Books I read in 2018 (to the best of my recollection)

December 31, 2018

Rising Strong-Brene Brown

Daring Greatly (for a 2nd time)-Brene Brown

Braving the Wilderness–Brene Brown

Gifts of Imperfection–Brene Brown (Are you starting to sense my obsession?)

Hand Maid’s Tale–Margaret Atwood (Current affairs!)

Things Fall Apart–Chinua Achebe (Read in college, but I understood it this time)

5th Discipline System’s Thinking Field Guide–

Artist’s Way–Julia Camden

Behind the Beautiful Forevers–Katherine Boo

Leaders Eat Last–Simon Sinek

Age of Miracles–Karen Thompson Walker

The Secret History of Wonder Woman–Jill Lepore

Ready Player One–Ernest Cline

Artemis–Andy Weir

Alif: The Unseen–G. Willow Wilson

Miller’s Valley–Anna Quindlen (Book Club’s 100th book!)

Collector of Lost Things– (This may not be the right title, but the story is about a ghost and a locket?)

Radium Girls–Kate Moore

Little Fires Everywhere–Celeste Ng

Faith and Ferguson–Leah Gunning Francis

Lincoln in the Bardo–George Saunders

Time Traveler’s Wife–Audrey Niffenegger

Opening Minds (again)–Peter Johnston

From Disability to Possibility (again)–Patrick Swartz

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope–Anne Lamott

The Great Alone–Kristen Hannah

American Education 18th ed.–Joel Springer

Brain Rules–John Medina

Born a Crime (Audio)–Trevor Noah

Bossy Pants (Audio)–Tina Fey

Yes, Please (Audio)–Amy Poehler

Ghosts in the School Yard–Eve Ewing

Being with the trees reminds me…

September 2, 2017

So this past week, I spent three days with my Journey Fellows just being. This was our third retreat time together but we spent a good deal of our time in solitude, working on being still. During one of these times of quietude, we were given a Mary Oliver poem to contemplate and asked to go find a tree to simply be among. Instead of walking deeper into the woods, I chose a tree nearer the patio deck lined with rocking chairs. I chose this particular tree because it is like a decorative tree I have in my yard. It’s a tree that won’t get too big in it’s landscaped home; it doesn’t put off an abundance of leaves so it’s not too messy when fall inevitably comes around.

I sat down in the rocker looking at this decorative tree locked into the landscaped mulch bed maybe 25 yards away from the “real” treeline of the forest.  I read the Mary Oliver poem.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness,

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.


As I sat there looking at my chosen tree, the tree set apart from the others, I noticed it had a string of artificial lights unplugged, but still there. Its separateness and isolation struck me. This tree was apart from nature, decorative in its purpose, landscaped in a place where an abundance of “real” trees already exist. In its isolation from the other trees, it needs to be filled with artificial light requiring it to be plugged in.

We Journey Fellows have sometimes spoken of how our work of caring for and taking care of so many people and things sometimes makes us feel isolated and set apart from the rest like my lonely, decorative tree. This third retreat has me thinking about what the journey has been like…The first retreats brought us isolated trees–the ones with strings of artificial lights together, and they plugged us in and let that artificial light shine to remind us that we do have light to shine. But, the further we get into the journey, the more I realize that we are all real trees, not landscaped, decorative ones with a string of fake lights and a need to be plugged in to shine. Rather, we walk this journey among the trees that are the other Journey Fellows and our retreats are about the other trees calling out to us, “Stay while.” We slow each other down to make the going easier and the light more real.

Thanks, fellows, for being real.


On Father’s Day

June 18, 2017

My whole life, I could count on my dad to be doing some kind of home project.

