Happy Birthday America — You’re One Hot Mama


Dear America,

Happy Birthday!  I love the beauty of your people, your land, and your rights. I am a proud Patriot and thankful for all the opportunities you provide for me and my people. America is a land of opportunity, freedom, and beauty.

Sure, we have some wankers that give us Americans a bad rap, but overall we are good people with good hearts. We bleed red, white, and blue.

I am grateful for clean, hot water I get as a tax payer and as a citizen in this beautiful country. I am also grateful to say whatever the hell I want and to know I am protected by our constitution.  I have so many rights as an American citizen and I am plenty grateful for that. Thank you.

Thank you especially to the veterans who have fought for our freedom, because freedom is not free. Many lives have been lost defending our country. Many souls have been destroyed by the trauma of war and I am grateful to those veterans and their families. My father was a veteran, still is — probably telling war stories in Heaven (although I don’t think there is a need for war stories in Heaven. I believe God takes away that pain in Heaven). Nonetheless, my daddy is in Heaven. He never liked being called Daddy per say. It was Dad.

July 4th is my favorite holiday. It is full of firecrackers, parades, beaches, barbecues, friends, family, love, and patriotism. God bless America.

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Photo by Megan Oteri

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I am ending this post with my two favorite patriotic songs.  “God Bless America” by Lee Greenwood and “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen.

Have a great weekend America. You are a beauty with many battle scars. Thank you for being you.

Quotes


memomuse:

Arts Integration should be as recognized as EdTech now. The Arts are a powerful force for learning and retention.

Originally posted on Arts Integration into Education:

“I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training – training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.”

– Richard W. Riley, Former US Secretary of Education

“An elementary school that treats the arts as the province of a few gifted children, or views them only as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. That arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

“The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound…

View original 191 more words

My Strange Pull: The Original Journal


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Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

— Rumi

My Strange Pull

I have been pulled towards The Original Journal for twenty years. I have been collecting signatures from people for two decades.  If you don’t know this about me, I ask random people I meet to sign my journal. I tell them there are three things they need to know before they sign it:

1. There’s a Front Door – Rated PG13

2. There’s a Back Door – Not Rated

3. There’s no rules!

I guess you could say The Original Journal is a living journal, scrapbook and a yearbook all rolled into one with two ways to enter the book — through the front and the back of the book. Like a house, a front door is for more formal introductions and meetings and a back door is more familiar, uncensored, and messy. The back door usually has a screen door letting in fresh air.

I just can’t let The Original Journal go. It won’t let me go!  I have to see this through to publication.  I am in the process right now of finding a printer.  Each printer I talk to tells me it is a complicated printing job. I will have to find a specialty printer.  I don’t want to give up the tape binding like a typical composition notebook. I want The Original Journal to feel like a composition notebook, but of course it will have special elements to it to induce and provoke creativity, journaling, and musings.  There will a selection of quotes from other original journal signers (there are hundreds of journals with thousands of signatures and many pearls of wisdom from ordinary folks). The first edition will include 50 quotes — 20 Front Door quotes and 20 Back Door quotes, along with 10 of my personal favorites.  I can’t wait to get this journal to press.

Trusting My Gut (Business Instinct)

As I have gone through this process, I have had to be flexible and let go of things I have clutched tightly to for a long time. For example, the black and white marble design that I have been using for the last seven years has been let go. I worked with a talented graphic designer, who is also the sister of my best friend from childhood. Their father is an commercial artist in the Chicago area (where I grew up). “Arch” was also my soccer coach as a kid. He would Ginger and me into the city to create in his industrial size studio where large billboard size canvases stretched across thousands of square feet of creation space. It was so exciting to go into Chicago from the suburbs to paint and explore creatively on weekends.  These excursions planted a seed of creativity and art for me. Arch has worked for Disney and many other companies. I remember the feeling of freedom paired with splats of color and creation. It made me giddy (perhaps it was the paint fumes). I love creating and it is a natural high for me. My best work is done late at night when the house is quiet and night offers her blank canvas.

