Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ready For A Giveaway?

I'm so excited to be doing the first giveaway of the summer season. It's a little pre-4th of July goodness.

I can't even tell you how sweet and inspiring and gorgeous the cards in Affirmative Greetings are!! Stunning! I'm going to give away a set on this blog AND ANOTHER set over on BraveTeachers.com.

Let's cut right to the chase:

So how do you enter?

For every great way you connect to this blog OR BraveTeacher.com, leave a comment. Here are some examples for this blog: Follow this blog, read this blog (that get you 2 entries--just leave 2 quick comments) Did you sign up for Sweet Summer Treats? Did you check out Affirmative Greetings on Etsy?--give yourself more entries! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY--JUST CUT AND PASTE, IF YOU LIKE!

And over at BraveTeachers.com you can do all those things + sign up at contacts + download any of the freebies or anything else.

Some other ways to get even more entries would be to include us on your blog roll or to even blog about us and the love and kindness and authenticity that we share. Or share us on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere your peeps hangout.

Do you see how easy it is to enter???! Enter away, brave hearts!

This weekend the Random Generator will choose a lucky winner at each site and those 2 lucky winners will choose the card set of their choice!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Updates On Life. . . Because You Asked

So here are some things people have been asking me about, and you might want to know:

The Good Karma Yard Sale was so successful. We estimate that we eliminated at least 10 boxes of stuff we've just had hanging around--including some school stuff I've had in boxes in my basement or other people's basement for about 8 years! I'm not sure what all goodness is coming our way, but the clearing of stuff feels so good!

The Art and Soul of Brave Teachers first workshop was amazing! It was a great experience for me. It was also good for participants. You can go here to read some of what participants had to say about it! I can't wait to do it again with a new group of people at Lakeside, July 11 - 15. If you can join us, I'd love to meet you! If you want more information about hosting your own Brave Teacher Adventure or Retreat, contact me.

There Is No Magic Wand, my first ebook is coming out in the next week. I'm still trying to pack in more activities and worksheets. It's going to be so much more than a book. It will be like a wonderful little personal retreat center with activities and action steps you can visit over and over again.

The list of people receiving Sweet Summer Treats is growing! If you haven't signed up, please do today, so you can receive the next little email treat. Invite friends to sign up, too! It's FREE!

Is there anything else you want to know about over here at "Brave Summer Central"?
What are you doing these days?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Greeting Cards On Etsy

I'm so pleased, delighted, excited, and enthusiastic to announce that there is a lovely new product line of greeting cards at our Etsy Shop!

Affirmative Greetings is a line of greeting cards with my photos on the front. Some of the photographs have been featured on this blog and the Brave Teachers website. The cards and envelopes contain some recycled paper, so they have those gorgeous little flecks of color on the background of off white, tan, or gray card stock. The cards are blank, but they are accompanied by a magical list of affirmations from which you can choose and then personalize with the most ideal greeting for the recipient or yourself!

These make great cards for any occasion, or they can stand alone as a thoughtful little gift.

The cards are sold in sets of 5 cards and envelopes. I tie them up with a little ribbon, wrap them in colorful tissue, and send them in a bubble mailer that's filled with positivity just for you!

Go ahead. . .check 'em out. . . you know you want to take a look!

Friday, June 24, 2011

How To Make An Adventure For Cheap

So there are few memories I relish more than eating gelato on hot summer days in Italy. It was seven summers ago, and I always fly right back in my mind when I hear the word gelato. (I tell my 2 year old it's ice cream, but it's not.)

Last night my little family traveled to two continents for about $35 and 4 hours. I think that's pretty impressive! (--except for the part where the GPS took us down streets with boarded up buildings and no people,)

Our purpose for the adventure is that we've just been running and pouring ourselves into other people, and we all just needed a little time together. We started out adventure in Vietnam--I mean Cleveland at our favorite pho spot--Superior Pho. Pho is Vietnamese beef noodle soup. The small bowl is huge, and when it arrives you get to customize your order with sauces and a plate of goodies--basil, bean sprouts, lime, chiles, etc. To me pho is ultimate comfort food. Yumo!

When then traveled to Italy--I mean Little Italy. We went to Presti's Bakery fo gelato. We sat outside. We watched the world go by. If I had heard less English I could have thought I was in Europe.

