Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Passage of Time

There's a part of me that wants to scream, "Where has summer gone?" But it's only a part of me that feels scarcity. The part of me that looks at what I don't have, instead of what I do have. Here are a few thoughts I've been having about the passage of time. . .

This morning I went for an amazing walk with my little family. It was just right--not too hot/not too cool! I thought why haven't we been doing this all summer, and then I thought because my mind, my body, and my spirit needed a healing season. While I was really productive in the first part of the summer--Art and Soul of Brave Teachers, There Is No Magic Wand, Affirmative Greetings card line, etc. I was also broken and battered. It's hard to acknowledge that. I needed time to just hang out around the house, play with Sam, read magazines, etc. That was enough. I do not need to regret that we did not take walks or program our life.

So now there are just a few weeks of summer left, and I want to think there isn't enough time. I think time is kinda' magical. I've noticed that when I'm doing something I really love or feel passionate about, I can get so much done in a relatively short amount of time. I don't understand that. I can't explain it. I just know it is. It happened yesterday when I was creating the calendar to go into Visioning The Best Year Ever. I had ideas, quotes, etc. I hoped there would be a big table at the coffee shop for me--there was! I created. I got most of it done in about 4 hours. Amazing! It's like a little time warp of creativity.

Time does not stand still. I look at Sam, who has lived with us for 810 days. It doesn't seem possible that he has all those toddler super powers already! If I rush along without intentionality time will continue to march on. Put if I'm intentional and aware with the time, there is enough for everything that is truly important

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plein Air Adventure

Today was the day I tried something new--for fun. I really tried to limit the pressure I put on myself. (Which is always a challenge!) I participated in Streetscapes: Akron in Plein Air . If you know me then you know I'm super creative and enthusiastic, but I've NEVER done anything like this--ever.

The day started with breakfast with my little family and rain. We got canvases and papers stamped so that it would be obvious that you actually painted outside today. And then I headed for the Towpath because I knew there would be plants that I could paint there. It was hot and HUMID--as soon as I got set up it started to rain again. When I let go of feeling self conscious I LOVED painting. I wish I let myself create more just for fun--without judgement.

I painted flowers and plants and a little canal water way tunnel. This was watercolor, my favorite super portable medium. Then I took a lunch break, framed some of those and went back with acrylics. It was soo different than my morning work. You can see it above. I titled it Brave Queen's Lace. Then I took the acrylic and the framed watercolors to Summit Art Space to turn them in--more feeling self conscious.

I'm so grateful for the experience. At least one of my pieces will be in show at Summit Artspace August 12 - September 17. I'm excited so see the work of the other artists. I'm so glad I just did it. It was a brave experience for me.

What are you doing, even if you feel the fear or self judgement?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blogs I'm Crushing On

So I can't think of just one blog I heart. I'm participating in the Linky Part over at the Clutter Free Classroom, and today's prompt is highlighting a favorite blog author and write them a letter. Instead I'm writing a post-it note to lots of incredible blogs.

I have been so motivated and inspired by so many amazing brave women who write blogs--teachers, artists, business women, and just phenomenal women. These blogs are only linked by the courageous sisterhood of woman bloggers.

I've decided to list my current favorite crushes--some old and some new--in no particular order:

Julia at the Painted Path
You inspire me to pursue calm and peace like a warrior!

Leonie Dawson at Goddess Guidebook
You inspire an amazing global sisterhood with an abundance of tools and business sense.

Brave Girls Club
Do I need to say any more? I've taken Soul Restoration 1 and I'm still working on 2. I love the deep down heart work combined with artsy projects--bliss

Amanda at Kind Over Matter
I have been healed by some of what I've found and read on this site and super inspired and I heart so many of the sponsors, too!

Jen Lemen
I've taken 2 classes she cocreated with Andrea (below). Her words are so honest and potent and real and messy. I also took an amazing class with her last December that is still rocking my universe.

Andrea Scher is a superhero and amazing creator of space for people to grow. And I love her photography. If I had more time and money her photography class would be next on my list.

Patience at Kindness Girl is a role model to me of letting kindness invade the daily tasks of life and how powerful that can be.

Lindsey at A Design So Vast has such a beautiful way with words. It's like the words and feelings are moving all around, and she just knows how to choreograph them in a way that takes my breath away.

Rachel at Small Notebook is a real world guru of experienced and real life decluttering

Kelly Rae Roberts who inspires me with a real creative business that makes a real living and a real life.