Some of my earliest memories of Dad are of him working on our house.  I remember the time he remodeled the kitchen.  Stacey and I were supposed to stay out of the way, so we pretended to be in a fancy restaurant as we ate our Long John Silver’s out in the little summer house.  I remember when Dad and Gootch laid the carpet in the living room and we pretended that the giant cardboard roll was a log and we were lumberjacks.  I remember the summer that Dad had the fieldstone put on the house and the spring the swimming pool went in, and we all stood and watched as the fire truck filled it to the top.  I remember watching Dad frame my playhouse in the garage and him shaking his head saying, “That’s it. Your grandma isn’t paying anybody else for A’s on their report card.”  There is something good about being in a place you’ve seen your dad build himself… He had a lot of help from friends of course, but the vision for building a home was always his.

So I think that is what I’m going to miss the most about Dad.  You see, I’ve always been a little jealous of the boys with their stories of running around town with Dad to Hardees or the upholstery shop or to his buddy’s garage to look at a car. The boys all have the experience of working with Dad—or more accurately FOR Dad—out in the building, or the yard, or mini-barn.  They all know what Dad was like out there, and they’ve all heard him rant and rave about not doing a job right. Apparently, Dad had a whole other vocabulary that he saved for the boys out in the building.  Bryan said to me once after spending the day with Dad and my brothers moving Coke machines or pool tables or some other thing Dad had no doubt swapped for, “Man, you’re dad can cuss, now!  It was like a contest!” See Dad saved all that for the boys and they got to see a side of Dad that he never would have let any of the women in his life see.  And so, I’ve always been a little jealous that maybe the boys got to know Dad better than I did. I mean, Lord knows I certainly didn’t want to be yelled at for letting the car dry with water spots or for not knowing which tool he was pointing at with a foot as he was underneath the hood of a hot rod.  But I did want to know my dad like my brothers and the grandsons did.

But you see, once I got my own home, I came to understand why my dad always had a project going and I got to know my dad in a way I never had growing up as his little girl.  There isn’t a home project I’ve done that doesn’t have my dad’s input or hand print on it.  Dad told me how deep post holes have to be when I put up a fence.  He and Mike built the pergola in our backyard, and Dad gave me the lumber for my deck that spring.  The last project that Dad was physically well enough to help me with was a project I started in my garage—My garage, by the way is painted, ceiling included, because that’s how it should be, according to Dad. So this project of mine—I cut big hole in the drywall because I assumed there would be space I could use for storage.  Luckily, I was right.  But I was also stuck.  I cut the hole and framed a doorway, but I didn’t know how to attach a covering to the hole I had made.  Dad came to the rescue.  He built a door for me complete with trim, and he patiently explained to me what he was doing, which tool to use and why.  When he gave me his jigsaw, I felt like I had been given a badge of honor.  I was so proud of that silly little saw.  I was telling my brother, Stacey about the project, and Stace said, “Yeah, I know Dad was really impressed with you.”  And, I thought this is why my brothers keep going out to the garage with Dad even though they know he’s going to yell once in while. When Dad is impressed with you, you know you’ve done it right.  I know my dad was proud of me for lots of things and he always let me know that.  But for Dad to be proud of me for being able to make a house into a home with my own hands the way he had for my whole life, I will treasure that forever.

