Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.

-William Penn

Amidst tragedies and challenges it is easy to lose sight of our boundless blessings.  The comfort we will find in our trials, from our grieving, will be recognizing all that we have.  And when we have nothing else, we have each other.


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“The soul is healed by being with children.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Sandy Hook Elementary

Spending each and every day with 21 wonderful, bubbly children makes my life quite interesting.

Some days are happy. We fill our classroom with light, laughter, and lots of “teachable moments.”

Some days are a challenge. We do not feel like doing our best, being nice to our friends, or following directions.

Some days are all over the place. We are racing from one class to the next, leaving pencils on the floor and papers at our desks instead of in our backpacks to take home for the day. We forget a glove or our favorite hat and miss our buses to return for it.

Regardless of what it brings, each day is a blessing. Each day we spend together is the best day of the year. My students and their families have shared their lives with me, and I spend every day teaching them all that I can. Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science are part of the plan. Life lessons find their way into every subject. They will leave my classroom better people. That is what matters most to me.

It is my love of teaching and my love for my students that made this post so difficult to write. With that in mind, Friday during an in-service was __________________. (If you can find the appropriate word to place here to express my shock, horror, and disbelief, feel free.)

This week, our nation was faced with a devastating realization– not all people have the same motives that we do. We watched as the tolls rose and parents and students wept. We watched as a place of hope and caring was turned into the complete opposite. We watched as innocence was stolen along with the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. It something that no one could ever fix with mere words. I cannot begin to try.

I, along with so many others, can only try to continue the way I know how– with gratitude and hope.

I am fortunate enough to walk into my classroom this morning and see all 21 of those bright, smiling faces smiling back at me. We may have a happy day, a challenging day, or an off-the-wall day. Regardless of what the day brings, at least it will bring us together.

It is my hope that this post  brings you closer to hope and to those you love. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to ALL those affected. We thank all those who helped to protect school members and students. We thank the teachers who risked their lives to save their students.

Never forget that everything can change in an instant. Love those around you and never hesitate to tell them how much they mean to you. And for those of you who are blessed to share your lives with children: remind yourselves how much time spent with them can heal. They are light. They are all that is right with the world. They are hope. They are what matters most.

Love and Light,

Carly and Ray

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“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

— Khalil Gibran

Friends Playing on the Beach

Celebrating many different occasions with friends this week. It feels amazing to see the good in the world surround those I care about.

Remind yourself that it need not be only you who does the cheerleading. Let others be there and remind you of the amazing support system you have around you.

Share in the good and lift each other up in the bad. Laugh and let your tears wash away all that threatens your contentment.

Renew your faith in people each day by surround yourself with those who matter.

Life is good. Remind yourself of the little things that good people do that impact your life in big ways, today and everyday.

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Yogi Tea Wisdom

Yogi Tea. The most optimistic and inspiring of all teas. I couldn’t pass up the chance to share some “Yogi Tea Wisdom.”

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Bliss. Find yours.

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“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

-Albert Einsteinpassionately_curious_by_carnine9-d4wh7mc

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“Well done is better than well said.”

Ben Franklin



Unless you’re talking about steaks, then medium-rare.  But seriously, it’s humpday- time to stop talking about it and start doing it.

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“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”

— Frank A. Clark

People can get so caught up in the “big picture” that they lose sight of all the little things that make a difference. The screen on which you are using to read this post is made up of pixels. What better reminder that everything “big” is made up of so many small things?

Focus on the small to better achieve the big. Grand gestures and large successes stem from simple plans and small beginnings. So start small. Start today.


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“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.”

— Charles de Lint

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Last week, I began a holiday tradition with my classroom: The Elf on the Shelf. As a child, I never had one. This was certainly not a loss as I was enamored with the holidays regardless of sprites and special circumstance. However, upon two students requesting an elf’s presence in our classroom, I happily obliged.

As the days have passed, the elves have traveled around our classroom causing more commotion than productivity. While this might bother some teachers, I welcome it. Why? It seems like most of my students almost forgot that they were kids. Sometimes we like to act older than we are. Regardless of the holidays they celebrate or the information they have access to, we have all been reminded that we are all susceptible to magic and that magic is very real. We have all had a large dose of holiday spirit and I, for one, am ecstatic to provide a reminder of the joy this time of year is known for.

Sometimes children (and us as adults) can forget to believe. This forgetfulness can effect our ability to believe in a number of things: everyday magic, the good in the world, in other people, in ourselves, EVERYTHING! We are all so caught up in “acting our age,” but we should, more importantly, act as though life has not hardened us. We should prove that our faith remains simple like that of a child. We should practice believing in ourselves and others. We should believe that magic exists in the little moments and that people have the power to reignite our faith in the good.

I know I have be absent for a little while on the blog, and it pains me to see that happen. I am thankful, however, for this added time to think. We all need time to be reminded of what is most important. At this time of the year, especially, we are able to open our eyes and see the magic that exists around us.

I wish you many magical moments this holiday season, but especially this week. Let yourself get wrapped up in the magic. The magic is all around us. Do not let it go unnoticed.

Love and Light,


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“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”

-Buddy the Elf


Maybe it’s his charming optimism and bubbly personality.  Maybe it’s just that he is a cotton-headed ninny muggins.  Maybe it’s because he is oblivious to the world around him.  Whatever the reason, we can’t help but love Buddy the Elf.

Buddy knows know how to spread joy during the stressful holiday season.  Even if you’re not comfortable singing loud for all to hear, you can put on a big contagious smile to help get your coworkers, friends, and family in the holiday spirit.



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“You win not by chance, but by preparation.”

-Roger Maris

I was thinking this morning about how success begets success.  In college sports, one team makes some big plays and has a successful run at the end of a season, maybe they win a championship or go deep into the tournament, and the next year they can recruit better players or bring in a high profile coach.  Those players are more likely to make big plays and win big games, and the team is more successful.  With success on the field comes revenue from ticket and apparel sales.  Those revenues allow for new equipment and facilities, which in turn make the team more successful.  It’s an upward spiral.

But no team starts out on top.  So what’s that first catalyst for success?  Hard work.  Preparation.  You have to be ready to embrace success when you have the opportunity.  Don’t get caught sleeping this week.  Have yourself a nice cup of coffee, and get prepared to find yourself on top this week.

Happy Monday everybody.R

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