OK. I'm looking over the list and none of these are school related, but all are so applicable to life, and the life of a teacher. If you have a minute, dash over to Brave Teachers and see what's new. It is the manifestation of all this inspiration in my life!

What blogs are inspiring you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Current Favorite Picture Book

So I'm cheating a little bit on the linky party over at Clutter Free Classroom, because I cannot separate the words and pictures in my current favorite picture book. (I say current favorite, because tomorrow I might have another favorite--and the next day another.)

My current favorite is It's A Book by Lane Smith. You can watch a little video preview and see the adorable and simple illustrations here.

You can read more about what I had to say about this book here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Visioning The Best Year Ever

I'm working on so many projects right now. My head is spinning! I'm taking 2 classes to renew my license and I'm creating like crazy. I'm working on an amazing little tool that's going to be a calendar/plan book/journal/art book/inspiration all rolled into one. I can't wait to share! The video below (which I made for one of my classes!) will tell you more about it.

I'm making it just for you! Stay tuned for more details and how to get your hands on it. . .

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Have I mentioned how much I like Linky Parties?? Jodi over at Clutter Free Classroom is doing it again--all week. I really like that I get to see soooo many amazing other blogs! Check it out here. So the first day is writing about summer vacation. This is what I have to say. . .

This is my summer of courageous growing and stretching. I'm feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
I've taught my adventurous workshop, The Art and Soul of Brave Teachers, not once, but twice!
I've completed an ebook, There Is No Magic Wand--which is so much more than a book.
I'm taking 2 classes in which I'm learning how to use my computer to make podcasts, movies, tutorials, and PDFs--I'm feeling the fear and insecurity for sure!
I'm sending out Sweet Summer Treat emails every week. (sign up in the sidebar for these yummy bits for your heart)
I went to Lakeside with my little family.
This weekend I'm joining a Plein Air painting event in Akron.
I'm creating more good stuff for brave teachers--next week I might start sharing more.
I've read some good books. My favorite so far is The Help by Kathryn Stockett--which is going to be a movie.

I'm also spending time with my family, taking photos, and occasionally taking a nap!

What are you doing this summer?

My Vacation Souvenir

So I just returned form an amazing and delicious week at Lakeside with my little family. If you don't know Lakeside, I will just say there is no place on earth like it! While we were there we saw amazing shows by Gaelic Storm, Apollo's Fire, and a crazy juggling duo, Passing Zone.

I taught Art and Soul of Brave Teachers.
Sam loved God Squad with Chip Richter and his wife and kids.
Virgil took a chainmail class and spent lots of time in Lake Erie with Sam.

But what did I bring back?

I brought back such a renewed sense of creativity in the artistic sense of the word. I just want to take classes and learn how to do all sorts of new fun stuff. I think I'm going to do the Akron in Plein Air event next weekend. I'm thinking of entering a photography show. I have ideas for new photo card sets and new products for the etsy shop. Oh, and I hope to take a metal stamping class, too. It's a LOT--I know, but I'm just going with it. I'm sure there will be lots of updates, so stay tuned!

From my point of view renewed creativity and artistry seems like a pretty good vacation souvenir!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mini Trash To Treasure Project

I wanted to join this Linky Party, but I was having a hard time finding something at a thrift store that I wanted to repurpose for my classroom. So I started looking around the house. Here's this little ol' Altoid tin. That just got my imagination going. What could I do with an little old empty tin in my classroom.

Some of my ideas include:

Use it to hold task cards for any subject or theme
Hold Math Flash Cards like the 10 Trickiest Times Facts
Place an object related to a new unit and play 20 questions
Fill it with journal prompts for writing center.
Place written directions in it for a Follow the written directions center
Put a poem in it for kids to read
Hold paper clips
A mini writing kit with a little notebook and golf pencil

You get the idea.

I settled on making it an affirmations tin that I could set on my desk and look at as needed. I printed off some free affirmations from Julia over at Painted Path. I used this great robin's egg blue. I painted the tin and added some decals. I'm already using it my little home office and loving it. See amazing trash to treasure transformations here.

Art and Soul of Brave Teachers at Lakeside

Remember when I offered this amazing heart connecting class, The Art and Soul of Brave Teachers? It's happening again!

