Saturday, February 28, 2015

Praise Report: Resilience, Creativity + Growth!

Becoming a parent is a lifetime commitment to offering support and encouragement. They start out so utterly dependent and we are in awe of every coo and peep. Skinned knees and pinched fingers of those early years are hardly sufficient preparation for the coming bumps and bruises -- not to mention the train wrecks that life-on-Earth can deliver to our loved ones. 

Maturing children confront opportunities for bigger calamities with each passing era. So giving them the perspective gift of resilience is perhaps our greatest parenting contribution. Not making the team. A favorite pet's death. Snubs from the sorority squad. Real pain at the time. Preparation for rising up in the face of REAL life to come. Perspective. Bouncing back. Making the best of "it." 

The week that has passed fills me with appreciation for my own two daughters. I am so completely proud of each of them. What a week we have had.

If you've arrived for this week's update, chances are that you know about my first born and the saga that is her life-at-the-moment. About six weeks ago, she learned quite abruptly that her husband of ten years had decided to end their marriage. On a reality show or TV series, the character in the lead role quite likely is a total wreck, under blankets, surrounded by distractions-du-jour.

Real life does not necessarily afford the opportunity to indulge in such a cathartic retreat. In this particular situation, there are lunch boxes to fill and bills to pay. 

REALITIES

Fact #1. It turns out that my former son-in-law has STILL NOT paid the first month's court dictated child support payment, ordered by the magistrate and calculated with forms and formulas. It tears me up to wrap my head around that reality. I shake my head in utter dismay. Who is that man? Add your fervent prayers for this pressing matter, please. 

Fact #2. Our blue-eyed daughter has indeed moved ALL of the home's utilities into her name solo, as she was instructed by the court to do. Those bills are just beginning to arrive. One day at a time. One bill at a time. There are new mantras to learn. New prayers to make for those accounts.  

Fact #3. We made the VERY difficult decision to 'terminate' the law firm representing our daughter early this week. There is just no way that we could afford the mounting expense of that office. As of this moment, Sarah is on the 'grace-of-God' plan, seeking new representation: closer to home. Realizing the sum of money spent in these initial weeks literally turns my stomach. There are MANY emotions involved with our feelings on this necessary decision to switch. Pray for peace with all of these emotions and that the new counsel being sought, and brought up to date can be the model of efficiency and frugality in moving forward.

Fact #4. The hermit crab that WonderBoy purchased with our Valentine's Day gift money: died. Harsh timing.  

Unsettling facts for certain. Challenges. On to the good news. 

Here's the praise report! 

1. Our Sarah, rather than hibernating, has immersed herself in her capabilities. She has made her month's goal with her "Younique" enterprise and has some cash in hand {she gets paid immediately upon each order!} from sharing her expertise on that platform. Her team of 'recruits' is nearing fifty! Team Rah-Rah will be a force to be reckoned with over the coming months. She is quite the motivational cheerleader. Thank you! 



2. Here's the REAL praise report! Sarah got out her paint brushes, paint and her heaven-sent talent and got to work! Hot off the press. Like yesterday! 



We are still completely 'against' passing the hat for the unexpected expense of her legal representation. HOWEVER. Using our skills and projects to fund this necessary legal work seems completely reasonable to us. Sarah is willing to part with her painting -- to a good home. She has entitled this first one "New Start." It is 30 by 40" and is acrylic on canvas. I think that $150 is a reasonable price for something of this size. Do you live in Columbus, OH with a need for a piece of original art work? Know someone that does? Let me know and I can connect the dots. 

Guess what! She has already completed the companion piece to the first, in another color scheme! Getting these sold will help with the utility bills on their way. I'm so proud of her for dusting off her brushes and getting to work on creative projects that are completely under HER design. 

 

This just in!!!
She has time on her hands tonight. She JUST finished another piece! This one is smaller and measures just 16 by 20" and could brighten up a little corner in your home! For a song or a gas bill! 




LET'S HEAR IT FOR CREATIVITY! 

FREE Design Tool/Website: CANVA, makes your images truly graphic & professional looking. "Keep Calm and Create" from RainbowsWithinReach


MORE GOOD NEWS!

3. Our brown-eyed daughter, Noelle played this week at John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC with the Apollo Orchestra. That's pretty awesome, right? But the seriously amazing part is that the concert was 'simul-cast' over the web and we got to watch it in real-time, while talking to my parents as they watched in Augusta! How cool is technology? Want to take a listen? #Blessed! If you can only listen to three minutes, go to the very conclusion and listen to THE most amazing rendition of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." Spoiler alert: NOT like a camp sing-along. 


Where did the two of these children get all of this capability? 

