That Made My Heart Smile

The Light Inside of Me

Every Wednesday morning, my first graders circle up on the perimeter of our colorful rug to do their ‘mirror work.’

Mirror work is a critical component of learning to love yourself and I make sure that we are all focused on this activity at least once a week. We have a mirror in a frame and we gently pass the mirror around the circle to each person in the classroom, including myself and a TA in the classroom. The goal is to look in the mirror and give the person staring back at you a genuine compliment. I tell the kids that I don’t want them to compliment the clothes that they wear or  the ‘things’ upon their bodies that were bought for them. Instead, I want them to look into their own eyes and give themselves a compliment or reassurance that they are awesome. I do this because I…

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Raising the AHA Generation: Is that a good thing?

ProblemSolvingWhen you hear Aha, you may think it is a good thing because ‘Aha’ usually means that you are becoming aware of something, but when you hear what AHA stands in this article, I’m not so sure it’s a good thing…

As a school teacher of 15 years I have seen many changes throughout the years. I have seen many changes in education, expectations, learning styles and overall behavior of our children. In the past few weeks I have become critically aware of three important elements that I see clear across the board with our current generation; (I could write another book on this but I will keep it short and sweet for now)

  • Today’s children are generally anxious. Kids always want to know what is coming next and why they are doing what they are doing. They worry about the simple things in life yet do not pay attention to the details that can help them to feel secure. They have more fears today then we had in our childhood and they look for others to solve their problems because they are afraid that they don’t have the tools to do so on their own.
  • Kids of today are learning to be helpless. Their minds are in three different places at once because they struggle to focus on one thing at a time. Perhaps this is because they are so anxious that they are not in the moment. Maybe they are too focused on the past and too fearful of the future to stay in the present moment, or perhaps they have just learned that they don’t have to do things for themselves because the adults will do it to get it done on their
  • Today’s children are angry. There are many times in a day when I am putting fires out because someone has been ‘rubbed the wrong way’ or is upset because they didn’t get their way. They easily bark at one another instead of talking things out and listening to the ideas of others. Our children of today go from joyful to angry in a matter of minutes and then back to joyful when they get their way once again. It’s truly remarkable how they’ve learned to use anger as a bargaining chip.

So there you have it, the AHA generation in a nutshell. Now, where did this come from?

In my opinion, our kids are learning from us! Think about your average day and the amount of stress you are under. We run from one activity to another. We speak so quickly that we often wonder if we are making sense and we never make time to just BE. We have become Human Doings instead of Human Beings because we are trying to do way too much in our lives. Doesn’t that make you feel anxious?

And think about it… if you are anxious…if your child’s teachers are anxious…if the world spins this quickly daily and everybody is running in different directions…aren’t we all creating an anxious environment for our children to grow in? How could they not develop deep anxiety in life?

We put pressure on our children from the moment they enter school with testing (if not sooner based upon our own expectations). We constantly rush them from one activity to another because, well, hey that’s just what we do today. We never take time to sit and quiet our minds or teach our children to quiet their minds yet we expect them to relax and just be kids. Hmmmm, how are they to do that when even they are under so much pressure?

Let’s talk about learned helplessness– I don’t believe that we have done this on purpose, but it seems that we are always making excuses for our children’s behaviors or seeking a label to explain those behaviors instead of addressing the issues and teaching them how to problem solve. Our kids are over stimulated with electronics and under stimulated with human connection! We often ask our children to do something and then when we realize it hasn’t been done we do it ourselves because we are in a hurry and it’s just quicker that way. But, what are we creating with this behavior?

How about those angry kids? We are so hell bent on making sure that our children don’t experience what we experienced and we are so concerned with ‘fairness’ that we have forgotten that sometimes life isn’t fair and we all need to learn how to roll with the punches and go with the flow because sometimes things just don’t work out the way you intend.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to complain about something without having a solution. So, what can we do?

We need to teach our kids how to be Problem Solvers.

We need to stop taking their power away by answering for them or doing it for them and start empowering them to believe in themselves and speak their truth. The world isn’t always fair but our present circumstances do not have to determine our future and learning to overcome obstacles in life can only build strong character. Give your kids their power back and stop solving their problems for them. Instead, give them the tools that they need to be successful in life.

  • When they come to you to ask you if their picture/work is good don’t give them an answer. Instead, get down on their level and say, “What do YOU think about your picture?” Allow them to talk about their work and share their pride. This will teach them that their opinion matters and they don’t have to seek approval outside of themselves.


