Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Summer: New Daisies




In case you're 'new' to my blog, a word of warning: I've got the crazies-for-the-daisies. It started off innocently last summer. I've always had a liking for daisies. Last summer it bloomed into a full fledged addiction. I'd be riding my bike down a country lane and "have" to stop to get them captured. I'd be at one of the gazillion gardens surrounding the galleries and studios and I'd get lost in the daisies and forget to go into the shop. Last summer was the season of capturing our little white-petal friends from below.... against the blue skies.

I even made a movie this winter of dozens & dozens of my summer daisies from last year. It is currently housed at YouTube. My little daisy movie has had over 400 views. Well it's a whole new season of summer and there's a whole new crop just growing every where I look. One of my movie-critics (a child in Joni's childcare) pointed out that there were no creepie-crawlie-winged thingies in the first gazillion shots -- so I am attempting to include evidence of living life. Behold the bumble bee.

When you have three and a half minutes and need some quiet, contemplative daisies set to an oboe music instrumental -- provided by my youngest daughter Noelle, please go over to YouTube and get lost in a sea of plenty. It's the perfect vitamin for exhaling.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fond Farewell

Hugs all around. These are my purple people. The mentors for the providers and the brains to put it all together. They were busy, finishing up the last minute details. Organizing the evaluations. Cleaning up. I saw a whole tunnel of purple and asked them to pose together. I just LOVE this picture. Shows all the hard-workers that are involved in creating such an outstanding event. Now back to Wisconsin. Sunsets and daisies ahead. Until I leave for Vegas in a couple of weeks. It will be full steam ahead on the remaining illustrations for "Red, White and Blue." Happy trails. Happy, happy. Joy, joy, joy!!
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The BIG Ending!!




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Monday, June 28, 2010

Afternoon Antics




Here's a little peek into my afternoon break-out session. There was plenty more fun to be had by the dedicated.
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Through the Jungle




Listen for that roar!! Here's my spectacular thrift store find. My one dollar investment from all those years ago has held up to hundreds, maybe thousands of appearances!! Making it's Auburn University debut. One net tutu. One spectacular musical arrangement. Augmentation with sign language. Choreography to the beat of the prowl. Delayed gratification. Anticipation. Silence. Sound effects. All grafted together to teach a lesson in patience, in waiting, in hypothesis crafting.

Dr. Ellaine Miller had the fore thought, insight and wisdom to direct me to include my "Lion Prowl" during my lunchtime keynote. She also had the muscles and resources to purchase a copy of my album "Debbie's Ditties 2 Much Fun" for each & every participant in attendance. These providers really had an amazing swag bag. No kidding: my album, Lisa Murphy's book on "Play" and assorted other goodies. There were amazing "prizes" at every juncture.

If I was a family homecare provider in Alabama, I'd seriously be marking my calendar for next year's extravaganza.
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All Together Now




Here are some great shots in action. Now we're singing, "Everybody, All Together Now." They've got the sign for 'together' with flair. They've got enthusiasm on their faces and excitement in their participation. The stage was fun with colorful building blocks on the perimeter, which was a good thing to give me some boundaries. The screen behind me was seriously big. Huge. Enormous. Gigantic. I am so thrilled when all of the technology works well. My boom box was routed thru the house sound system. I had a cordless mic AND a mic on a stand. There was no audible feedback. The power stayed on through out the presentation. Three cheers for the technology!!
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Officers & Leaders


Here are the officers & the leadership of the conference. This event was a truly well-oiled machine and that's due to the brilliance and direction of these fine folks.
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Fun Faces for Families




Here's a couple close-ups of amazing smiles. I bet you'd feel comfortable leaving your children in these capable hands. I bet you'd feel comfortable leaving your GRANDchildren in these capable hands. Aren't the smiles amazing? Bright & shining.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Get This Party Started




Here are the opening pictures from my luncheon keynote address. I recruited a volunteer photographer to capture some of the fun-in-action. We got started with my call and response number, "Celebrate." We are great. Indeed. I'm fusing the ASL (American Sign Language) with some uptown dance moves and they are following along with enthusiasm and smiles. Short term memory fun.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Auburn Univ: Whooop!!!




