Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Yes. Yes. I am RICH!" Follow your DREAMS!

Valentine's Day Collaborative Quilt for Author Illustrator Visit with Debbie Clement

Who requests February 14th? Who does that? 

What kind of teachers PLAN their author-illustrator school visit ON Valentine's Day? Who comes up with the idea that they would like to add MORE to a day that is already overflowing with chocolate and sugar and hype and sugar and expectations and sugar and sticky fingers and sugar -- one that already requires 'extra' effort times a gazillion? Just exactly what does it take to pull off Valentine's Day in an elementary school PLUS quilt in an author-illustrator day at the very same time? 

Who WANTS that kind of date on their calendar? Who requests February 14th? 
One thing I know for certain? It takes a LOT of heart! 

Kindergarten Water Color Hearts for Author School Visit with Debbie Clement

It takes a special place. 
It takes a team effort.  
It takes an entire STAFF, plus an administration with a support crew, 
brimming with confidence. 
It takes a GROUP effort that is filled with trust and hope and possibility. 

It takes vision. 

One half of the Collaborative Valentine's Day Quilt created for Author visit with Debbie Clement

This blog is my 'memory book' of some pretty amazing visits and opportunities 
over the years. 
I have left schools thinking -- 
"That was the pinnacle. No one will ever be able to eclipse this effort.
I have been made to feel so welcome 
and the students were so well prepared for my visit...... 
this was the ultimate day."

And time and time again, I am overwhelmed with the insight, effort and energy that teachers bring to their daily mission. Time and time again, I am left here at the keyboard to conjure up a new set of superlatives to capture the observations I make at the feet of excellence, at the feet of the teachers I encounter. 
Where do I begin?  

Author Visit with Debbie Clement

I stand in awe of teachers.
I marvel at teachers.
I marvel at your willingness to go the extra mile.
I marvel at your creativity and inventiveness. 
I marvel at the way you inspire your entire community to rally for a cause. 
I marvel at the way you involve parents in your work. 
I marvel at the hope that you engender,
that you demonstrate daily. 
I marvel at your eagerness, your zeal, your kindness. 
I marvel at your tenacity. 
I marvel at your spunk. 
Your steadfastness.
Your insight. 
The sheer determination I see you demonstrate overwhelms me. 

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Never before have I walked into a building to find individualized, 
personalized t-shirts drying, 
suspended in the air with hope and clothespins 
in honor of my arrival. 
Never before. 
Who does that?
Who orchestrates their author-illustrator visit on Valentine's Day?
Who directs an entire Early Childhood Wing to commemorate a LUV feast?
A feast of LOVE! 

"I think you're WONDERFUL!"

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

"I think you're MARVELOUS!" 

Who orchestrates such an amazing display of support and encouragement? 
Teachers do. 
That's who. 
Teachers who are commissioned with a calling. 

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Teachers get their entire community so excited and filled with anticipation that they get their parents involved, too. 
Parents who prowl Pinterest. 
Pinterest with so many, many possibilities.
And just like that. 
Every child in the program is sporting their own creation.
Because every single person in the building has gotten on board. 
Every single student has been directed and accommodated and supported and encouraged.  

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

Teachers attend conferences and get their batteries recharged. 
Teachers start dreaming. 
Teachers say, 
"We could do that. 
We have the kind of program 
that gives our all to the children we serve! 
We could create something truly spectacular. 
We could create an author-illustrator Valentine's Day extravaganza. 
We could do that! 
We're those kind of teachers. 
We could get together the night before all of the hooplah and have a party!
There's nothing left to 'do' but celebrate! 
In fact? 
We should all bring our daughters in honor of the power of women!
We're just those kind of people." 

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement 

Then we'll get up the next morning
and just watch the amazing day unfold.
We've planned for this day. 
We've prepared for this day.
We have all of our surprises readied. 
We'll wear our t-shirts and our smiles. 
We'll keep pinching ourselves, so we don't cry. 
We'll be just like the children and revel in the sheer joy.

Kindergarten T-shirts Personalized in Response to "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

And then we'll just let all that is wonderful unfurl. 
We'll let all that is marvelous unwind. 
We'll let all that is beautiful and magical develop.
We'll let all that has filled us with curiosity open us up...

