Monday, September 29, 2008

I have been so amazed by the gifts of Akiane Kramarik, I felt compelled to create a scrapblog about her. After getting permission from her people, I got to work capturing images of her paintings and the comments and poetry she created to go with them.

Regardless of your particular faith, I hope you will take a look at her creations. She began drawing at age four and at the age of eight had sold her first painting for $10,000. She is a girl with remarkable gifts... a prodigy, or someone who has simply been blessed. Hopefully, you can click on this link and go to the scrapblog.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, I have to admit that I had not thought of writing about my birthday until I read AVT Coach's self-birthday blog. We either share the same birthday, or are only a day apart... at this time of night (or morning), it's hard for me to figure that out!

She has a wonderful entry about what it means to be a Libra... and it fits me perfectly, although maybe not the "keeps the house tidy" part. Although I used to do my share of cleaning, I seem so busy with school work or tired from school work that cleaning takes a back seat. But oh how I love a clean house!

My husband sent me off in style this morning with a Chik-fil-a biscuit and fountain Coke.... (love the bubbles...). It was delicious, but I have to give him credit for preparing even tastier morning treats for me when it's not my birthday. The fountain coke, though, was really special. When I got home this evening, he had a tasty tray of appetizers waiting. All my favorites, such as sushi and a bowl of hummus with warm pita bread. Dinner, which again is quite tasty when he cooks, was courtesy of our local Greek restaurant, Papouli's. Again, he brought home a favorite of mine. This guy knows me well.

And my present.... a new camera! A digital of my own. No more borrowing my daughter's. And although I've moved into the digital age, I will continue to have a soft spot in my heart for my 35mm Canon. My first "real" camera, and one that has produced amazingly beautiful shots of my precious girl.

I've added two photographs of me. One is current, and the other was made in either 7th or 8th grade.... The same age as the students I teach!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Mosaic

I found this fun thing to do on McMGrad89's blog. The hardest part was finding a photo when I entered my name! Here it is, though... along with credits (I hope!).

Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search, using only the first page, choose your favorite image, copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (4 columns, 3 rows).

The questions:
1. What is your first name? (Roban, so I used a photo of Robanov Kot a/k/a Roban's Corner)
2. What is your favorite food? (Pasta)
3. What high school did you attend? (Cedartown HS)
4. What is your favorite color? (Blue/Green)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Jonathan Rheys Meyers)
6. Favorite drink? (an ice cold coke, when not drinking a peppermint mocha frappacino)
7. Dream vacation? (A quick little trip into space)
8. Favorite dessert? (Coffee Ice Cream)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Free from worry)
10.What do you love most in life? (The love of my family)
11. One word to describe you. (Worrier)
12. Your Flickr name. (A non-flickr name: Flygirl, an ode to my flying days)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Memories and Writing

I finished this school week with a sense of satisfaction... feeling a little like a fat cat after finishing off a delicious meal. It's always this way after my students finish a big project. Although for me, the project is a long way from being finished. In fact, it awaits my attention now. All 90 tasty tidbits of writing that I will consume over this weekend and possibly next week, too.

The tidbits are actually memoirs my students have been writing this past week. And while some may be more like appetizers, I know that I have some five-course meals somewhere in the stack ready to be consumed. Regardless of the outcome, I am so proud of the effort put forth by my students. Only a handful gave half-hearted attempts and resisted efforts to revise. All of the others dove in, working diligently to not only produce their first drafts but to thoughtfully revise their work based on my suggestions.

Memoirs are a little tricky with 8th-graders. Some have already experienced more sadness and heartbreak than many adults have experienced. Issues of abandonment and loss are often the norm, whether their experiences have been based on the death of a parent, or the fact that a parent left home and never returned. Runaway parents, I suppose.... who are free to remain runaways even though their children suffer the consequences.

A few memoirs bring tears to my eyes, and there's always one or two that truly unleash my tears. I look at my students in a new light when I've finished reading their stories. Now I know why one may not smile, why one doesn't see the need for school, and why others are, well... like they are.