And the adventure ended with a trip to a playground and community garden. This was essential for the 2 year old who was about to spend another 45 minutes in his car seat. Or maybe it was for his parents.

This felt decadent because of the international feel, but also because summer is the only time I would take an adventure on a Thursday evening. It just never happens during the school year.

You can see a little more about this week;s adventures over at the Brave Teachers website.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three Worlds and What Is Art?

This spring my little family went to an amazing M. C. Escher exhibit at the Akron Art Museum. My husband and I both enjoyed one piece titled, Three Worlds. We purchased an inexpensive little print, framed it, and have it in our house.

And then that little print had a bit of a powerful momentary impact on me. We were hiking, and I saw a turtle in the water, some leaves on the water, and the reflection of a tree in the water. I instantly thought of the piece by Escher. I also thought about what the role of art in the world is. I believe that one part of the role of art is raising our awareness to the world around us. That's exactly what happened to me. I would never have seen those 3 items when I looked down toward the water. It makes me so grateful for art and the awareness it gives me.

What impact does art have on you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Loads of Great Ideas

I'm really starting to enjoy a good linky party. I think I'll have to host one later this summer. I joined one today over at my new favorite organizational site Clutter Free Classroom! I LOVE seeing what other people are doing. Click HERE to see tons of other teacher blogs and get some school inspiration! (It will also encourage most of those other blogger teachers when they see how many people visited them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brave Teacher To Do List With A Twist

Above you will see me working on my first Sweet Summer Treat. It's a to do list with a twist. It lists as many ways as I could fit on the page to take care of myself this summer. There not big fancy things. The list contains the sort of things that inspire and encourage and empower me to be the best version of myself I can be.

Here are a few of the items that made it to my list:

Complete Soul Restoration 2
Drink lots of water
Open the windows in my studio/office and listen to the rain fall.

Of course you don't need anything fancy to make a little list like this for yourself. The back of your grocery list works just fine. BUT. . .If you would like to receive this colorful blank PDF and other Sweet Summer Treats delivered to your inbox every week from now until Labor Day, sign up here. It's free and fun and empowering and inspiring. You are so worth it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweet Summer Treats

Who doesn't love a a sweet summer treat? Brave Teachers is providing a weekly email absolutely FREE from now until Labor Day. There will be encouraging posters, words of love, wisdom, and hope, and other goodies delivered right to your inbox.

Sign up here or check out more of Brave Teachers here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Great Kids' Books

So I have 2 books this week that should not be missed. Both are picture books that I believe have powerful messages that transcend age.

The first is It's A Book by Lane Smith. On his blog it says, "It’s a Book is about a book loving monkey, a tech savvy jackass and a straight talking little mouse." It's a great commentary on technology, and yet it is completely enjoyable to my two year old.

The second book I'm enjoying this week is Thank You, Bear by Greg Foley It's the story of a little bear who thinks he is on to something really good, but there are so many naysayers he begins to doubt himself. I think for grown-ups it's easy to see the need to follow one's intuition.

Both of these books are super simple, but really got me to thinking.

What books or other media are getting you thinking?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Triumph of Time

I love using time well. Or at least I love the feeling of believing I've used time well. I love checking things off a to-do list. I like the feeling of accomplishment. I also feel like I'm not running on a treadmill. (Sometimes I feel that way during the school year, but now it's summer.)

This morning I spent time with teachers in a workshop, and at one moment we were speaking about that nagging feeling of I think there must be a quicker, easier, faster, more effective way of doing this, but I have absolutely no idea what it is. I can't stand that.

I'm feeling really proud of the way I've been using my time in the 9 days since I closed down my classroom. Here are some of the highlights for me:

I've spent some really good time with my little family--playing, hiking, preparing food, reading books, etc.
I got rid of about 10 boxes of junk/treasures at a "good karma yard sale."
I've done some cleaning and sorting and laundry.
I've read some fun books--mostly kids' books.
I've almost finished the last season of 24.
I've hiked about 4.5 miles of the Buckeye Trail
I've started assembling Affirmative Greetings--a line of greeting cards with photographs and affirmations that will soon be available at the Brave Teachers etsy shop and a few other specialty spots.
I'm still working on my ebook, No Magic Wand.
I attended a classroom library workshop today.
I'm working on art bits for future blogs, books, kits, and teacher tools.