What I did on my Sabbatical: by Shelly Furuness

May 24, 2017
  1. Took an art class on drawing at the Indianapolis Art Center
  2. Documented my creative process
  3. Took a tennis lesson
  4. Took a swim lesson
  5. Created little paintings with oil paints and really liked it
  6. Saw Hidden Figures in the movie theater at 10:00 in the morning all by myself on a Monday morning
  7. Wrote a book chapter about teaching middle schoolers in an online environment
  8. Read about 20 books
  9. Got a tattoo
  10. Got a massage
  11. Saw a nutritionist
  12. Wrote weekly at CTS and had several wonderful lunches in the cafe there
  13. Attended a Writing Workshop on Flash Memoir
  14. Learned about Scandinavia’s healthcare and education systems
  15. Met new Journey Fellow friends at Waycross in Bloomington, IN
  16. Canoed at Sugar Creek
  17. Hiked at Turkey Run with those Journey Fellow friends
  18. Contra danced in a barn near a historic covered bridge
  19. Made a story stick to walk with
  20. Spent 9 days in Florida with my boys and in-laws for Spring Break
  21. Went to Universal Studios to explore the expanded Harry Potter World
  22. Took a glass bottom boat ride in a natural spring in Florida
  23. Hit golf balls
  24. Worked out with fidelity the whole semester
  25. Learned that the Indiana Department of Education loved our Middle-Secondary Special Education proposal
  26. Tried spin class again
  27. Loved water aerobics
  28. Watched an Atlanta Braves spring training game
  29. Started a blog
  30. Began a daily writing practice thanks to Bryan’s Boot Camp
  31. Drove my son to weight training all semester
  32. Meditated with Oprah and Deepak for 21 days
  33. Had brunch with my friends more than once
  34. Attended Birdman with a live drumming performance at Clowes
  35. Attended several One Butler Brain Project lectures with my boys
  36. Volunteered to review science textbooks for my boys’ school district
  37. Hung out at the middle school team meetings at the Lab School on Fridays from February-May
  38. Wrote an (almost finished) article with my friend and colleague, Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco
  39. Visited Stockholm, Sweden
  40. Visited Copenhagen, Denmark
  41. Visited Reykjavic, Iceland
  42. Rode a bike (without crashing) in Copenhagen
  43. Ate herring–multiple times
  44. Listened to newly arrived students in Vallentuna tell their stories of arrival in Sweden
  45. Had wine and cheese in the lovely home of my Swedish Hoosier colleague, Angelica Granqvist
  46. Got to know my Butler colleagues better by traveling with them for 14 days
  47. Soaked in the Blue Lagoon with a silica mud mask on my face and a drink in my hand
  48. Ate a salmon burger off a salmon wagon
  49. Tried Thai food for the first time
  50. Walked through Kronsborg Castle which is the setting for Hamlet
  51. Saw the “real” Little Mermaid
  52. Thought deeply about the restructuring of our College of Education and proposed some ideas
  53. Took a class called Writing Life through the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers
  54. Applied for and was granted a BAC grant
  55. Spent 13 days from 9:00-4:00 being a student in the National Writing Project at IUPUI
  56. Continued participating in the Writing Life and reconnected with a writing friend from high school
  57. Hiked 8 miles at Clifty Falls with my boys
  58. Fell in the creek hiking trail 2
  59. Didn’t teach the summer cohort for the first time in 9 years
  60. Celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary
  61. Co-wrote an article with Michelle Trainor for the Middle School Journal
  62. Took baby steps rethinking curriculum with colleagues that might enhance preparation of for middle childhood
  63. Learned that STEM grants require much more than a month to prepare
  64. Traveled back to the UK with Dr. Esteves, Bryan and 16 students
  65. Navigated the Tube in London
  66. Saw Twelfth Night at the Globe
  67. Saw Julius Caesar performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon
  68. Climbed to the summit of Arthur’s Seat
  69. Participated in a storytelling workshop with a professional storyteller in Edinburgh, Scotland
  70. Walked along the dock where the Titanic was launch in Belfast
  71. Meditated with Oprah and Deepak for another 21 days
  72. Had my first pint of Guinness
  73. Walked along the Giant’s Causeway and learned about Finn MacCool
  74. Learned that the Peace Wall in Belfast is about keeping peace, not celebrating it
  75. Took time, breathed deeply as often as I wanted, and remembered my “why”

Books I Read During Sabbatical

May 4, 2017

Do Not Go On–Manuscript Draft by Bryan Furuness

Hillbilly Elegy–JD Vance

A Gentleman in Moscow–Amov Towles

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness–Michelle Alexander

Station Eleven–Emily St. John Mandel

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone–J.K. Rowling (for ol’ time’s sake)

One Hundred Demons–Lynda Barry

The Promise of Paradox–Parker Palmer

Turning to One Another–Margaret Wheatley (Re-reading from 2011)