  • When they feel disappointed or upset about something, don’t offer them the solution or try to make it better (and believe me I know this is hard). Instead, sit with them and allow them to feel their feelings without judgment, then ask them what they think they can do about the problem. Guide them to problem solve without giving them a direct solution. This will help them to feel empowered because they had a part in the solution. And as difficult as it is-because we all just want to make it better- it’s worth it in the long run because you are giving them tools for a lifetime. What is that old saying… “Give them a fish and they eat today but teach them to fish and they eat for an eternity!” (or something like that)


I don’t want our kids to be anxious, helpless and angry. Instead, I would like to create a strong foundation for them so that they can grow up to have a healthy, productive, joyful life. Are you with me?

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,


PS Please leave me your comments. I read them all and love hearing your thoughts!

Push the PAUSE Button

Mercury in retrograde, full moon, racing from one thing to the next…does it ever end?

Today I woke up a little later than usual and of course this put me behind the eight ball-so to speak- throughout the day. I felt like I was running from one thing to the next and as if life was a blur. Of course anything that could go wrong, went wrong, because isn’t that just how it goes?

I went into my classroom and tried to get ready for my 1st graders to come through the doors. I always like to make sure that when they walk through the door, they see a smile and not a rushing, crazy idiot!  Today, that was a challenge though.

I tried to print morning work and there was an issue with the printer. Next I tried to get online for a backup plan, but that didn’t work either. I rushed to find a solution and came up with something just in time, but the day was already spinning out of control.

After the kids came in and started on morning work I remembered that I had to do lovely progress monitoring. I pulled the iPod out of my drawer and had technical difficulties with that too. After wasting at least 30 minutes trying to get technology to work with me so that I could get the ‘data’ teachers are expected to report, I finally got things rolling, but it was clear that my energy needed a shift.

I progress monitored 6 students (tested them…oh I LOVE those tests) and then we were off to lunch. I was definitely on edge with the kids and that’s so NOT fair to them!

Every day after lunch and recess my kids have ‘Mindful Time’. This is a time that I dedicate solely to ‘quieting our minds’ (you can read about this in my book Ignite the Light)

Some days we lay our yoga mats on the ground and go to our ‘Happy Place,’ other days we do power yoga or color mandalas. I usually take this 10-15 minutes to breathe and release some tension or get ready for the next hour with the kids (ironically, I am not always mindful during mindful time). But today- TODAY was a day when Mindful Time really made the difference for me.

The kids came into the classroom and parked themselves on the community rug for instructions. I instructed them to use mandala’s to quiet their minds and then walked to my desk to ‘catch up’. Fortunately, I caught myself and decided that I too needed to practice mindfulness.

I announced to the kids that I was going to color a mandala today as well. I chose one, pulled out my crayons (that was really awesome-I love the smell of crayons) and began to color my mandala from the inside out. As I colored I shared some thoughts with the kids. They were so happy to have me join in as well and so intrigued by my coloring and choice of colors. I smiled to myself because of their excitement.

Time was up. I began to pack my crayons away and began counting down for the kids to do the same. When the kids came to the rug again for instructions something was different…I was different. My energy was now re-balanced and even though things were still ‘ticking’ me off throughout the afternoon with technology and testing, the edge was now gone!


This made me realize that we all need to push that pause button throughout the day. I literally sat and colored (yes, I colored with crayons) for about 10 minutes and suddenly life didn’t seem so tough after all.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to happen at the same time every day and it doesn’t have to happen in a certain way. Mindfulness just needs to happen. And the only way for us to be mindful is to sometimes hit the PAUSE button.

Try it. 10-15 minutes (even 5 minutes) in the middle of your stressful day can totally make all the difference in the world. Go ahead, pull out a box of crayons-I dare you!

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,


PS Come visit me on my page and sign up for my newsletter so we can stay connected. I LOVE to hear from you! 


Maybe We Could All Be a Little More Mindful



I pride myself on being mindful-focused on the present moment. I wrote about the importance of this in my recent Hay House release, Ignite the Light: Empowering Children & Adults to be Their Absolute Best and I have come be to known as ‘the Mindful Teacher,’ yet yesterday I had a revelation…

For the past few weeks I have found myself discussing the topic of mindfulness on radio shows, in my classroom and in my own home. My husband is in real estate and he’s a high energy kind of guy. He has a difficult time slowing down and staying in the present moment so I guess I’ve been ‘preaching’ to him a bit of late because I have been talking to him about being more mindful.

