Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Journey with Project Enye Dream Accelerator

In the fall, my friend Stella posted about hosting a screening of a documentary called Being Enye. It caught my eye right away because it's all about growing up as first generation here in the United States when your parents are from a Spanish speaking country. My mom grew up in Guatemala and I was born here in the United States which makes me an Enye. I followed Project Enye right away on Instagram and was instantly connected to the woman who made the film, Denise Soler Cox.

Not long after this happened, I saw that Denise was inviting people to be part of the beta version of her coaching program. She mentioned in her stories that anyone interested would get one-hour phone call with her whether you signed up for the coaching program or not. I decided to give it a shot. After Danielle shut down her agency, I queried a YA novel and a picture book and was feeling very stuck in a rut.

The phone call with Denise was awesome. She was so easy to talk to and she wanted to hear all about my writing and why I thought I would want to work with her. By the end of the call I knew I wanted to work with her. In my publishing journey, I've truly missed being able to work with people of color and the fact that Denise is Latina made me feel seen.

The coaching program started in November and it was during this first cohort of the Project Enye Dream Accelerator that I remembered my dream of starting a fun and funky writing space called Story Exploratory. Thanks to the coaching  program, I was able to get Story Exploratory up and running and I can call myself a small business owner now.

Denise recently launched a podcast called The Self-Ish Latina and in her third episode, she shares a visit with Gary Vaynerchuk from Vayner Media. I started following Gary on Instagram and love learning from him. He's always super honest and talks about the importance of being honest.

Well, last week, I got to hear Gary speak in person and it was so fun. He was part of a day-long event that also included Tony Robbins. Tony was as high energy as I had hoped and I left rejuvenated.
Me and Gary. :)
Gary on stage speaking.

Since November, I learned so much about stretching past my upper limits and have had a blast hosting Story Exploratory workshops. They helped me get my energy flowing again and brought me to a place where I can write again. I'm slowly started working on my writing again and am so excited to have time to truly dig in this summer.

One of the coolest things about being on this journey with Story Exploratory is that I've gotten closer to one of our friends. Billy the Baker was the Best Man in our wedding. We met in college when he worked with Chad as a manager for the NIU football team. Billy is passionate about making cakes and will be going to culinary school as he launches his own business called Billy the Baker. I helped him work on his super sharp website and we went to the Tony Robbins event together.
Billy and me.
I'll write more about how life changing the Project Enye Dream Accelerator coaching program has been but for now I wanted to share a brief overview of where it has taken me. I never would have dreamed that Billy and I would be at an event like this listening to business people like Gary Vee and Tony Robbins but there we were and it was pretty awesome. 

This month, the Story Exploratory workshop is about staying close to your true north and using it to guide you. I'm super excited to talk about my journey with Story Exploratory and the power of following your heart and your dreams because you never know where it will take you. I can't wait!

Monday, April 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/29/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read The Alchemist. I've tried to read it before but I don't think I connected with it before the way I'm connecting with it now so this is the first time I actually got through it. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I still have to go back to Dealing in Dreams by Liliam Rivera.  It's a really cool book but I've been finishing up my work for National Board renewal and that has consumed me lately!  

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Changes, Like Whoa

Hello friends. It's been a while. Ever see blog posts like this where people say that they haven't blogged in forever and that they promise to blog again and then you look at the date and it was from 2016 or something like that?

Well, I *hope* this isn't going to be one of those posts. I do feel like my blog has been neglected. I still post my It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts and I still post about books as mentor texts...sometimes. I love my Love Writing posts but I've been totally inconsistent with that.

The cool thing about having a blog in general is it lets me think about when I'm writing, what I'm writing, and why I'm writing...or why I'm NOT writing. Just like my life ebbs and flows, so does my blogging. When I first stated blogging, I had a goal in my head to blog every. single. day. And I did pretty good for a while, then Kellee helped a ton, and then things shifted and shifted and shifted.

Not long ago I announced some pretty exciting changes coming up for me in the next six months. A friend asked me what all these changes were about. Where did they come from? And the truth is, they came from me. Looking back over the last seven years, I can see how so many things led me to now, a now that feels really really really right. I feel more aligned with who I am and what I'm supposed to be doing than ever before.

In high school, I remember a math teacher talking us through the proof of a problem. Line by line we moved toward the answer and then once we had solved the entire thing, she gave us the formula that  we could use a shortcut going forward.

