The Joy of New Beginnings

I am a huge fan of beginnings. Beginnings speak the language of hope and possibilities for me. A fresh clean page in a notebook could become anything I want it to be – from a mundane to-do list to the first page of a novel to a love letter. Beginnings make me think of puppies and kittens and school shopping (new notebooks! fresh pens!) and springtime blossoms.

But you can trick yourself into thinking you’ve started anew.

My dad has a magnolia tree that produces the most beautiful blossoms. And nearly every winter that I can remember, right around when we are most desperate for the warm breath of spring to rejuvenate us, he cuts a small section of a branch off and brings it inside. Within a few days, he has this to show for it:


As this winter seems unending and other energy-dragging forces take their toll, a bit of rebirth seemed just what was in order. So here is a short list of beginnings that I have been enjoying this week:

  • Donalyn, Colby, and I have been talking about upgrading the Nerdy Book Club site for a long time. This week, it happened. And every minute we put into decision making and planning and actually doing the 3+ hours of offline updating was so worth it. I’m grateful to get to work with them and delighted that Deborah Freedman and Tom Angleberger lent their artistic talents to the project. Besides, I got to write this post about it with Colby in the wee hours of the morning over email.
  • I have taken a few minutes for the last few days to jot a few more lines of a novel I’ve started. Who knows if it will ever get finished. Or see the light of day. But I’m excited about the idea and curious about where it will go, so I’m totally pantsing this one. I’ll thank my students for encouraging this one – and my Facebook friends. :)
  • I had the best bowl of Rice Chex EVER yesterday. There is something about that first something you eat after one of those wretched stomach bugs that is so good that it seems impossible to fully explain in words.

Nearing the end of a big project also gets us psyched for what comes next. By this time next week, we’ll be done with two performances of The Wizard of Oz – the first musical I have been a part of since high school. I’d forgotten how much time you get to spend together on something like that. It’s all coming together so that almost every practice feels like we’ve added some new piece of the stage or the lighting or special effects (“Run, Toto, run!”) so it feels NEW.

The yearbook is nearly finished as well – so while the site was down the other day for maintenance, we started brainstorming about what next year’s book might look like. Talking about themes and covers and layouts was invigorating and we got all kinds of stuff done the next day when the site was up and running.

In the interest of celebrating new beginnings, I’ll be blogging daily for the month of March as part of the Slice of Life Challenge. I’ll probably add another quick post later about my day to be included in that.

This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.

This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.


22 thoughts on “The Joy of New Beginnings

  1. Write. Write. Write. Write! A friend of mine asked me if I thought about writing a book. It’s scary but it’s there. Write. Write! I can’t wait to see where your jotted lines lead you. :)

  2. Love the new “Nerdy” look –thank you for all you do to give us this resource. I start most days reading the Nerdy post. The community you began and continue to inspire is certainly something to celebrate! Best of luck with your challenge!
    Clare and Tammy

  3. Congrats on the Nerdy Book Club look – I love it! How exciting that you’re starting a novel! Being in a musical is so exciting! Looking forward to seeing your slices. :-)

    • The novel idea is still in really early stages, but I keep going back to this idea and playing around with different possibilities. Maybe it’ll get done. Maybe it’ll just get thrown around over and over until I find a way to use something from it to write something that gets finished.

  4. I don’t see how you do all that you do! I was wore out by the time I got to the end of your post – and then you are going to do the March challenge on top of that! I love the change in NBC, and I am thankful for that resource. Hopefully that beginning of your novel will see a terrific ending soon!

  5. I know I’m busy, but your week sounds very full, Cindy. I love the new Nerdy Book Club look you all created-nice to revise now & then. And congrats on almost finishing the performance & the yearbook-it was our school’s yearbook deadline week too-a crazy time I know. Glad to hear you’re also joining the SOLC. See you there!

  6. I love the new Nerdy look too and my favorite is the Nerdy skunk, too! Thank you so very much for the work you all put into NBC. It’s a tremendous resource. Sounds like you’ve had an incredible week. I’m glad to hear the stomach bug is done with. I look forward to hearing more about the musical.

  7. Isn’t it funny how a clean page in a notebook can be a new beginning….I love it. And I love the new Nerdy Book Club look. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  8. For me, the best thing is reflecting (with a new notebook, a fresh google doc, whatever) and when I start listing all I have accomplished, I sit back and say, “Wow, I really did all that?” That’s when I feel good about my late nights, early mornings, sacrifice of personal time, etc. I’m going to use your writing goal as inspiration too. Maybe I can take some time in March and flush out the ideas floating in my head instead of just saying, “I’ll wait till summer!” Good luck with the Wizard of Oz-how exciting! Oh, love the new Nerdy Book Club look too!

  9. I love your post. The Magnolias are amazing. I can’t wait to see the snow melt and things starting to grow here. I love a fresh clean notebook too with all of its possibilities. I buy lots of composition notebooks during back to school sales. It’s nice to crack open a new one. Have a great week!

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