Living life, full of life ~ “Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration.”

Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.” ~ Anthony Robbins

To me this quote sums up what I feel like my lovely guest this week might say, or better yet, something she embodies.

We have never met in person, although I feel like we would be dear friends.  We would act silly, have fun, talk passionately about whatever topic grabbed out attention.   She is someone who is good for someone like me. While I have a goofy center, I do sometimes take life too seriously; however when in close proximity to the just the right person, my seriousness flies out the window and there is a version of me that is light, happy and silly.

In addition to her talents as a writer, she is also a teacher. Having been a teacher myself in Japan for 2 years to  middle school age kiddos, I cannot begin to tell you the level of respect I have for her profession. I always say I cannot understand why our teachers don’t get paid more. If you go spend 8 hours a day in a classroom with a room full of children, you will leave with a different level of understanding of what happens in those crucial developmental years.  Part teacher, mother/father, mediator, advocate, facilitator and fairy godmother/father, our good teachers are a treasure.  In my bones, I know Rene’e is one of those teachers.

Today is special to me in sharing Rene’e. Her enthusiasm and support of me and my growing blog brightens my day. She is quite successful in this bloggy space and she is both generous with her support as well as her spirit.  When I was really struggling with feeling overwhelmed a few weeks ago, she showed up at my blog as a friend and mentor.  She gave me the words I needed (and the reminders) that it was ok to take a step back and to not put so much pressure on myself.  As you may have gathered in your time here, I sometimes need others to help me put on the breaks, and if there is one thing I learned from the all too-early birth of my minis, I need to listen better to others and myself.

Experience brings knowledge and now as I read below I now have a greater understanding of where she may have come up with these oh so wise words for me.

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce to you Rene’e A. Schuls-Jacobson. A wonderful person, blogger, writer, teacher, friend.  So that the picture below doesn’t totally confuse you, her blog is called,‘ Lessons From Teachers and Twits.’  You may be able to see what I mean just in her smile…<3

1)  Shannon:  Why and when did you start blogging?

Renee:  I started blogging in May of 2010, but I’ve written stories, kept diaries and journals my whole life. I won a writing contest in 2nd grade, and I think I was profoundly aware that I sucked so hard at math that I’d better work on this other area at which I seemed to excel. It’s worked out pretty well.

2) Shannon:  Where would we find you now on your blogging journey from where you started?

Renee:  Believe it or not, I’ve had to pull back a bit. This year my son will be celebrating his bar mitzvah and I am the chief party planner. And while I normally post 3 or 4 times a week, I have found that I’m just not able to keep that up – especially because I am working very hard to complete a first novel at the same time. I simply can’t do everything at the same time, and I’ve had to recognize this and adjust.

3) Shannon:  Since you are a teacher, and the mom to a middle school aged son, what are 2 important things you would want people to understand about our kids in the education system?

ReneeI would not claim to be an expert in the field of education. I’ve been teaching for twenty years. I’ve taught in disadvantaged urban settings, in outstanding suburban public settings and in uber-privileged private school settings. From what I can see, things are terribly broken in our public schools.

Students receive far too much homework, and there is much too much pressure to do well on standardized tests, which often give everyone a false sense of security about their child’s academic preparedness. In my opinion, things were better when parents trusted well-prepared principals and teachers to deliver what they needed to their own unique student bodies. The problem these days is that people want to see quick changes, and change dos not come quickly in education. I am in touch with students from 15-20 years ago who – only now – recognize why I made them learn how to write an independent thesis statement instead of feeding them one myself.

I am also horrified by the increase in bullying and teenage suicide, which we have witnessed over the last decade. There have always been mean kids, but I see a correlation between increased stress levels and the increased testing as well as the expectation that everyone must go to college. I would say, in fact, NOT everyone should go to college. We need to legitimize trade school training and create more work-study programs to help students who are not going to excel in an academic environment. I truly don’t understand why we continue to try to shove everyone down the same chute.

4) Shannon:  Who or what do you find inspiring?

Renee:  The summer: orange day lilies, hanging out at my neighbor’s pool, eating purple popsicles, having water wars, going sailing or water-skiing, making s’mores. Everything about the summer makes me feel young again.