I kind of feel like that's what they last seven years have been. Could I have taken a shortcut? Or gone straight to where I'm at now...I mean, maybe. But in the moment, I made the absolute best choices I could have made and they all contributed in getting me to where I am now.

This is me today at the dog park.
And where exactly am I now?

  • I'm now a small business owner! Story Exploratory became official in January and I started hosting monthly writing workshops. I've dreamed of this for a long time and thanks to a coaching program I joined, I finally was able to get them up and running. The learning has been awesome. I've learned about myself and about small business and it's been just so great. 
  • I'm going to Guatemala! I've wanted to go back since I first visited in 2016. After talking about it and knowing I needed to go, I finally booked myself a ticket. I'll be traveling on my own and staying with family in Guatemala and I couldn't be more excited. In some ways it feels like a rite of passage to go on my own but it's also a research trip. I have books that are ready to pour out of me but I want to get the details right so that's a big reason why I'm going. 
  • I'll be teaching again next year! I applied for an 8th grade ELA/SS and EL resource position at the middle school down the street where my older son goes to school. We've already talked about walking to school next year and I've been thinking about how I want to structure my classes and how I'll build an inclusive community in my classroom. I am soooooo jazzed.
These are my three huge announcements. Changes, like whoa. But I'm so ready! They all feel super right and like it's all meant to be. 

Writing this feels absolutely awesome. Especially because writing has been hard for me since last summer when my agent Danielle Smith was accused of fraud and closed her agency. All kinds of writing was hard. Nothing felt particularly fun or joyful or necessary even. I wrote but it was hard.

Not this though. Sometimes an idea begs to be written. I've heard writers talk about how words pour out of them and it hasn't happened to me often but writing this feels like the words are pouring out of me. The words wanted to be written. These ideas needed to be shared.  AND I know there are more words. They are ready too. 

I'm so excited to be back to blogging. I'm committed to sharing about my journey with Story Exploratory, my visit to Guatemala, and my transition back to teaching. Writing about my life and writing about what I'm reading sounds exhilarating in a way that it hasn't for so long. 

My one little word for the year is SHINE and I'm ready. I'm like Captain Marvel at the end of her movie...brilliant and blazing and owning her power. And I can't wait to chronicle it here. 

Keep shining!

Monday, April 22, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/22/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro and Your Story Is Your Power by Elle Luna and Susie Herrick. The first is a dystopian graphic novel that is super timely as our world seems to be moving faster and faster. And the other is a really powerful look at feminism with beautiful illustrations to match the text. I highly recommend both. I also read a stack of picture books and my favorite was The Good Egg by Jory John and Pete Oswald.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm still reading Dealing in Dreams by Liliam Rivera and have a few graphic novels to read that I'm really excited about. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Monday, April 15, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/15/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I finished New Kid and Once I Was Cool this week. I also finished up a course I was in this year for school so that felt amazing! 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm going to go back to Dealing in Dreams and I have a few writing prompt books from the library that look super cool. I might also have a couple bags of other books from the library too...there's a blend of picture books and professional books I'm hoping to dive into this week.

If you didn't see my announcement, I wanted to share that I'll be TEACHING again next year and I. Am. So. Thrilled! I couldn't be more excited. I'll be teaching 8th grade ELA/SS and supporting our English Learners so I've been reading more YA and thinking about how I want to structure the time I have. Woo hoo!!!

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Monday, April 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/08/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I started reading Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera...and whoa. It's already fantastic and I can't wait to see what happens next! I'm also reading New Kid by Jerry Craft and Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra. I love her essays and these have a writing theme that I'm thoroughly enjoying. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm going to continue reading Dealing in Dreams, New Kid, and Once I Was Cool.

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/01/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Announcements:
2019 NCTE Annual Convention
I'm so excited to be presenting at NCTE in Baltimore this year! 
I'm also on the Build Your Stack Committee and will be part of the 
great mini-sessions happening in the exhibit hall. 
Can't wait! Will I see you there?

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I read Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kiss Number 8 by Collen A. F. Veneble and Ellen T. Crenshaw, Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. They were all really good. I also read more of Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm going to continue reading Maine and I also have Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera to start. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


#classromobookaday and Vocabulary

This year I'm joining in on Classroom Book A Day fun with my 7th and 8th graders. You can read my first week with Classroom Book A...