And the best bit of all--amazingly positive experiences at the first ever Art and Soul of Brave Teachers Adventurous Workshop. I'm still processing how powerful this was for me as the guide and the participants. I'm still thinking about where I would like to assert more and where it's best to hang back and let the experience flow between participants--always a balance. I will share more about this as it's had some time for process inside of me.

Now I'm hoping to keep the momentum without driving myself or anyone else too crazy!

Where are you feeling a sense of triumph?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brave Summer Work

It's summer. I'm happy to have a more flexible schedule and more time with my little family. I'm also excited to be doing brave summer work on Brave Teachers. Here is a little sneak peak into what exciting stuff is in process:

I'm creating a little home office/studio space--really little-- 6 x 8
I'm getting ready for 2 sessions of The Art and Soul of Brave Teachers--it's going to be soooo good!
I'm finishing and polishing the ebook, No Magic Wand--it's going to be more than a book--stories, strategies, exercises!
I'm working on a FREE 6 week e-course--this will be out in mid July!
I'm working on some affirmation greeting card sets that will be available on etsy by the end of summer--with some of my original photographs with affirmations handwritten inside.

I can't wait to let you know when the projects reach completion. If you would like email updates, sign up here.

What are you up to this summer?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brave Women Blazing Trails

I started a Brave Women's Breakfast back in January. I wanted to give and receive support from other women. It was a brainstorm. It is still growing and evolving.

We met this past Saturday. We had breakfast at Flury's Cafe--a gem of a little diner. And then one other woman (Yep, it's Brave Woman, Aine, featured in the photo above!) and I headed out to hike a bit of the Buckeye Trail. This is not for the faint of the heart, but it's also fun and interesting. And a day later I still feel really good about. We blazed the trail in West Branch State Park. We intended to hike a spur trail, but when I look at the map, I think we actually went further. I suspect we hiked over 4.5 miles, but with no pedometer, I'm not certain.

I'm looking forward to more Trailblazing of the Blue Blazes on the Buckeye Trail.

What brave action, large or small, are you taking?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Good Karma Yard Sale

I have too much stuff. It often feels like more of a burden than the luxury that it is. In order to simplify a bit, I'm holding a Good Karma Yard Sale tomorrow. Instead of collect everything and then labeling/pricing it and then trucking it outside, I'm collecting stuff now and tomorrow I will put it on the lawn with a FREE sign.

I believe that people who really want or need the things will have them, and I will be free of them. It's a win-win and lots of good energy.

I've done this once before with crazy and amazing results. When moving back to Ohio from Seattle, I opened my apartment for friends to take what they wanted/needed. That felt so good, but it's not the end of the story. The week after the event my brother and sister-in-law called to see if we would like their old car. For 3 years we had no need to own a car, but Ohio would be really tricky without a car. The abundance that came to us was amazing! (That car is still running--we passed it on to someone else in need when we bought a new car!)

I'll share more after the event.

What do you do that brings you abundance?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Great Way To Start Summer

As someone who just finished closing down my classroom today, I will take any and all help in the department of decluttering and organization! Why do teachers have so much stuff? It's a blessing and a curse! Today I want to share a fabulous blog to help anyone out there who feels the way I do.

I have enjoyed materials from the Little Learners/ Clutter Free Classroom since I discovered the blog last summer. I was soooo excited to see a whole new blog just for the Clutter Free Classroom. It just got it up and running this month, and June is devoted to classroom themes. If that's not cool enough, all the themes shared can be purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers. And if that's not good enough, there is a contest and the prize is the class theme kit of your choice.

Hurry on over. Check it out. Enter. Enjoy.

Wouldn't winning a nifty prize be a great way to start your summer? (Contest ends June 10.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fascinating Movie

I watched a fascinating movie this week. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary--Inside Job.

It's an easy to understand, yet still hard to imagine, look at the economic meltdown of 2008. It's frustrating, yet not surprising, to see how many people with lots of money profit from the loss of regular people and poor people. It gives new meaning to the term predatory lending, when financial institutions and the people who run them expect to profit from the complete loss of others.

I felt it was well worth the time investment, especially if you're a person who likes documentaries. It's my media pick of the week.