5) Shannon:  If you were trapped on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you?


I’m a huge “Survivor fan, so I’ve thought about this.

1. Slate (to make fires) in a plastic baggie.

2. A Tarp. (It actually rains a lot on deserted islands)

3. My best friend. If I had her, I would always be entertained. Plus, she’d bring a sharp knife and a great book.

6)  Shannon:  What is one thing about you people might be surprised to know/learn about you?

Renee:  I dance. Like all the time. Even in public. Sorry if you are embarrassed.

7)  Shannon:  Did you make any New Year Resolutions and have you followed through so far?

Renee:  I’m not big on resolutions, but I did set some goals this year. I’m working on completing my fiction manuscript by December 2012. My writing partner, El Farris, is also trying to complete hers and we send each other new chapters each Wednesday for critique. It really helps to have an accountability partner. So far, we haven’t missed a week.

8)  Shannon:  What are 3 things you hope people will take away from visiting your blog or reading your stories?


I hope they like my writing voice.

I hope they understand that I am genuinely interested in reading their comments.

I hope they think I’m hot.

9)  Shannon:  What pearl(s) of wisdom can you leave us with that you suggest to make each day ‘anewfavoriteday?’

Renee:  Watch a different Lawrence Welk video on YouTube each morning. No one could wear orange polyester like Lawrence Welk.

Rene’e you couldn’t have know this, but there are 2 things in here that make us kindred.  1. I used to work on “Survivor.” I worked for Mark Burnett and so your love of Survivor is closely tied to my own career loves and 2. and more importantly, I LOVE Lawrence Welk.  I used to watch Lawrence Welk almost every Saturday with my Grandma Grace who loved him. Emma is her namesake and she is one of the great loves of my life.  LW is a most fond memory of my childhood and indeed he does rock orange polyester like none other.

Thank you to Rene’e and to all of you for joining me today.  If you want to learn more about Rene’e, please visit her blog at

You can also find her on Facebook at

And on Twitter at @RASJacobson

If you would like to read more “Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration” posts, I welcome you to join me!

If you think one of your friends or inspirations should be featured on “Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration” please leave a comment here and I will reach you to learn more!

Happy ‘newfavoriteday!’

55 thoughts on “Living life, full of life ~ “Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration.”

  1. Shannon! Thank you so much for your super kind words here. I have to say, this is probably the nicest intro anyone has ever written for me. You sure know how to make a blogger feel special.

    I work up feeling like someone sacked me with a bag of Mah Jongg tiles last night, but this is making me feel so much better.

    Thanks for being such a generous host. And I am really going to have to hear about that whole Survivor thing. I know someone who who worked in editing on the first and second seasons.

      1. Ah Faith, my beloved most faithful reader AND most patient Mah Jongg teacher…

        I am throwing you the most amazing beads! They are made of Mah Jongg tiles and all the money I am going to lose to you in the future.

        So I was so stinkin’ slow. 😉

    1. Shirtsleeves: Your Mardi Gras beads are made of books and erasers and Smartboard markers. Also, the beads of made of really good thesis statements. (Which means in parts they are kind of invisible.) You’d love them.

      Thanks for following me here.

  2. This is a really weird small world thing going on. First I learned of Nina and then learned of you through her. Now I see Renee and have recently been following her too. I love this!!! Besides being a life coach, I’m also a school counselor at an Orthodox Jewish K-8 school. I love Renee’s style and what she has to say. Hey Renee…if you feel like mentoring a newbie blogger in between your son’s Bar Mitzvah (Congratulations, by the way) let me know! (Ok, I didn’t come here to beg for help, it just came out).

    Loved the interview! I’m also very disheartened with the level of just plain meanness and incidence of teen suicide. Somewhere along the way, kids are losing their ability for compassion and kindness. They aren’t building the foundation of coping mechanisms because they are overstressed, and those young, developing brains can only cope with so much. It’s why I love what I do…I get to work one-on-one with the developing brains to show them and teach them to see the wonder and beauty inside themselves.