The Servant as Leader, original Essay–Robert K. Greenleaf

The Case for Servant Leadership–Kent M. Keith

Teaching from the Heart–Sharon Draper

The Heart of Higher Education–Parker Palmer and Arthur Zajonc

The Wonder–Emma Donoghue

Let Your Life Speak–Parker Palmer

Hidden Wholeness–Parker Palmer

Show Your Work–Austin Kleon

Start with the Way–Simon Sinek

The Active Life –Parker Palmer

Just Mercy–Bryan Stevenson

To the COE Class of 2017

May 4, 2017

So traditionally, I select a children’s book to share, but I have something a little different for you all. I have a poem I’d like to give you.  The poem is by Joyce Rupp with a few tweaks for our occasion.  The poem is called Old Maps No Longer Work. Here it is:

I keep pulling it out –
the old map of my inner path.
I squint closely at it,
trying to see some hidden road
that maybe I’ve missed,
but there’s nothing there now
except some well-travelled paths.
they have seen my footsteps often,
held my laughter, caught my tears.

I keep going over the old map
but now the roads lead nowhere,
a meaningless wilderness
where life is dull and futile.

“toss away the old map,” she says
“you must be kidding!” I reply.

she looks at me with those eyes
and repeats, “toss it away.
it’s of no use where you’re going.”

“I have to have a map!” I cry,
“even if it takes me nowhere.
I can’t be without direction.”

“but you are without direction,”
she says, “so why not let go, be free?”

so there I am – tossing away the old map,
sadly fearfully, putting it behind me.
“whatever will I do?” wails my security

“trust me” says my soul.

no map, no specific directions,
no “this way ahead” or “take a left”.
how will I know where to go?
how will I find my way? no map!

but then my soul whispers:
“there was a time before maps
when pilgrims travelled by the stars.”

it is time for the pilgrim in me
to travel in the dark,
to learn to read the stars
that shine in my soul.
I will walk deeper
into the dark of my night.
I will wait for the stars.
trust their guidance.
and let their light be enough for me.

Friends, for the last four years, you’ve been following a map someone else determined for you—Okay,—it was probably me and my curriculum maps.

But now is the time for you to be your own mapmaker. Let your life be a map in the making. Live your adventure and document the obstacles so that others might travel by the light that guides you until they find the courage to make their own way. Parker Palmer says, “Draw deep on your values and visions for a better world, and follow them even when doing so gets you crosswise with others.”

And know this. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. More than 126 million seconds have passed since you arrived on campus as first year students. See, there is plenty of time. But time is funny–it has a way of slipping by quicker than we’d like on occasion and dragging on indefinitely, especially when we are looking forward to spending our time differently. So, I encourage you to not waste a single second on doubting whether you are ready to make your own map and chart your course. You are.  And I, for one, am incredibly grateful for all the time I’ve had with you and for your willingness to trust the maps made for you while you were waiting for this moment to create your own.


Outstanding Seniors

May 3, 2017

Since 2012, one of my favorite (and most anxiety producing) responsibilities in my role as the COE’s Middle-Secondary Program Coordinator at Butler University is to write the address for Senior Celebration night which ends with the  announcement of the graduating class’s Outstanding Middle-Secondary Student award winner. I love doing it because it provides me a bit of a respite at the point in the semester usually fraught with stress, deadlines and demands to stop and reflect on the joyful journey I’ve witnessed another group of amazing students take.  The address almost always begins the same way–recognizing (okay, bemoaning) the difficult task of naming just one student for the award. Each time I write it, I struggle with the paradox that while I start each address nearly the exact same way year after year, it is no less true each time I say it. In the act of writing, I’m always reminded of what a privilege it is to have witnessed up-close so many moments of transformation in these young people. In the act of addressing the class, I’m reminded of what a privilege it is to witness up-close the specific moment of transformation where we change roles from being students and professor to being colleagues.

This spring, as I’m only sabbatical, the privilege of writing the address belongs to my colleague, but even as she prepares to give the address, I’m still thinking about the joyful journey this group has had. This got me thinking back to the other addresses I’ve given and I thought  I’d like to share those past addresses here to honor my former students and to make their beautiful teaching practice more public.