Last night we took our son out to dinner and then headed to the mall for some quick shopping. I had my phone in hand and checked the text messages, Facebook and emails a few times but thought nothing of it. We enjoyed our evening together and then headed up the Northway to go home.

It was at this point that a song came on the radio from years past (N-Sync-Bye Bye). My husband and I smiled as he began singing to the top of his lungs (all the wrong words-of course). Then, I found myself looking down at my phone again.

I don’t know why but I thought back to ‘the old days’ when we didn’t have smart phones and computers on the run. As my husband sang to his hearts content, I had a revelation- I was NOT being mindful. Why is it that we constantly allow ourselves to be pulled away from the present moment?

I distinctly remember a few months ago while traveling through an airport that I noticed a family of four sitting at a table and every person in that family was engaged on an electronic device. I felt sad for the kids because there was no conversation and a true disconnect.

I then looked around the airport and noticed the iPads connected at every table. There were very few people in that airport actually interacting with one another face to face. Instead, they were all engaged in electronics. It truly made me sad but I felt somewhat proud of myself that I was being mindful and talking with my traveling companion.

Yet, here I was last night, as my husband reminisced our youth, checking my damn phone.

I aptly placed the phone in my purse and didn’t pull it out again.

Let’s be honest. We live in a fast paced, busy, technical society and electronics come in handy, but we are certainly allowing social media to over take our lives and we are all suffering from this because we are causing disconnection in our families, with our friends and from our higher self.

Take the time to notice today how much you check your phone, go on Facebook or rummage through emails. Then ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to do this right now?’

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” ~Hilary Cooper 

Truth is…if we are not mindful, then we are missing the moments.

Don’t miss another ‘moment’.

Lots of Love & tons of Light,


It’s Official-Get Ready to Ignite the Light!

Ready to Ignite the Light?

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe how fast time flies but my new book is being released in exactly ONE week!!! (But you can PRE-ORDER TODAY)


Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a child-care worker, or just a person who would like to leave this world a little more peaceful than you found it, Ignite the Light – Empowering Children and Adults to Be Their Absolute Best, will give you the tools to educate, enlighten, and empower the children in your life to see that they are perfect just as they are.  What happens in childhood doesn’t stay in childhood, which is why childhood is too precious to ignore.  This book is a practical step-by-step manual for change and message of hope that provides tools from which all children—and all families—will benefit.

Check out the book trailer that was filmed and produced by an 11 year old who shines brighter than the SUN-(how cool is that?)


I am on a mission to help children and families be their absolute best by igniting the light within.

In this book, I take the 7 Essentials that I have taught for years to both children and adults and give you a step by step manual to apply to your life and empower the children you serve (whether you are a parent or teacher, you know exactly what I mean by that).

There’s nothing cerebral about it. I keep it simple because I want you to pick up this book, devour the message and apply simple principles immediately so that you can not only be your best self, but more important–ignite the light within our kids!

Top 5 Reasons to Order Ignite the Light today:

1) You will learn 7 simple essentials that can chance your life by helping you to create strong foundations for children and repair and strengthen your own foundation.
2) Your kids deserve a strong foundation that will help them to navigate the waters of life by connecting with their inner power.
3) You deserve a chance to get off the hamster wheel and start living instead of existing.
4) There are tons of tools to help kids believe in themselves and speak their truth, and when this happens our kids excel at school, laugh at bullies and shine brighter than the sun!
5) When we believe in ourselves and speak our truth, we not only create a brighter future for our kids but we live a happier life!

How about some gifts?

Because you have followed my work and are on my super important email list, I want to give you a few free gifts for ordering my book;

1) an automatic download of a typical meditation in my classroom. This is approximately 12 minutes long and can be used with both children and adults, even if you think you have a hard time meditating! I have 1st graders who use this method and believe me it works. Let me teach you how to go to YOUR ‘Happy Place.’

2) I will include you in a free 90 minute group coaching call based on the 7 essentials in the book(Date in June to be announced.)

How do you get the free gifts?

Simply purchase the book from amazon (click the link below), then send your receipt to with “I’m Ready to Ignite the Light” in the subject line and you will receive an email with your immediate download and more information on the coaching call.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Honoring the Light Within with Mindfulness

Wow, I just had an amazing conversation with my 8 year and I’m truly honored to be his mom.

This evening he came home from baseball practice and seemed a bit emotional. He said he got hit by a ball, but I knew in my heart it was more than that.