    Have a great day!

    1. Carrie, you and I clearly have great taste in people:)

      I will let Rene’e speak up but so delighted you came by to comment and as for what you too are doing to help our youth, thank you. They need every bit of time and empathy we can give them so that they have the self-worth to stay strong when things are quite so easy. Have a great day.

    2. Hi Carrie! So nice to see you stalking… I mean following me here, too. First of all, I LOVE Nina. Huge fan. She and I are exchanging posts in a few weeks, and we are both very excited about that.

      I love that you are in an Orthodox K-8 school. I have a friend who is considering an administrative position a our local Hillel school. I think she’d have the best job in the world as she would not have to do ANY of this stupid standardized testing or any of this new “Core Four” curriculum which is coming down the road.

      I would love to talk to you about your blog, but you have to finish planning my son’s bar mitzvah for me. Hahahahaha. I crack myself up. (Seriously, I plan to jump over to check you out right after I finishing commenting here.)

      Your Mardi Gras beads are blue and white with Stars of David on them. And they are fabulous. Wear them proudly. 😉

      1. I’ve got your Bar Mitzvah all planned out…Mardi Gras beads for center pieces. Ok, let’s talk! haha

        The Jewish schools (or any private school) have their own dset of issues, trust me. And, we do standardized testing. I believe it’s a requirement either for WASC accredited schools or all schools (not sure which because I’m not an administrator, thank goodness). I just go love on the kids, disrupt classroom teachers (because it’s great fun) and goof off. 🙂

    1. I die for Lawrence.

      And Leeeeesha, you know me well enough to know that you shouldn’t see everything that’s coming.

      Like remember the time we were driving around in N’awlins and I went tresspassing? 😉

      Your Mardi Gras beads are… well, you probably have enough Mardi Gras beads so that you don’t want any more. Or do you always want more? 😉

    2. That’s what I figured. I know we maxed out after our 5th year in NOLA. That’s when we started LEAVING town.

      Or, at least, I did. The parades — while fabulous — make it hard to get around.

      So no beads for you.

      Just a quiet place to tap on your ‘puter. 😉

  3. Followed over from Renee’s place. It’s really Mardi Gras?! Had no clue.

    I grew up watching Lawrence Welk with my Granny. It does have a very calming effect. I swear it’s helped me be a more patient mother. 😉

    1. Nina: I know you are but what am I? *sticks out tongue*

      Look up! I’m tossing you your Mardi Gras beads! They are made of pacifiers and infant toys and the little Twitter bird. Because your Twitter tips are the best! 😉

  4. It’s always a treat to read more about Renee, who, incidentally, is totally hot (especially in beads).

    I can’t wait to get my hands on that…

    …novel. 😉

    1. Jules:

      Well, we all know what your beads are made of, sistah. They are hot pink and made out of your slap bracelets! Duh! They say GoGuiltyPleasures all over them — which is, of course, totally fitting.

      And I can’t wait for you to get your hands all over my junk either.

      IYKWIM. 😉

  5. Renee, you say you are a huge Survivor fan? If so, then surely you would have known you don’t start fire with slate – you need flint! Flint and steel (the machete) are used to create a spark to light the little pile of kindling. Sorry, Renee, the tribe has spoken!

    1. Dammit, Faith! I meant flint. Oy. You have seen me play Mah Jongg.

      “One soap!”
      “No it’s just soap!”
      {Punch in the arm.}

      I MEANT to say flint, but I wrote slate.

      Then again, I would have probably found a way to start fire with flint.

      Just sayin’. 😉

  6. Renee, I read your post at your own site, then came over here to comment. I didn’t notice anything about how you got all those beads. From what I understand, there’s one way women get beads around Mardi Gras . . .

    1. David, I will have you know that I have never done anything other than hold my hands up in the air and smile to receive all my beads.

      That said, this is about 1/3 what I raked in 20 years ago when I lived in NOLA.