I've been looking forward to this day for a very, very, very long time!!! Dr. Ellaine had been emailing me for a l-o-n-g time to come to Auburn University and give the Saturday keynote of their two day conference. How awesome is that? It's pretty seriously exciting with just that much information. The rest of the story?? Their Friday night keynote was the Ooey Gooey Lady: Lisa Murphy!!! For those of you who do not frequent the early childhood universe, she is one of the BIG dogs, petite in real life, but a VERY big dog indeed. I still aspire to be one of the medium dogs.

We arrived just after high-noon, driving in from the Atlanta airport and it was already 99 degrees! That first people-picture is Lisa, the ooey of the gooiest and moi!!! A picture of the two of us. How excited am I? (She looks excited, too!)

At the end of my keynote, one of the volunteers came up and told me that he thought that I was THE BIGGEST of the medium dogs. We had one of the greatest of shared laughs of the conference. His genuine & sincere comment made my day!! I told him to be certain to put that comment on his evaluation form. LOL

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hajar is WONDERFUL!!










"It is not by accident that the happiest people are those who make a conscious effort to live useful lives. Their happiness, of course, is not a shallow exhilaration where life is one continuous intoxicating party. Rather, their happiness is a deep sense of inner peace that comes when they believe their lives have meaning and that they are making a difference for good in the world." ----Ernest A. Fitzgerald

Once upon a time there was a music-lady that wrote a song, while her husband-the-pilot landed their plane over Lake Michigan on a day that had suddenly turned gloriously sunny. The clouds had parted. She thought it was wonderful. She thought it was marvelous. She thought it was beautiful and magical..... and suddenly she thought of children, filled with curiosity!! She wrote the seven words on the back of an envelope and heard a little tune, too.


That sequence of words was recorded onto her first cassette tape back in the stone age. Annette Sheldon, the children's librarian turned picture book author, suggested adding sign language during performances as she had used the book with teenage mommies, feeling it was a good teaching tool.

Teachers started having their children sing the little song for Thanksgiving Feasts, Mother's Day Teas and preschool graduation ceremonies. Then one day the music lady started making quilted illustrations from fabric, to bring the words to life in picture book format. A quantum leap forward for the little song "You're Wonderful" as it was now a hard back book!


Then another day the music-lady was speaking in Michigan and a buoyant, young teacher envisioned using the repetitive song as a bridge for her kindergarten children, none of whom spoke any English when the year started. So many children. So many languages. Winter turned to spring. A little girl named Hajar used magic markers to draw her ideas and a pencil to write her response to the statement: If I had a pet it would be a _______ (fill in the blank) brfli (butterfly) because __________________ (fill in lots of blanks.)


"If I had a pet it would be a brfli, because thay are bufl and magikil and fild with kroste and drems. And thay are marbilis."


That buoyant, bubblie young teacher read Hajar's writing and immediately knew that the music-lady would be THRILLED to know of Hajar's independent and seriously amazing response. Facebook messages were excitedly exchanged and Hajar's parents gave permission for the writing to be sent through the mail to land on the music-lady's desk.


Tears well in my heart as I ponder the fact that a simple idea was born from my experience and has now traveled beyond my own personal efforts to impact children from around the world. It is safe to say that the issues inherent in self esteem -- cross boundaries, cross languages, cross cultures. What a gift to see how the words of my song, of my book have come to live in Hajar's mind & imagination, as evidenced by her own writing, in her own lovingly invented, second language spelling.


When I ponder the concept of legacy, of my legacy in particular, I rejoice in knowing I've made an impact, by literally seeing my string of words expressed in Hajar's handwriting. The big wide world just got a little smaller and I was a part of constructing that bridge.


****Huge hugs of gratitude to Kristen Valenti-Horak of Detroit, who I am nominating for a teacher of the year award. In the ensuing flurry of FB messages, Kristen shared with me how the vocabulary of my song became the culture of her classroom. She shared instance upon instance of observing one child's act of kindness being met with the sign for 'wonderful' from a peer. She further observed the shared twinkle in both sets of eyes as a common denominator of a shared language was being built on lyric of my song at a time.




The power of music. The power of song. The power of affirmation. The power of sign language. The power or writing. The power of children. The power of teachers. The power of recognition. The power of story-telling cybernetically. The power of legacy.




Thank you forever for sharing Hajar's work. I will have it framed. It already has been added to my power point presentation!!
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