Story of Creative Process

April 10, 2017

The link below will take you to a visual story I created to document what I learned about my creative process during sabbatical.

Story of Creative Process

To the class of 2014

April 2, 2017

Each year, the faculty of the middle-secondary program is given the charge to name one outstanding student who we feel embodies the vision and core values of our college as well as the goals of our middle-secondary program. The task is almost never easy. Really, that task of selecting a single graduate seems impossible. It seems impossible when a compelling case could be and has been made for each one of our graduates. Truly, the entire middle-secondary program class of 2014 is outstanding, and this class is also very special to me for another reason.

Ten years ago, in the spring of 2004, most of this class of 2014 was finishing 6th grade–their first year of middle school. As for me, I was leaving my own middle school classroom to pursue a new teaching path…one that involved the preparation of new teachers.

Back in 2004, I had an 18 month old and a newborn son at home and I was determined to prepare middle and high school teachers to teach in schools as they should be and not simply perpetuate schools as they existed.

Now, ten years later, here we are all together in the spring of 2014 continuing the beautiful cycle of endings and beginnings. Tonight I have the honor to stand before this amazing group of new teachers who will tomorrow end their time as undergraduates and begin their lives as educators. And if I’m very lucky, my son—the one who was 18 months old when I left my middle school classroom—he will be taught by some of you as he begins middle school this August. And if he does have any of you as a teacher, I’m confident that he’ll encounter school as it should be.

During their time in the College of Education, the class of 2014 has witnessed lots of political conversations about how schools should be, how teachers should be prepared, and how those teachers should be held accountable.  And in spite of the tone of those conversations, this class of educators has chosen to boldly speak truth to power. The truth is that our College is sending out the very best and the very brightest there is. In a time when the rhetoric around school and teacher accountability aims to boil performance outcomes down to a simplistic ranking, we are sending out educators who are sophisticated and smart enough to understand the complexities that come with working and caring for our students. They are also wise enough to see that displaying a willingness to try something that’s never been done before or making a difference in the lives of individual students doesn’t fit neatly in a rubric– and that’s okay. They understand that when it comes to teaching and learning there’s never just one right way.

But alas, there can be but one graduate named as the outstanding middle-secondary student:

This year’s honor goes to a person who nearly all of us in the College of Education, be we student or faculty, have counted on for help at one time or another.  This young woman was instrumental in crafting the Information Literacy minor; she helped to co-teach one of our Technology in Education courses, through her honor’s thesis she conducted a teacher research study that will help reshape curriculum in our College of Education, and she’s helped more of her peers with their professional e-portfolios than we could even begin to count. During her 8 semesters at Butler, this student was in four of my classes, one of my husband’s, I advised her amazing thesis project, and I’ve supervised her student teaching experience.  And in all this time, it has been my privilege and my joy to watch this young woman emerge from the shadows and into spotlight. Ladies and gentleman, the 2014 Outstanding Middle-Secondary student is Ms. Michelle Trainor.

For the last three years, Ms. Trainor has been an amazing middle school English teacher. She is also on the cusp of earning her Master’s in Effective Teaching and Leadership from Butler in May of 2017. She was the co-developer of the project-based summer enrichment curriculum implemented the by the Horizon’s middle grades program in the summer of 2016. She was also an invited presenter at the National Horizon’s Conference in Atlanta. Within and beyond her school district, she’s been recognized for her leadership in meaningful technology integration. Further, her work on helping and coaching others in how to align personal philosophy with curriculum as a means to thrive in the classroom has exponential possibility for our profession.

Work Spouse

March 31, 2017

On October 26th, 2016, I had the privilege of addressing friends and colleagues as we honored Dr. Kelli Esteves as the 2016-2019 College of Education Guyer Chair. Here, I share my thoughts with those of you who couldn’t be there:

I’m so excited to stand before you this evening as we honor my friend, my colleague, and my work wife—Dr. Kelli Esteves.

