Saturday, September 6, 2014

How are you?

     You know what one of my pet peeves is? It really bothers me when someone is walking towards you, you said "hello" and they walk by and completely don't acknowledge that you exist. A close second is when you said "How are you?" and people don't answer at all. Realistically though, most Americans (not sure if this is an international thing) will just answer "fine," no matter how they're doing.  Today I was blessed with brutal honesty by someone I have known as an acquaintance for a few years.
     I saw this person and asked how they were doing and they answered by telling me they weren't really doing too well. Not really expecting this I said something like "Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that." After a few minutes he approached me and really opened up, explaining what was going on in the life of himself and his family. (Now, on a side note, anyone who really knows me will know that one of my biggest personal quirks (obsessive compulsive tendencies? annoying traits? lol) is that I CANNOT be late. If there is a real emergency, I can somewhat handle it but I really hate when people are habitually late and I would rather be 2 hours early than 1 minute late. Anyone who knows my husband will know that he is always late. God has a cruel sense of humor.. :)  So, here I am, headed from 1 place to another when this conversation occurs. )  At that moment I realized how rare this occasion was. How often do we have people, especially acquaintances, who really tell us what's going on? People who are really joyful about something going on in their life or struggling with things. How different would the world be if we just honestly listened when people opened their hearts to us? How much of a difference would we make if we showed kindness to someone who might desperately be needing it? How many acquaintances do we know are really going through things when their life looks "fine" from the outside?
     Thank you God for the glimpse inside someone's life and the fact that they trust me enough be able to be that personal with me. I have thought about this person all day and I think I will be thinking about their family for a while. It took 5 minutes of my time to be a friend. I hope I remember that the next time I make being on time more important than a relationship.

Back to school

    This week my boys went back to school. (I went back the week before.) I love the beginning of school. I love seeing the kids come in slightly nervous, but excited about a new year. I love the fact that, for many students, a new year is a chance to start again- no matter how good or bad the year before was. I love seeing the kids connect with new friends as well as meeting up with old ones. I love that my students come back in ready to start where we left off and ready to work hard. I also like being on the lookout for the kids who feel alone or nervous so I can help provide some of them a place where they can be themselves and be valued for it.  I read many articles about the downfall of public education but I assure you, there are many teachers who genuinely love their students and will do anything within their power to help develop them into good people who love to learn.
    Here are my boys and some info about their first week. Here is David:
He just entered 1st grade. We were blessed last year to have a WONDERFUL, caring teacher and I think we are just as blessed this year. He has 2 of his best friends in his class and he is super excited. He is excited to learn more things about math and he is even asking to practice some writing this weekend. Next week he will start all of his specialist classes, which he is excited about. He came home talking about art on Friday and how nice it was for him to see his art teacher. This little gem also came home in his bag. He said a lot of people in his class circled sad or afraid, but he was happy. I wish I could do this at the middle school level.
He started 3rd grade. Honestly, he was a little nervous about this year. There are a few kids in his class that gave him a lot of trouble last year and he only had 1 friend in the room. On a good note, he got the teacher he REALLY wanted (all of the teachers are great.)  So, we were hoping things would go well. At his "meet the teacher" day, he met 2 new students- one from Utah and the other from the UK. He has really bonded with the little boy from the UK and we actually went out for ice cream sundaes last night. I think they will become great friends and we feel super blessed that there is someone he feels like he can connect to. He is also looking forward to his specialist classes, building a working motor this year, science and being a reading buddy with a kindergarten student. I'm really proud at how he is trying to make the 2 new kids know that they are welcome.
    I didn't take a back to school picture of myself. I know you must be truly disappointed.. lol.
    On an interesting note, I read something today that said that little girls in the Ukraine wear flowers in their hair on the first day of school. What a beautiful tradition.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Catch-up postcard post and AJT#4

    Well, summer has officially come to an end for me. I went back to school last week. Though my schedule seems like it will be quite a bit more hectic, I was happy to see all of the students and jump right in with all of my lessons. (The students actually came with me too!) This week I see all of my choruses for the first time. It is always nice to talk to the students to see what is going on with their lives and to hear how they sound mixed with new students. It is also amusing to hear how different my middle school boys sound from one year to the next. I am very excited to watch and hear these young musicians grow over time.
     So, the art has slowed down too. I was working on the AJT3 (accordian book), but I'm still finishing. I'm also working on the vivid flower art journal page. (I might even just start an art journal.. lol)  For now, here's the grid from AJT4. Sorry if the 3 pictures are a little too much but I kept seeing different things as I angled the pad different ways. So, here's everything- with a lot of detail. I really like the sheep square and the 3rd one in on the left side, bottom row- which is a scrap of mine from gelli printing. The colors are more vivid in person. This was fun and therapeutic to do.

    This summer was a lonely summer for my mailbox. (Good thing I have Marianne who won't give up on me!)  Fortunately, it was great for postcards. Here are all the cards received since my last post.
From Russia- The postcard was sent in this cool Olympics envelope.  Does anyone know what the building in the 3rd picture down is? It is written in Russian on the back but... I don't speak Russian. 

