is how I see myself, a nice mixture of colors and patterns all somehow connecting and making sense although they shouldn’t.  It is the beauty that is everywhere if you choose to look for it.  I hope that you will stop by my donation page and check out what Dressember is doing with IJM.  Donate if you can, but more importantly, learn about the cause, tell other people about it, & find out how you can help.  Every little bit counts.Fotor_141783536467348

Day 3 Wheee!

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My students finally noticed!

So this morning my co-worker came in to see the ensemble.  She asked me again what the reason was for doing the Dressember event.  I told her all about the event, IJM, and how raising money for this event was the main reason I was participating. My first period student who were in the room were interested in what we were talking about so, I told them a little more. In my next period class we were studying Chaucer and The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. As we talked about the satire and social changes that Chaucer hoped to see it made me realize that I could easily talk about Dressember and all the changes in our society that need to happen.

I know I am only on day 3 but I am feeling empowered and able.  I am feeling like I am able to be authentic with people about why I am passionate about this subject.

I feel like I am already planning next year!