PreK+K Author-Illustrator Presentation with Debbie Clement

The title of today's soliloquy? 
"Yes. Yes. I am RICH!" 

That is the answer to the question asked 
by the third grade boy during our author Q&A session.

Third graders are sophisticated and worldly. 
Third graders are mature and direct. 
Third graders are indeed filled with curiosity. 
Third graders are blunt. 
Third graders want to know. 
Third graders ask the question, 
"Are you rich?" 

I've never been asked that question before. 
I had not prepared an answer ahead of time. 
I had never given any thought to an age-appropriate answer before. 
I rambled on for a while in the heat of the moment. 
Can I have another 'do-over'?

Debbie Clement receives her own Personalized T-shirt for "You're Wonderful"

I wish I would have just said, 
"YES! YES!!! I am rich!" 
I am RICH beyond my wildest dreams, 
because I have the opportunity to work alongside teachers. 
Even if for one day. 
Even if for this day. 
Yes. Yes. I am rich. 
I have the opportunity to spend time with children. 
I am RICH indeed! 

Personalized T-shirts for "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement

So where did all of this amazement take place? 
That's the P.S. footnote to the story. 
I decided to save the best for last. 

Who would literally put my name up in lights? 
Surround me with hearts and love? 
Who would do that on Valentine's Day?
Who would go the extra mile? 
Who would pour their hearts into such an experience? 
Who would shower me with this kind of support? 
"Foundation Christian Academy" 
that's who! 

Debbie Clement gets her name UP IN LIGHTS! Author-Illustrator school visit

Is it a coincidence that this was a "school of faith"? 
I don't think so, but you can be the judge. 
I have laid out the 'evidence' of our day.
You can reach your own conclusion.

Painted Children's Handprints on Scripture Verse

Let their actions speak for themselves. 
Here's the last image as we departed their parking lot. 

School Art Sculpture Cross in the Courtyard with Scripture Verse

*****Now. In real time****** 
I have flown from those blue skies of Florida and landed north in the hub of Ohio. 
TOMORROW is our VIDEO shoot for Zaner-Bloser at Horizon Studios.
Quite literally, the LARGEST opportunity of my career. 
A whole new level of collaboration and WOW!  

In real time I am just a slight basket case   over excited!
There is a global outpouring of support cheering me toward tomorrow. 
One baby step at a time folks. 
That's how I do it. 
One baby step at a time!  

That's the progress of my jumper.
That's when the blue paint on the back bib was still wet. 
It has 'dried' in real life.  
The ruffles are still 'just' pinned to the bottom and are still waiting my needle and thread.

I have 24 hours to get my 'act' together. 
"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." 

Look what arrived in my inbox last night! 

Debbie Clement portrayed by Teacher Laura

This from the heart and talented hands of the infamous 

Believe it or not, Laura is somewhat 'new' to creating 'clip art' and if this doesn't knock your socks off, 
I don't know what will? 

I LUV LUV LUV the fact that she can envision 'me' with my ruffles in place! 

Laura's characterization reminds me of this heart-felt Kinder drawing from Texas earlier this month. 

I am indeed the 'poster child' for do what you LUV and amazing things will happen. 
I am so very grateful to each and every one of you who has held my hand along the way. 
I count on your support and encouragement as I take each step in the journey. 

Here's me. Singing my song. Accompanied by those Texas visions. 

I am indeed filled with dreams. 
Dreams to support teachers as they support children. 
Dreams to support children as they venture forth.
Dreams that this world would be filled to overflowing with words of power, strength and affirmation. 
Dreams that we would lavish the people in our lives with that affirmation. 
Dreams that we can all contribute from our own platform -- no matter the size. 
Dreams that collaboration can bring forth unbelievable results. 
Dreams that developing our God-given gifts will take us in the right direction.
Dreams that all of our dreams unfold with perfect timing.
Dreams that I get my ruffles onto my jumper. 
Dreams that I wake up to the opportunities at hand. 
Dreams that I can believe in myself when the going gets scary. 

Dreams that we EACH can impact our own world and make it better. 
Will you dream along with me? 

Now? Now it is time to find my needle and thread. 
Or a glue gun, if necessary! 

As always. 
I'm grateful for your pin. 
Each pin sends my dream to a whole new pinboard! 

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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