When we laid down to talk before bed I went with my gut (as I always tell parents to do because we know what’s going on with our kids more than we’d like to admit).

This is my sons first year in little league and it can be somewhat intimidating to try something new when others have been at it for a while. I turned to him and began to say those very words. As I talked he began to cry.

I stopped talking and opened my ears to listen to him intently. Sure, he may have been feeling a bit unnerved by this ‘new’ sport but it was more than that. What was bothering him most was that other kids were being mean to the ‘little kid’ on the team…

He started off by telling me that some kids were telling him what he was doing wrong and it hurt his feelings. It was then that I reminded him that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. He asked, “How am I part of the problem mom. They were putting me down?” I answered, “Yes, hunnie, that’s true, but you allowed it to affect you. You are part of the solution when you stand up for yourself and help others to stop and think about their own actions. You might have done that by saying, ‘thanks for the tip but I’m going to listen to the coach,’ ‘last I checked you weren’t a coach,’ or ‘wow, when did the Yankees draft you?” He liked that last one.

I thought we were through the woods but then he got really upset and began to sob uncontrollably. I reached out to him and asked what was wrong. He sadly replied, “Mommy, I was mean too. Some of the kids were making fun of the ‘little kid’ on the team and I agreed with them that he was small. I didn’t like the way it felt inside but I wanted them to like me. Mom, I was part of the problem!

I smiled a bit and wiped his cheeks and said, “Yes hunnie you were part of the problem, but right now you are turning it around to become part of the solution.”

Many children (and adults-who are we kidding) never take the time to be mindful–present in the moment–and think about their thoughts, actions and feelings and my 8 year old was doing that on his own!

We then read my children’s book for the upteen-millionth time, The Light Inside of Me and hugged tightly at the end.

be the light - person

We all have a light deep within us that shines brightly when we come from a place of love and are living our truth and dims when we allow fear to take the helm. In short, when we feel good, we shine and when we feel bad, we are dim or we dim the lights of others.

The next time you see a dim light, be present in the moment. Be totally mindful of what you are thinking and feeling and then instead of reacting, respond with love.

I am so proud of my son this evening (and every other minute of his existence). Tonight and every night I feel honored to be his mom.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,


Empowering Praise

Have you ever stopped to think about how your childhood affects you?  Childhood is the ground level in this life.  It is our foundation.  We simply cannot say, ‘What happens in childhood stays in childhood,’ because the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t stay anywhere.  Our childhood is our base for this life that we lead, and without a strong foundation, we struggle to navigate the waters of life.  The good news is… it’s never too late to create a strong foundation for your children or yourself!

I am the youngest of four girls and there are 11, 14 and 15 years from me to my big sister’s, so as a child I got a great deal of attention.  I was a dancer, a singer, an artist, and yes, a writer, even at a young age.  I won art contests, had amazing opportunities in dance, was recognized as a soloist at state competitions, and was honored for my writing.  I was usually praised for what I was doing according to what others thought…

“You’re a good artist Vicki,”

“That was a great song,”

“Good job on your dance.”

I worked hard to be the best, but I wasn’t always the best.  When I wasn’t the best, of course I felt less than.

My parents were loving, hard working people, who taught us to be kind, generous, and always help those in need.  They were truly amazing and always tried to do their very best with their children, as we all do in our own way. They never intended to pass on this feeling of unworthiness to me.  They were truly oblivious to this core belief being born within me at a young age.

No-one set out to give me this core belief as a child, yet the message was clear, “Be the best, or it’s just not good enough.”

We don’t even realize what we do to our kids because we are dealing with our own core beliefs as we parent our children.

I’ve worked with children for over 20 years in my life and I have an amazing tool for you today…

When your child tries their hardest, overcomes a fear, tries something new, or even wins an art contest, before you tell them what you think, take the time to ask them what they think.  I often praise my son for doing and being, but I am constantly reminding myself of this lesson and asking him to tell me how he feels so that he will know how amazing he is whether he is 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 5,983rd!

Empowering praise is praise that we give to our children and ourselves, where we take a step back and say, “Wow! You did your personal best, and good for you!” Empowering praise is praise we give to our children and ourselves even when we feel like we’ve failed.  We take a deep breath and say, “That was my best at that time, I will prevail.”

Give your children a gift and give yourself a gift…

See the Light within no matter what the outcome is on your next endeavor!

Lots of Love & tons of Light,