 Wild Lithuanian strawberries.
From Ukraine
 From Germany
 Taiwan (the 2nd one depicts the story of Sleeping Beauty)

 The Netherlands
 Czech Republic
 South Africa:

   I think I'm officially caught up now. Oh, speaking of being caught up, if any penpals are reading this and I owe you a letter, please let me know. I have found a lot of older letters around the house but I lost track of which ones I have responded too. I'm not the best housekeeper. 
     I hope you are all blessed, happy and healthy.  Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Art- DPP 9-13 and AJT2

   I took some time this week to continue playing with my art challenges. Here are the daily paper prompts.
DPP9- Game
 DPP 10 is stitching. I don't have a sewing machine. Although I would really like to try this, I think it would be a really bad decision for my hand/elbow problems lately. I might have to pass on this one. :(

DPP11- Ogee. I have a problem with drawing symmetrically. Any suggestions?
DPP12- Round
 DPP13a and b- Grid. I like grids- very mathematical.

   I also followed Tammy's art journal tangent for a half empty/half full page. I stepped outside my comfort zone and went to a page of watercolor paper instead of using an index card. The left side shows my biggest "half-empty" issues and my right side shows things I know I have that make me happy. I also have some little things written in in black on the half full side but you can't see them too well. Laughter, mail, chocolate and music are a few of the things written in black. 

    This was my favorite part of the night- David saw me doing some painting and he asked if he could sit down and work with me. He did a book report for school. Well, actually it's a summer reading program run by a bakery. The kids write a report and bring it in. They get a "book buck" and can trade it in for baked goods. Talk about incentive. Anyway, he loves to draw and color so it was really cute.

Friday, August 8, 2014

DPP/6-8, 2 postcrossing cards, currently reading...

My Daily Paper Prompt cards have been fun but I had to rush 2 of them this week. Prompt 6- Certification. I feel this is appropriate. (I got the image from this page. )

DPP7- Leftovers. I made this from a bunch of mop up paper and other various scraps around the kitchen table. 

DPP8- Faded. I read about a technique to paint something and then immediately spray it with water to let the paint fade and drip. I really like how this one came out and I will definitely experiment more with this technique.

   The mailbox has been pretty slow on personal mail this week but I did get some nice cards. (I hear Monday is going to be a good mail day ;) )  This card is from Sanne in Holland.

I received this card from Ines today. She is from Berlin.  I would love if my yard was this cute.

     As for reading, I just finished reading through the book of Hebrews in the Bible and I'm going to spend some time in Psalms for my devotional time. I'm also reading a book called "An Incomplete Education" (check out my Goodreads page if you want info). For school this summer, the staff and students are reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I just started but I think it will be a quick read. I ended up buying the hard cover in case Timmy would like to read it after (if it's appropriate.)   I have heard great things about this book. If you have read it, what did you think?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Catching up and new art challenge

   My kitchen table has become a pile of "to register" Postcrossing cards and wayward art supplies. God bless my husband for being patient with me. I received lots of great postcards this week. From Belgium:

From Sochi Russia:

From Taiwan. The sender is a 16 year old girl who plays the piano and the erhu.

From Finland. Is this a close up of a grape or something totally different? Where are all my Finnish friends? I love this card!

From the USA. "Ember- the Fire Sprite" by Ruth Thompson

From Australia. For some reason the picture of the stamp she sent doesn't want to cooperate. It's a stamp of the royal visit from Prince William and Kate with their son. I've never seen that before.  Also, she told me about the Aboriginal singer Gurrumul Yunupingu. Check him out. His voice is so soothing. 

From Italy, also with pretty stamps that I hadn't seen.

From Poland

Colorado, USA


China, I'm not sure I'm holding the card right. 

2nd card I received from a Penpals&Letters Swap back in July. Thanks, Kirsty!

I finished my Index Card a Day Challenge and since I had so much fun being creative, I joined the next challenges. One is a daily paper prompt- which is basically a create based on a prompt project, no other rules. I'm continuing on with the index cards though many people are moving to an art journal. (This would be easier for size but I would never get anything done at home or for the challenge.)  The Art Journaling Tangents &Tactics is a set of techniques, tutorials and creative prompts. I'm really looking forward to this. I would love if you checked out Tammy's page at    She's pretty awesome. 
     Speaking of awesome.. lol, I am growing a bit in my comfort level with trying to create. I'm usually pretty rule oriented so these prompts are so helpful to me. I am finding, however, that I'm able to come up with more than 1 idea rather than just taking it literally or feeling totally incapacitated. Here are my first 5 (6) daily paper prompts:
DPP1- Rainbow  AJT1- Starburst
DPP2- Window. I'm disappointed with this a little. It's a stained glass window. I wanted the painted outside of the window to be a lighter grey. The window "glass" is painted wax paper. 

DPP3- Drips. I really like this one. It's flicked/dripped watercolors

DPP4- Flowers- inspired by the daisies my nana gave me for my anniversary on Friday. They're much prettier than these. Mutant stems. Oops. 

After my stem issue, I thought maybe I should just do that one over.  So, I tried my hand at collage. DPP4b

DPP5- Linear