      So that was little discouraging…

      But yes, there are some silly women who will do some crazy things for a bit of plastic. 😉

    2. David! I forgot to give you your beads! Here you geaux. Got ’em? Dey be covered with pictures of your family. All the way back to your grandmother and on down to your grandchildren. The baubles are huge and represent love. There are crosses to symbolize your faith. And there are open hands. To symbolize your giving and generous spirit. Because you are all that, my sweet.

      How dat, baby? 😉

  7. Renee, You are an amazing person & any kid who comes through your class is going to be forever touched by what you have to say. I hope my children have teachers as inspiring as you. And the teacher who praised your writing in 2nd grade? Thank goodness she recognized talent because she was right: your writing is wonderful!

    1. Jen: I could cry every time I think of Mrs. Church. She was truly put on this earth to save me. I don’t know what my life would have looked like without her.

      But I will say to have my name in the same sentence with her blessed memory is the highest compliment.

      And so now I will give you your beads.

      They are made of “baginas” and tampax earrings and bracelets. They have a few little anchors – because you are that for your family. And they also have feathers because you know how to soar, and you are giving your children those same wings. Yup, a bagina with wings. Seriously, doesn’t that kind of sound like you? Wear those beads with pride!

  8. Hello, and thanks for having me on your lovely blog!

    I followed Renee over because I was curious if she and the hubby had any trouble getting through airport security with all that bling. I practically got strip searched wearing just a pair of earrings last week.

    We watched Lawrence Welk every week when I was a kid. My husband loves to watch the reruns, but that’s too much of a good thing for me.

    1. Thanks so much for coming by!

      Oh boy, nothing like a pair of earrings to ring some alarm bells:) Hope you made it through ok and back home safe and sound.

      Your hubby is hard core with the LW. I am with you, I think it might be too much a good thing for me too, but it’s fun to look back on and remember those times. Just a more simple time.

    2. Pegoleg! How are you! I’ve been seeing you all over the place. Darla’s, Greatsby’s, EL’s. We must meet formally.

      I didn’t have any problem with my plastic bling in the airport.

      But those bitchy flight attendants were not amused. 😉

      Your beads are big and long and pearl. Enjoy.

  9. “I hope people think I’m hot.”

    Well, obviously you are or you wouldn’t have scored so many beads! I’m just wondering what tricks your hubby pulled to get all of his!
    Great interview! I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on education. 🙂

  10. One of the reasons I’m a huge fan of Renée’s is that she is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. This interview only reinforces that – thank you both so much for this great sharing piece. 🙂

    Another great thing about Renée is that she knows the most fabulous people and Shannon, I am glad to have found your blog by following her here today.

    Furthermore, Renée I’ve seen you dance and just FYI – watching you and your family cut loose always makes me smile shake my own booty for a few minutes. Because it’s always great to be reminded that life is a wonderful thing, to be celebrated randomly and with great exuberance.

    Also, I’m sure we can all agree on this one too – HAWT! If I’d had more teachers like Renée when I was at school, I’d have learnt more, IYKWIM.

    1. Christian:

      My most beloved Aussie.

      Your beads are shaped like saxophones and giant turds. And if your squeeze each bead, a different song plays (because you have exposed me to so many great pieces of music via your blog). Also, your beads are covered with enormous hearts. Because your heart is… well, enormous. And I wish you love. 😉

  11. Absolutely love learning more about you in this lovely space, Renee!

    Your answers were thoughtful and genuine, as always.

    (I’m a huge Survivor fan, too!)

    And obviously, I think you’re hot! 🙂


    1. Galit, you know that I meant flint, right? 😉

      Your beads are a blend of things. One string is strung on your heartstrings and covered in snow. They are intertwined with another strand that is blue and white. Those beads are filled with sand from Elat. You have a full life, my friend — so you get a double strand.

  12. 1. I think you’re hot, Renee.
    2. If we’re ever together let’s start a WATER WAR. Or, you can start it. I’ll finish it. 😉
    3. I really love what you said about the education system. It just makes so much sense. I hope trade schools and apprenticeships become legitimized! Three of the most successful business men I know don’t even have business degrees. It just doesn’t make sense that if you want to be successful you NEED a college education. You can learn so much and be so smart, even if you don’t attend college.
    Love this interview. And I love Renee. =)

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