Next week, July 11- 15, I will be guiding one session each day from Monday - Friday from 3:30 - 5:30 in the afternoon. I can't imagine a better way to spend some lazy summer afternoons than sharing this with Brave Teachers. We will journal and talk and create some inspirational little art projects. If you want more information, email me.

Lakeside is an incredibly relaxing place that I can't wait to share time there with my little family. It's a "Chautauqua" style community. It's a wonderful place to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. I'm looking forward to taking lots of pictures and creating just for fun, too.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Change of Perspective and Clarity

It seems like in the past month I've had a surprising number of conversations when people ask me what it was like to become a mom when I was older. So I became a mom when I was 40.

And in the past two and a half years my life has changed and stayed the same.
I still have the same job. I still live in the same house. I still live with the same man.

I used to travel alone a lot, but I've only had a couple day trips.
I used to watch lots of TV trash--entertainment news, etc. It's all gone
I used to leave art projects up on the dining room table for weeks--no more.
I used to lose myself for hours in a great book.
I used to run errands whenever I wanted to and only if I wanted to.
I used to stay up late and sleep in.
I would lounge in a bath until my skin wrinkled without someone banging on the door or hopping right in.
I used to talk to grown ups when I wasn't at school.

Do I miss those things. Sure--somedays A LOT!

But here's the thing, my perspective has changed and I have so much more clarity about what I want and need and what I have to offer.

I so enjoy finding books at the library that I can't wait to read to Sam.
I love having a wiggly boy come into my bed in the morning and say about a gazillion times, "I need to get dressed and go downstairs."
I'm relieved that I have an excuse for an untidy house!
I am discriminate about good and bad DVDs for kids. I have opinions about these things, now.
I love going to free family friendly events where it's OK for a 2 year old to just run barefoot in the grass.
I love to hear that little boy say, "I need to paint now, mommy, pwease!"
I don't need to worry about new stuff for me as much. I want there to be enough for him and his dad.

It's not better. It's not worse. It's different. I told someone this week that I felt like for 40 years I saw the world through fuzzy unclear vision, and now motherhood was the lens that gave me clarity about what is important--even essential.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grab a FREEBIE From My New Book

I am so excited to give you a little peak into There Is No Magic Wand, my very first ebook. It's actually more than just a little peak. It's a whole chapter, with exercises, action steps, and a worksheet I created just for you. It's a mini-retreat just for you, brave heart! So click HERE for the FREE chapter, "You're Not Trapped."

If you enjoyed that chapter, you can purchase the whole book HERE!

This is a book filled with art and photographs and stories. It speaks to the pressures on teachers to be magicians and if offers transformative hope for brave teacher hearts. It has exercises and action steps and worksheets I made just for you in every chapter. Use them so that you can make it your very own experience. It's the sort of book you can use to strengthen your resolve the new school year, or it can give you a boost when your courage or confidence are week or your feeling tired.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Winners! Winners! Winners!

I'm absolutely dying to say this. . .

I'm giving away a set of cards to everyone who left a comment--all 4 of you amazing souls! My heart is jumping for joy! Giving makes me so happy!

And while I'm at it, I'd like to give a shout out to all 4 of these amazing brave hearts. When I look at their websites and blogs I think I want to just sit down and drink coffee and talk to them and listen. Check them out, and you'll see what I mean.

Elizabeth at Teacher's Market

Wendy at Create-A-Way

Eydie at What We Create

Petrea at Offbeat Family

Ladies, email me ( and let me know if you have a particular set you want or if you would like me to surprise you, and of course I need your snail mail address!

What's making you happy today?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hoppin' Right Into July

It's July! Really! It's the month that most represents summer for me. Here are a few of the upcoming highlights that I'm hopping right on:

~I'm celebrating Independence Day with both sides of our family this weekend--fireworks, anyone!
~There Is No Magic Wand, my first ebook, is ready for release into the world
~My little family is going to Lakeside, where I will be guiding Art and Soul of Brave Teachers
~I'm having more dental work done and I'm going to try to squeeze in a physical--if I'm brave enough!
~I'm going to try to squeeze in one more amazing--rock your socks off--project for Brave Teachers. It's a surprise that you will so want.
~I'm taking two online classes--about podcasting and PDFs
~I'm going to finish Soul Restoration
~I'm going to read and create for fun!
~I'm going to continue lots of stuff on My Summer To Do List

Generally July is going to be action packed in a lazy summer sort of way!

What are your plans for July?