4. The dear sweet blogger that bought the four wobble chairs has received them, fallen in LUV and has already ordered her first additional dozen wobbles! In addition to that order: One of my twitter friends has just ordered some wobbles for her school. The wobbles are winning!
Order yours from us, as distributors at WobbleSeat.com

5. I received an email to end the week, from one of my longtime incredible OH supporters and she'd seen that I'm speaking at OAEYC in May. She has access to some grant funds and is eager to write up a grant for me to come visit her program!!! Every one of these 'new' invitations that fits with the calendar's availability feels like a gift from heaven. She had NO awareness of my prayers for 'new' work. She will need my product to give to her students as part of the grant. THANK YOU!

6. A random little gift card to Target arrived in the mail. That's an easy 're-gift.' It was a little 'thank you' and opening it brought such a smile. Every little bit of manna from heaven is appreciated. 

7. Which reminds me, I got another $15 credit to spend at Zulily this week!!! Thank you kind person for clicking through from me! 

8. My sweet friend from a Lamaze class, a mere 31 years ago sent a hug in an envelope. People are so good. 

9. I have been promoted to adding the music to our weekly Tutoring After-School Homework Club for church. I've wrangled another guitarist to help. I've never played with another guitarist. The kids were SO impressed. It was SOOOOO much fun! We've added three songs to the repertoire. "I've got the JOY!" 



10. And what an amazing conclusion for my blessings shout out! I was digging around in my studio for something (which now escapes me) and I got distracted by our painted bunting visiting on the bird feeder.  As I paused to marvel, I put my hands on my ironing board, right below the window. Sitting there, right in the midst of a pile of calico, was this bookmark. I have absolutely NO idea how it got there. I have no particular memory of ever seeing it previously. 

When I get discouraged or filled with sorrow or fear on behalf of my baby bird and her WonderPeeps, I will read and reread this verse. I can't honestly say that I think there are angels playing in my studio. It must have fallen out of a pile somehow? What an amazing "God-wink!"

This story is known in heaven. Knowing that you are caring about it, praying for us, sending encouragement, makes every development a reminder that we are in our Creator's hands. I am eternally grateful.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

STEM + ARTS = STEAM: Post-it Note Geometry in Preschool!


Debbie Clement Appreciates AUTHENTIC Preschool Art: Patterns, Colors, Shapes
AUTHENTIC ART BY PRESCHOOL CHILDREN: COLORS, SHAPES + PATTERNS ~~ OH MY!

WELCOME! Looking for STEM + Art = STEAM? 
Have I got an INCREDIBLE idea to share! 
--------------------------
This has to be the most amazing of the awesomesauce! 
NEW TO ME! 
FANTASTIC! INCREDIBLE! 
SIMPLE-yet-0H-S0-PR0F0UND! 
But, first. A little 'back-story.' 

photo of: Three Picture Books by Debbie Clement of Rainbows Within Reach

I'm an Author/Illustrator and I make school visits. 
This is year number 19 for me, traveling about as a consultant. 
Last week, was my FIRST, EVER, Week-long, District-wide RESIDENCY! 
HUGE gratitude to the Del Valle ISD in TEXAS!
After giving my one-day staff development presentation, I then spent the next four days making 17 Author presentations to the youngest children in the school district: 

THE PRESCHOOLERS!

Every one of the teachers had received a copy of my first book, 
"You're Wonderful" 
during our kick-off day together! 
Take a peak!


"Why, YES! They DO LOOK LIKE QUILTS!" 
Fabric is my addiction! Can't get enough! 
I have made my book illustrations from fabric as small quilts.
Hubby gets them scanned professionally. 
We publish my books, ourselves!  

 HOW UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL to land in Preschool during "Letter Q" week! 
EVERYone knows that 'Q is for Quilt!'




.......................D-R-U-M-R-O-L-L.................

Now for the part you came searching for! 
Gen-u-ine STEM activity for Preschool, Transitional K + KINDER too! 
ARE. YOU. READY?
Part Math. Part Engineering. PART ART!

STEM + Arts = STEAM at RainbowsWithinReach: Post-it note Geometry in Preschool

YES. FOLKS. 
This next portion of the brilliance is created using POST-IT-NOTES!
Just as I hoard collect fabric, 
I know that there are educators with drawers, bins and buckets of Post-its!
I know because I have seen your collections on Instagram!
LOOK HOW YOU CAN USE YOUR STASH!
QUILT SQUARES a la Post-its! 

STEM + Arts = STEAM at RainbowsWithinReach: Post-it note Geometry in Preschool

CHILDREN do the MATH and the ENGINEERING! 
One square folded in half becomes a rectangle. 
Two rectangles placed side by side, recreates the square: 
IN TWO COLORS! {Or not.}

STEM + Arts = STEAM at RainbowsWithinReach: Post-it note Geometry in Preschool

"You're Wonderful" is now a TEN YEAR OLD!
I have been traveling with my book for exactly ten years.
I have seen LOTS of brilliant 'quilt-making' ideas in a decade --
in response to my artwork.
I have LUV'd it all!

This is the first time to ever see the 
POST-IT Note Engineering Quilt Block Idea! 
If I could do a cartwheel, I would! 
Instead I got out my PomPoms and went bonkers!



STEM + Arts = STEAM at RainbowsWithinReach: Post-it note Geometry in Preschool

Even more amazing than the work itself? 
For once I know where to give the "credit" for the brilliance. 

Over our celebratory-pizza to conclude last week, I was still GUSHING over the post-it notes with the mastermind behind the entire residency week. 

Turns out that my Wisconsin-born Scott, library man turned Early Childhood Center director has been mentored by  
THE JUANITA COPLEY!

Nita has revised her NAEYC commissioned book, 

 








So NOW let's take a close-up look at a LOT of the 
other quilts from our week together! 

I can't believe that I don't have pictures of every single collaborative piece of art created.
My apologies to some of the teachers, whose directed work is not represented here. My camera batteries and my memory cards were not always cooperative.  

I do have quite a few images to share! 





















I have some EARLIER RoundUPs that are on the STEM Theme! 
{Just click the picture to go back in time to the earlier article.} 

Science Exploration in Early Childhood RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach
Science in the Early Childhood Classroom 

Making Math Meaningful: Building a Math Foundation
Making Math Meaningful in the Early Education Classroom 

photo of: Quilts in the Classroom: Art Meets Geometry RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach
Quilts in the Classroom: Q is for Quilt! Community Collaboration: Geometry Meets Art
AUTHENTIC Art versus Craftivity: Examples, Opinion and Insight at RainbowsWithinReach

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#TeacherFriends: Brain Breaks, GoNoodle & a SALE!


TUESDAY!!! TWITTER!!! #TeacherFriends! SWAG BAG!

Oh what fun we will have tonight at our Twitter Chat! 
We practice tweeting! 

We make new friends! 
We build our #PLN (Professional Learning Network)!!! 

Yes. It is like professional development -- only you can wear your pjs!
The whole chat gets archived so you can check out all of the links and ideas at your leisure over the days that follow. And let me tell you, there are ALWAYS links and ideas to explore from your new tweeps! 

PLUS THERE ARE PRIZES!!!


Look at all of the goodies in the #SwagBag tonight from GoNoodle! 
I know you want that goodness in your classroom!

Through out our 90 minutes of interaction, [we start first for "Early Birds" at 8:30 PM EST and then the actual chat gets underway at 9 PM] there will be a link to a GoogleDoc for you to enter. You only need to enter ONCE to be eligible for ALL of the prizes on the evening's docket. 

Since we're going to be chatting about #BrainBreaks
it is only fitting that I give away my zipped file that has three different songs, suitable for oxygenating those brains! 

I used the "Jumpin' Jamboree" in every single one of my 17 school Author/Illustrator presentations last week in Del Valley. 
Gold, I tell you! Solid GOLD! 


If you are not the #LuckyDuck winner of my zipped digital file during our chat, 
I have great news! 

You've probably already heard, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a BIG sale! 
The kind where you can save 28% by using the code: HEROES! 


720 × 90

You can get my picture books at 28% off! Truly the best deal on the internet! If you send me an email, I will be happy to sign and personalize the book(s) you select!

photo of: Three Picture Books by Debbie Clement of Rainbows Within Reach

Teachers. You are my heroes! I have that BUMPER STICKER! Be sure to use it {HEROES} at your TpT check out! 


Saturday, February 21, 2015

"It Takes a Village" Gratitude, Contribution + Reflection


GRATITUDE, Contribution and Reflection 

My heart is full. I sit at gate 10 at the Austin airport. My heart is full. Memories of my first-ever, successful week-long school residency fill me with a sense of contribution. My heart is full. A feeling of 'mission-work' fulfilled. My heart is full. 

Did I mention that my heart is full? 

What an amazing week has just transpired. I was transported into the middle of the Del Valle Independent School District. {Not to be confused with AISD.} I have just completed five days of singing and dancing and polka dots. In the process my spirit has been revived. 

The two individuals pictured above are DREAMERS. 

They are the brains, imagination and wheels behind my being able to contribute my polka-dotted enthusiasm to their day-to-day world. Half a country away. Seeds planted in an earlier decade come to fruition now. "What's it all about, Alfie?" Shazam! Bazinga! WOWZERS! 