It was serendipitous that I connected with Julia (my best friend’s older sister). Ginger (best friend fro childhood) and I had many adventures as children and many funny memories. Ginger has the most contagious laugh I have ever heard.

I had to trust my gut (what I have been calling my business instinct) when someone (before I connected with Julia) offered to create a logo for me and it was not working.  I did not feel this person understood my vision for my company logo or The Original Journal. I have to say it was a great thing that I trusted my gut. Now I have a logo and cover design I really like and I think you will too. The logo and cover designs have gone through revisions and adjustments but it is really close to being finished. It’s amazing how many split-the-atom decisions have to be made when designing something. Detail. Detail. Detail.

Kickstarter Video

As you know, if you follow The Original Journal or my other social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) you know that I have been working with a videographer on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to print the first edition of The Original Journal. It was very serendipitous how I met Jah-mul. He is from New York City. One of the first interactive original journals I made was The New York Journal that I made for my first trip to NYC. I actually got reprimanded for zoning out at a boring literacy training I was attending as a teacher. I was so excited about my trip and went a little ADHD with the glue stick, markers, scissors, and creative supplies that were on the table, but that is another story and probably another seed of how The Original Journal came to be).

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

Cover of The New York Journal (Front Door cover). This journal was created in 1998

No doubt about it - I am a right brained brainiac.

No doubt about it – I am a right brained brainiac.

Jah-mul and I hit it off after a professor at a local college suggested him because of his creativity and talent in videography.  I am really excited to see what the video will look like. I have enjoyed working with Jah-mul and I see a bright future for him as a film maker. I started The Original Journal in college so it is interesting to work with a college student on the Kickstarter video. I will keep you posted when I launch the campaign. I wanted to launch the video on Summer Solstice, but I may have to launch it closer to July or August as I am still searching for the right printer. I am getting my right brain ducks in a row so they form a beautiful left brain formation.

ducks in a row

When Can You Purchase The Original Journal?

I wish I had the answer to this question!  I am hoping the journals will be available for pre-orders by August and Back to School. If they are available for Back to School, it will be closer to the end of August. But in reality, I don’t think I will have them ready until September.  I will keep you posted. It looks like the printing issue will be resolved this summer as I am still researching printers to find the right printer.  It is very exciting to be moving into this next phase of the project as see it go from project to product.  I am also in the process of finding a website designer as I need to set up an e-commerce site. If you know of anyone, please shoot me an email. But please no spam. I take personal recommendations from people I know very seriously and enjoy working with people I have a personal connection to.

Adapting and Letting Go

This process of setting up a small business and taking an idea that has floated in the right brain down to the left brain field has been a discovery process. I have had to let go of certain things. It was hard at first, but I am seeing the bigger picture.

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The bigger picture is unlocking doors and unblocking myself from my own issues related to success and failure. I have been ding some soul searching on things that get in my way. And I am one of them. I have an Upper Limit Problem, which I am working on. I have had to let go of perfectionism which is really a way to set up a giant roadblock on the path to success. It would be more of a failure if I didn’t see the publication of this project through. I am prepared to fail and learn from it, but the success lies in getting it done. It’s really scary pursuing the dream that lives in the deepest pocket of your heart, but in the process I have realized that I am creating a product that will help people do exactly that. And I am so excited to tell you about the special parts of the journal that help you focus on your inner heart pocket dream. This exciting component to the journal will be revealed closer to publication. I had an aha moment late one night when I was working through some kinks to the design and it hit me.  It’s the core of the vision for my company and for The Original Journal.

What exciting projects are you working on and what fears are you working through as you go after them? I’d love to hear from you.

Photo taken in Canterbury, England 2014

Sit down and dream a little…                                                    Photo taken in Canterbury, England 2014