I always caution students who choose to write about the sad parts of life; I remind them that their stories can be about any event or person that has made an impact on them. For some, however, the happy parts are just not there. For them, the sad parts are their stories. But these stories are not just an assignment to be turned in. These stories give them a voice and a chance to be heard in a world that is not always listening.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Creating and the Art of Perfection

Perfection can really stand in the way of creativity. At least it has for me.

I've always enjoyed looking at the wonderful creations featured in scrapbook and stamping magazines, but instead of feeling inspired, I felt too much in awe of the creativity splashed across the pages to try a new technique on my own. Oh, I've dabbled here and there, but I never felt that I could really create something unique on my own.

That changed a bit when my daughter led me to the wonderful site of On this digital scrapbooking site, I can try different backgrounds, stickers, and color combinations... and if I don't like them, I can start over and choose other elements to create a page. I've particularly enjoyed layering different elements, which has been much easier to do digitally than with paper.

Now, I have to admit that I'm still intimidated a bit by the oodles of talent on that site. As I am here when I visit places like Small Creations, where the talented Audrey shares her unique cards and projects, some of which I've seen in magazines such as Inspiration and Artful Blogging.

But I'm trying to be realistic, rather than perfect. And to enjoy the process of creating as much as the final creation.

So, instead of hiding in the background, I'm sharing one of my creations.... It's a page from my "The Secret Life of Bees" scrapblog, on which I mixed a stamped/tinted image with the goodies on While I believe my creativity is still in its infancy, I will put perfection to the side, continue to marvel at the creativity I find, and do my best to enjoy the process as much as the final product.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Header... Doesn't Fit!

I wanted to create my very own heading, but it doesn't quite fit the space. The original heading shows through on one side, while the new heading extends a little too far on the right. Hmmm. Anyway, here's the header... posted here instead!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Feelings of Comfort

When Octamom wrote about feeling loved and cherished, it made me think of my own childhood and my life now with Hannah and her dad. The painting of my childhood is not as colorful nor as cheerful as hers, but there are memories I savor.

Of spending time with my grandmother whose love for fabric was woven into my layers, yet in the form of papers and fibers. Of playing Barbies with my sister, who may have been a little too old and definitely a little bored with the idea, but played anyway. Of the same sister slipping me extra money on Friday nights when I went to the skating rink, so I could eat or play games while I was there. Of drifting into other worlds and other people's lives through the books and stories I read as a child. That was a safe haven for me.

And while my childhood memories may have been fraught with more anxiety than comfort, I am blessed and I do feel loved and cherished now. And it's the simple acts that really wrap me up cozily in this feeling of comfort. Having my breakfast warm and ready as I walk out the door each morning for school. And the packed lunchbag tucked under my arm. I'm always delighted and surprised to see what my husband has chosen or prepared for me. Dinners created, flowers given, and those cards! Not much of a talker, my husband can write three or four words that are just perfect. Words that sum up his feelings in a way that would take me 100 or 200 words to do.

It's not even the actions that give me total comfort. It's just being here. In this home with this family of mine. It's lazy Saturdays when I can clean or create. It's the smell of dinner cooking or the fresh just-showered smell that lingers in the bathroom after one of us has showered. It's feeling safe even when alone. It's the comfort of our dog, Scout, as he curls up next to me... all 70 pounds! It's being snuggled up with Hannah while we look at magazines, read, or watch something on TV together. Or just talk. It's drinking a cup of hot chocolate and then dozing off to sleep and waking to find a warm afghan over me.

Sadly, my childhood is probably typical for many of the children I teach. For all those children who don't feel cherished and loved, there is hope and a prayer... that their lives will also be blessed and rich in abundant love.

The Getty Villa

I'm always amazed to see artifacts from the ancient past and can linger in museums of hours. Luckily for me, Hannah and I were invited to visit the Getty Villa during our summer trip to California. Located off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, this beautiful villa is home to an amazing collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities.

Walking through the Getty Villa was like walking into the past. The landscape and architecture were modeled after Italy's Villa dei Papiri, an ancient villa that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Sadly, Getty never had a chance to see the completed villa, but thanks to his vision and love for ancient art, we can.
If you'd like to learn more, you can visit the Web site at: