Saturday, March 27, 2021

Kickstarter! Support "Mighty Wings" Monarch Caterpillar/Butterfly Song Set


"Mighty Wings" Ready for Launch 

After months of planning and getting organized, today is the day I launch my first, ever KICKSTARTER program! 

This crowd-funding effort is to underwrite the expense to release my Monarch song-set, written in collaboration with my daughter, Sarah Joy. The first is a caterpillar rap. The second recording is a butterfly call and response song. 

I need 100 people willing to purchase the song-set for $8.00, within the next 30 days. As soon as the Kickstarter program is totally funded, you will receive the songs in a digital file, ready for use as part of your End-of-Year science project -- or summer ecology efforts.  

Monarch butterflies are in peril. The beloved and easily identified butterfly has become endangered, due to loss of their host plant and habitat. Monarchs only eat milkweed. Pesticide and herbicide usage and the loss of milkweed plants to commercialization are just a few of the reasons that the future of the Monarch is officially endangered. 
Newly hatched Monarch caterpillars

Last summer my daughter Sarah Joy gave me my first butterfly enclosure and got me motivated to save them -- one egg and caterpillar at a time. Between us, in this first year of our becoming 'butterfly whisperers' we have personally supervised 250 to flight status. With each winged ascent we become more committed to their protection. 

That's a glimpse of what a whole hoard of tiny caterpillars looks like. Compare the penny's size. Can you spot all 17 butterflies in-the-making?

First grade backyard scientist in action, Vero Beach FL 

The perfect pandemic project. 
Before the global pandemic, I was a children's musician, having written and recorded nearly 100 original songs for young students. I have given 3 national keynotes to teachers of young children and spoken at educational conferences in 39 states and four countries. I have created three picture books as author/illustrator, where the lyrics of my song become the text of the traditional book format. I have given numerous workshops at teacher conferences entitled "Sing a Book and Read a Song." Over the course of releasing butterflies, I started to create some rhymes about the process of metamorphosis. Sarah listened in and then we teamed up. At her suggestion we roughed out 2 full songs -- one for the caterpillar, which will actually be more of a spoken rap, and one for the butterfly, which will be done in a call and response pattern. 

Sarah's experience as a traditional preschool classroom teacher enlightened her on the need to have appropriate and 'factual' resources available for teaching young children about the need to support pollinators in our own immediate world. It was her compelling experience of searching for such resources that we realized ,we had found a need' and that we were uniquely qualified to 'fill it' -- together! 

Ohio preschooler with Monarch cats

Ironically, I already had a commercially created Monarch caterpillar puppet and that prompted me to create a HUGE hand-painted and sewn Monarch puppet to bring the rhyme to life as I performed it during my pandemic series of FB LIVE Sing-a-Longs. Our HOPE is that the world returns to author school visits and teacher conferences and that we can use these props for students and their teachers.

Our goal is to intrigue students and teachers sufficiently so that they will contribute to planting milkweed at their buildings and home gardens to provide additional habitat. The saving of the Monarch is a grassroots project and the timing is critical to get as many people as possible involved in the planting of Milkweed. 

Start them young. We must get young children involved in understanding how the science and saving of the Monarch butterfly is dependent on our actions taken over the coming seasons. Creating a resource for teachers and parents in the form of songs (and ultimately a traditional picture book) will provide a tool for learning, exploration and understanding. Each of my earlier picture books began with the recording of the song lyrics, which become the book text. 
Sarah Joy: 2020, first summer w Monarchs

The lyrics are ready to go! I have worked with Ronn Price for over 15 years bringing my ideas into full fledged arrangements under his talented direction. Ronn is a master at arranging and stacking tracks for all manner of instruments. He has worked with some of the BIG acts in Nashville and beyond, yet his kind heart supports and encourages my projects as well. Now that the 2 arrangements are secured, we will record them at Amerisound Studios in Hilliard, OH under the direction of the owner and engineer-operator, Dan Green. We plan to use Dan's singer-songwriter talent as a vocalist in the 'response' portion of the butterfly song. We will also contract with an independent vocalist, Whitney Love to add her harmonies and heart, to round out the butterfly song. 

This financing will underwrite the expense of the 2 arrangements, as well as the recording, mixing and mastering of both of these two pieces of music. Just as significantly, I hope that the Kickstarter program will get the word out to others seeking such a resource, beyond and outside of my network of teacher friends and cohorts. 

We plan to record as soon as possible. Those who contribute $8.00 will get a digital download of the 2 songs in a file with the lyrics and LOTS of caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly photos! Those who are interested in a Zoom session can plan ahead to next fall's back-to-school season in September.

We look forward to this Kickstarter support to generate the enthusiasm that will see the metamorphosis of HOPE that brings these two songs to fruition -- for use yet this spring and summer, in support of the Monarch's growth to flight. 

Thank you for your consideration of this ecology effort to improve our world. Once you are aware of the plight of this beloved butterfly your actions change. In so doing the impact you make is enormous, sending out ripples to your family, neighbors and friends to make their own efforts on behalf of our planet. This is where we have the opportunity to make a difference. This is the exact moment where HOPE is still viable. 

We are very grateful for your sharing this Kickstarter effort from your platform, to generate more enthusiasm and a wider impact. Thank you! -- Debbie Clement 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Upcoming Global Workshop: Positive Language, Affirmation & I Messages with Children


I'm so excited that you've found me. I am thrilled to the guest on the Global weekly Pep Talk. Now a little bit more about me.

This is what I look like to a five year old, kindergarten child in Texas. I LUV that she noticed my unique appreciation of stripes and polka-dots. NAILED IT! 

(Although there is some evidence that I have a neck.) 
During this time of pandemic reality, I no longer have a calendar filled with Teacher Conference presentations and keynotes nor am I able to be making my beloved author-illustrator school visits. 


Instead, three times a week I provide a half hour program of 
*Tune in on my personal FB page

While I appreciate every opportunity that I have to speak directly to teachers, parents and librarians, 
I absolutely ADORE every opportunity that I have to work directly with children. 

Here are a few favorite photos. 
Sometimes I have the intimacy of a small classroom. 
Sometimes the auditorium or library is filled to the brim. 

I have written and recorded 100 songs for children. 

I have turned three of my songs into traditional picture book format. 
My first book is entitled, 
"You're Wonderful." 

The song is from my first ever recording, 

I personally designed and created the illustrations for my book, from fabric, as small quilts. 
16 quilts makes a 32 page book. 

TA DA!!! 

When I make school visits, often times the children create 'quilts' to welcome me to their building. 

Do you know the game "Where's Waldo?" 
This is the version, "Digging for Debbie!" 

Can you find me? 

    For our pep talk together, our conversation is all about 
  "Choosing the Right Words with Children." 

We will begin by talking about the use of affirmations in our speaking to children. The lyrics of my song/text of the book are filled with affirmations.

"I think you're wonderful. 
    I think you're marvelous. 
      I think you're beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity 
          and DREAMS!" 

These next several pictures are from an Artist Residency in Colorado. 
The teachers had set up a photo booth and each student told what they were 'wonderful' at, which was recorded and then photographed. 

Each student also created a quilt square on a nine-patch, Tic Tac, Toe like page of 'oak-tag'. 

The quilt squares were mounted and then a border of the individual photographs was created to encircle the student artwork. 

After becoming familiar with my song and book, 
 teachers have directed their students to identify a quality that describes them. 
I have had the opportunity to see several such works in person. 

Have I mentioned that I absolutely LUV LUV LUV LUV making school visits? 

Here's the LARGEST quilt collaboration ever created for my visit! 

I've gathered some additional resources for you on this topic. 
I hope that you can visit some of these sites and learn from each in the process. 

We can all excel when we work at something that brings encouragement to the children we love, we care for and we teach. 

I will continue to expand this list of resources over the coming week. 


Source and Complete Article 


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Racism, Sorrow, Atrocities: A Personal Reflection & Children

Sorrow. Horror. Atrocities-in-our-midst. "I can't breathe."
Spring of my freshman year of high school we had race riots and riot squad policeman in our hallways for weeks on end, because of racial boiling points reached and exceeded. I am doing the math and I think that was 48 years ago, or was it yesterday? Literally. Apparently nothing has been learned in the intervening decades. "I can't breathe."
Thank heavens for the technology that can capture our inhumanity to each other. I pray that these captured horrific videos can pave the way forward toward justice, for the families left to grieve in shock. I hope our shock as a country rises up and that bile in my throat resolves into actual change. How? "I can't breathe."

America. We simply must do better. How can 48 years have passed since those retreats where we examined our prejudice and privilege? Start the clock at whatever point in our country's history you want to begin.... there is startling evidence that we aren't doing better for our fellow citizens of color. Now that we have the means to connect these disgusting acts to the larger conscience? It is sickening. "I can't breathe."
There is a pandemic indeed. This one has been in our midst for a v-e-r-y long time, but the curtain is being pulled back and the evidence is chilling. People are capable of the unthinkable. "I can't breathe."

I don't want to pretend that I have answers or platitudes or zippy-skippy bandaids to be applied, as we hemorrhage in the face of the loss of human decency. I do want to go on record that I am appalled to my very core. "I can't breathe."
I am sorry. I am sorry that the divisiveness of our country continues to widen and further marginalize those whose skin is not white. I am sorry that black wives, mothers and grandmothers must live in fear for their children and spouses going about their day-to-day lives, and of course for themselves as well. I am sorry that our country is built on such daily systemic injustice. I am embarrassed and I am sorry. I realize that typing on my screen changes nothing -- but I just wanted anyone that wonders how I might feel about the current affairs of our country to know that I am ashamed. I am appalled. And I am sorry. Shame on us. "I can't breathe."
"Shame, shame, I know your name." Your name is racism. Now what? 48 years, or 148, or 248 years, or 348 years. What have we learned? How can we do things differently? "I can't breathe."

I grew up singing "Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world, red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight." I really believed it. Kumbaya. "And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride." How Heaven must be in constant tears over our action, or inaction as the case may be. These are perilous times indeed. Black lives matter. "I can't breathe."
When I was just in elementary school, we had moved as a family from the cornfields of southern Indiana to the 'west-side' of South Bend. My pastor-dad had our family join every black church potluck available. We were often the only white family in attendance. We 'marched' shoulder to shoulder in those late 60's marches. I was a child at the time. I was taught from a very young age that we were all intended to be equals at our creation. I believed it. "I can't breathe."

It is an atrocity that these murders are mounting. We know better. When will we do better? Look yourself in the mirror and ask the tough questions. Have you silenced a racist joke being told in your midst or circulated in your inbox? Have you stood up and been counted, in the face of such dehumanization? Have you posted to your friends that you are AGAINST the unthinkable? That shouldn't be necessary, but obviously it is. "Our silence is complicity." --Joe Biden. "I can't breathe."

I am against the unthinkable. Black lives matter. "I can't breathe."
Last night as we were taking our evening walk around our circle, a UPS man made three deliveries all within the bits of our walking. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to assure him that not every white person looks at his rich black skin and turns in fear. I want to apologize to every black person, every non-white person for the injustice. For their fear and for their sorrow. I can't begin to imagine how you feel over these continuing developments -- and yes, it seems that they are coming faster and faster of late. Atrocities one and all. I can only imagine the trauma of the accumulation, with the escalating loss of life. "I can't breathe."

The reality is that our country, as a country is racist. Our system of justice is not just. I am sorry. Black lives matter. I am sorry that your experience paints another picture. Our country of rich blessings and amazing abundance is broken. George Floyd, your life mattered. "I can't breathe."
Governor Cuomo just said, "The evidence is damning." Indeed. It is damning on each and every one of us. It is damning on me. I will accept that blame. I vote. one vote. "I can't breathe."
The pandemic of racism is not new. "I can't breathe."

This is the single, biggest reason that I work with children. Where there is still hope. Teach them.

-- Debbie 

P.S. During the 'stay-at-home' era of Covid-19, I have been giving FB LIVE Sing-a-Long broadcasts. It has been put on my heart, in the tradition of Mr. Rogers, to attempt to address all of the above for our children. If you are a praying person, I would ask you to keep my preparation of this next phase of LIVE events in your prayers. 

I took this concluding picture several years ago, at a morning of fun in honor of Earth Day. You can see the entire experience in this long ago article. I think that I'm as pleased with this picture -- and that morning, as anything else I have ever done. The skin tones. The children working enthusiastically on their collaboration. Giggles. Perfect. 

What do we tell the children? How do we explain? When do we have 'real life' conversations with them? What is age appropriate information? 

Are your kids too young to talk about race?

Click on this informational chart to go to the source and find numerous other resources! 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation with Scripture

These are unique times. Historic. Landmark. Unprecedented. 

If you've ever had any issues with anxiety, the realities of daily news announcements and updates regarding the growth of the world pandemic are undoubtedly upsetting. At what point did you become concerned? 

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation with Scripture

Everything became very REAL for me, with the dual notice that Tom Hanks and his wife had contracted the virus -- coupled with seeing the empty toilet paper shelves in each of our stores. The virus suddenly had a 'face' and all expectations that things could remain the same had vaporized. Simultaneously.

We have officially entered the unknown. 

My husband and I are in the higher risk category due to our age bracket and with his heart issues that puts us into the underlying compromised health category as well. We have decided to 'self-seclude' and will be staying very close to home. No dancing. No DoWopWednesday. No yoga. No Harry Connick Jr. concert. No first time ever to go to the Masters Tournament. And for me professionally? No giving the conference keynote in Massachusetts. 

We didn't go to church this morning. Tough decision to make. Necessary. Life is indeed different. Already.

I am dealing with all of these changes to our schedule/routines and the myriad of unknowns by meditating on my favorite scripture verses. I recite them to myself as I go to sleep every night. I started with my one (AND ONLY) memory verse and then added the Lord's prayer. I start each new day by going through those same memory verses. Bookends to my day.

[SPOILER ALERT: In the two months since I started this practice of meditating on scripture passages, I have gone from my original set of two verses, to NOW BEING ABLE TO RECITE 100 VERSES!!!!   I'll have to write more on that process at another point in time, but for now, let me just say YES! ONE HUNDRED VERSES!!]

I've also been spending time in my 'scripture collection' of my photos, where I have added a Bible verse in print to embellish the image. I have spent this weekend going through my favorites and creating some new ones. 

My hope is that by sharing these images with you here, they may offer you support as well. 

When in doubt, start with the classic: 
"Be still and know that I am God." 

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear compiled by Debbie Clement

All of the photos above I have taken over our summers in Door County, Wisconsin.
The two Saguaro cactus photos that follow are from our Cabo trip last fall. 
The water lilies are from right here where we live in Vero Beach, FL. 

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Photographic Scripture Verses for Overcoming Fear by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

I have written a prayer integrating these favorite scripture verse, into the prayer itself. 

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation with Scripture

15 Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear via Meditation complied by Debbie Clement

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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