Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunflower Growing in NYC

Sunflower Growing in NYC
As a transplanted Kansan now thriving in New York City, I was quite happy to see this sunflower boldly doing the same thing in my Upper West Side neighborhood.

The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. As a born and raised Kansan, I was proud to see our state flower taking root in some pretty harsh ground at the side of a parking lot. It's weaved its way out of the metal fence where the flower is now blooming freely in the open.

I love how nature finds a way.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Polly Dunbar Talks About Creating Books

This great interview was forwarded to me by Mark Mitchell, Childrens Book Illustrator.

Polly Dunbar discusses something important that we all need to remember...most books aren't created and completed overnight, they are a project that evolves over years. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In the Midst of it All

Today, I'm in the midst of pulling together all the pieces for the first episode of "Story Clubhouse."

It's all quite exciting and a bit overwhelming at the same time.

My original idea was to produce a podcast for children, which instantly triggered me to think of all the things that could be connected to that podcast via a website...such as educational activities, craft projects, fun facts, sharing of club member stories and pictures, and then of course, videos.

Most episodes will be around a subject from nature, but as I allowed my niece, Sarah, to choose the subject for the initial episode, we start off with Dragons. Facts about dragons are hard to come by. ; )

In the near future, I'll be sending out a call for your ideas, stories, illustrations, etc. around the subjects of the podcasts/videos for the coming year.

Story Clubhouse will be a place for everyone to have fun and share.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do You Draw On Yourself Enough?

Sarah H. and Lucas M. drew on themselves.
"Do you draw on yourself enough?"  Hmmm?
My original thought was the literal "draw on yourself"-- get out the washable markers and have a funfest drawing all over you and your friends: fake tattoos from flowers to anchors, a big mustache, maybe even a beard, some gruesome scars, the possibilities go on and on.

Then as I typed: "Do You Draw on Yourself Enough?" the second meaning occurred to me. Do you draw from your inner resources enough? Or, do you continually turn to others before exploring what you have to offer yourself?

Both drawing on your outside and your inside will give you an exhilarating sense of freedom.

Both activities stand in the face of all those who say -- "You can't do that!" -- whether it is drawing a flower on your arm or achieving a goal.

It's easy to back down when others forcefully tell us something shouldn't or can't be done. But, I've found that they in turn back down easily when you tell them it can be done, and that you are doing it.

My Tips for Drawing on Your Outside: 

  • Check with any adults in your house before beginning, they might want to draw with you or have some tips of their own
  • Wear your 'play clothes'
  • Don't use any marker that says "permanent."
  • Legs and arms are the best places for drawing. They are easy to wash off.
  • Before you go to bed, make sure to wash off any drawings.
    • One time I forgot to do this and had red flowers all over my legs for two weeks. 

Have fun!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Little Independence Goes a Long Way

The 4th of July is a celebration of our country's freedom. Our forefathers fought so that we would be allowed to make choices as a nation based on the needs and wants of our people, not based on what another country thought was best for us.

French Lentils
Sounds much like the independence each of us achieves in a healthy relationship with our parents. The day finally arrives when we are ready to go out on our own and make our way in the world. We get jobs, pay our expenses, and this gives us the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives.

Today, I think back over all the ways that I have been independent in my life...whether it was fixing a broken toilet, paying the last several years of college myself, or the latest...learning how to cook my own lentils.

Okay, that probably sounds funny, but seriously, yesterday, I learned to cook lentils. Guess what? It's super easy. Who knew? All this time, I'd wait for Bill to be around when I wanted lentils. Yes, it's good to have a lentil expert around, but I feel so free knowing that now I can cook lentils anytime I want.

This reminds me that education is invariably at the core of independence. The more we know about the world, how to do things, and believe that we are capable beings...the more we are willing to step out and take care of ourselves...and be independent. Today, I celebrate that an individual and as a nation.

What are your large and small gifts of independence?