Now, you may be wondering why I just called Kelli my work-wife, but I can assure you that having a work spouse is a real thing. A “regular” marriage is a public declaration and recognition of a special union two people willingly enter into and a work marriage is pretty similar. When you have a work spouse, there is a recognition on the part of other colleagues that co-workers have a special kind of partnership. Working with Kelli has been a special kind of partnership. And, by the way, there are academics who are actually doing research on this phenomenon so it must be a real thing, right?

Dr. Debra Major, for example, is a professor of organizational psychology at Old Dominion University, and some of her current research focuses on work spouse relationships. Dr. Major contends that the work spouse relationship is the best kind of partnership. It is a sort of relationship that is pared down to the relationship core. The psychological components that we appreciate most about being in a relationship with another person whether that’s shared values, compatible personalities, or shared interests are there too in a purer form and it’s pretty great that there’s no need or cause to argue about bills or dirty dishes in the sink. Another scholar from Creighton University, Dr. Chris McBride, says that that the best part of a work marriage is that it’s characterized by trust, reciprocity and support. He says the trust piece is crucial because both professional satisfaction and professional success are at stake.  After all, work—for better or for worse–comprises nearly 90,000 hours of our lives, and if we are very lucky, we sometimes find a co-worker to share those 90,000 hours with who supports us in sickness and in health, in good time and in times of uncertainty. We find a confidant, a co-conspirator, and a kindred spirit. We find that trust, reciprocity, and support we need to make our work meaningful. And, when Dr. Kelli Esteves came to Butler in the fall of 2010, I found that.

When Kelli was going up for tenure and promotion, I wrote her a letter of support. Prior to writing that letter on Kelli’s behalf, I had only written two other support letters, and both had been for former professors and mentors—women I admired and in whose path I wanted to follow.  As I sat down to write this letter of support for my friend and peer, I wondered what I could share about Dr. Esteves’s strengths that would best support a colleague I admire and walk next to on this professional journey.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that many of my own best moments on this path and the contributions I’ve been able make to our college so far have come directly from the times when I’ve been working right next to Kelli.

She has been a very significant influence in my own professional development and successes as well as my personal growth and adventures.  Professionally, every time I’ve stretched myself, Dr. Esteves has been by my side whether that’s been in our co-facilitation of the Time to Think retreats, co-presentations at conferences, or co-taught blocks of the Core II over the last 4 years. It’s been at A-Team where we trust that we can count on each other when navigating the grid and grind of scheduling and faculty load assignments. It’s been on search committees and at my kitchen table with our 4th Year Review materials spread out before us. Personally too, Kelli’s been by my side when I’ve stretched myself to take a risk or go on an adventure. She’s been with me on the High Ropes course where challenge-by-choice took on new heights. And mostly recently she willingly and enthusiastically let me—my whole family, actually–go with her to England to study children’s literature. We traveled by planes, trains, tubes, and broomsticks.  We kayaked in a freezing lake with it’s own monster during a storm. We survived a 4-mile march into oncoming traffic to make the pilgrimage to Beatrix Potter’s home and got into a bit of a jam with the very large bus on a very narrow road. We stormed castles in Scotland and raised a pint in the dark when the restaurant lost power. In short, we had a grand adventure and a trip that I’ll never forget.

However, the most important thing that my work with Dr. Esteves has yielded is a relationship I deeply value–one that is the best kind of partnership because at its core, it’s built on trust, reciprocity, and support. With her support, I’m a stronger faculty member of our college.

Kelli exemplifies what it means to be a truly collaborative colleague.  While I say Kelli is my work wife, the truth is that she gives all of her colleagues the same trust, reciprocity, and support that she gives me which is why our senior colleagues have recognized her as the next Guyer Chair. And while a clock is the gift traditionally given in celebration of the first year anniversary, this particular clock given to Richard Guyer for outstanding service to Butler University is passed along to the newly named chair at his or her installation.  So, Dr. Esteves, I entrust this to you now as it continues to keep count of our next 80,000 or so hours.  I extend my gratitude and my congratulations, and I look forward to many more anniversaries!