For five days in a row Scottie and Julienne rearranged all of their regular responsibilities to integrate me into the fabric of their school district. Into the lives of the youngest children being served by the caring teachers in their schools. Children four years old, living in an officially labeled home-of-poverty, the vast majority of whom are learning the English language while living in the United States of America. 


For four days, I presented 17 programs to these children, crossing back and forth across the school district on a daily basis. I have about 27 words of Spanish, barely Sesame Street qualified for counting and a basic greeting. Fascinating. My heart is full. Polka-dots are apparently a universal language. So are jumping and clapping and smiling and hugging. My goodness what gifts these children gave to me: laughter unfiltered, complete attention and focus, unbridled joy. We played a LOT of follow the leader. We had a lot of fun. I learned a LOT!

My work is PERFECT for just such settings. My songs are simple. They repeat. Over and over and over and over. Parroting in simple phrases was our modus operendai. I would call out "clap your hands" and demonstrate doing so, they would respond in kind: in word and deed. Easy peasy. 

Music translates directly. Costumes and enthusiasm drive the fun home, regardless the language. Anticipation and surprises are fun in any tongue. So we went from program to program, building to building. Wind her up. Let 'er rip! Let the learning unfold! 

Then the funniest thing happened. We'll see if I can explain it here on a screen so that you understand both the significance and hilarity. 

Working with such YOUNG children, one of our unspoken goals was to help these littles 'connect-the-dots' as to the work of being an author, the value of writing.... that people that you meet can have the JOB of being a writer. Fairly esoteric bridges to build. GO! 



Every teacher in the preschool program received a copy of my first picture book, "You're Wonderful" for their room. They were given their copy during my Monday staff development day. Talk theory, share extension art examples, sing songs and leave with a concrete resource. A BOOK! MY BOOK! PERFECTO!

At each of my 17 author presentations, I introduced myself. "My name is Debbie Clement. Everyone say, Hi, Debbie Clement." A rousing chorus of "Hi, Debbie Clement." Then fourteen times we started with my floogle woogle bugle and "All Together Now." Perfect little three word phrases and following directions. One of my simplest of simple songs. Off to a fantastic start! 


All Together Now: A Shared Reading/Transition Song for Pri

Next. I pull out my copy of "You're Wonderful" from its zippered polka-dot hiding spot. They open their eyes from behind their shuttered fingers and VOILA! I say, this book is "You're Wonderful" written by Debbie Clement. 

Next question, just like clockwork: "Who is Debbie Clement?" 

Thirteen times the whole group gathered on the rug or linoleum would point to me and squeal, "YOU'RE DEBBIE CLEMENT!!!" Mission accomplished. I could continue, "I wrote the book! That makes ME the author!" My polka-dot ensemble resembles the book's cover and more connections are cemented between person and work. TA DA! LUV IT!

Then the fourteenth presentation. We sing, "All Together." Check. I bring out the polka-dot zippered bag, show them my copy of  "You're Wonderful" by Debbie Clement. I ask, "Who is Debbie Clement?" 

Dead silence. No connection to me what-so-ever. Complete silence. 

Startled. I pound my chest and say, "I'm Debbie Clement." 

The entire group of preschool children. In unison. Pound their chest and say, 
"I'M DEBBIE CLEMENT!"

So there is indeed a language gap. The teachers attempt to stifle their burst of laughter. I know that if I look at them, in my delirium and exhaustion I will join them in peals of laughter and lose it completely. I am caught in a conundrum I've never faced. 

I then say, "I AM DEBBIE CLEMENT!" 

You guessed it! The whole group of children as though in a choral presentation worthy of a Grammy, thunder, 
"I AM DEBBIE CLEMENT!"



It is our own preschool English language learning version of Abbot and Costello. In the end I point my finger at the audience of children and enthusiastically say,
"You are Debbie Clement!" 

Right on cue, they point at me and squeal,
"YOU ARE DEBBIE CLEMENT!"

I am relieved to 'be' Debbie Clement again. I am also completely aware of the chasm between us. They are smiling and willing and eager and enthusiastic and delighted and participating and bright eyed and truly and utterly without English. In America. My gears have been stripped. My heart is full. I am humbled several steps beyond humbled. What is below humbled?


Brain Breaks: 3 Active Songs for Movement and Dance

We carry on and I recruit captains for "Jumpin' Jamboree" and I'm so happy that jumping translates easily into following my lead. We are back on track, but the depth of the gap between us is forever cemented into my being and experience. I will reflect on this sliver of a moment every time I stand in front of another group of children. 

PRAISE REPORT #3

1. First and foremost. All praise and glory for having had this week's opportunity. All praise that, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." That was my verse for a very lengthy, intense week of contribution. My energy and spirit were strong for the marathon. It was my voice that was challenged the most..... but thanks to your prayers, Throatcoat hot tea and bags of cough drops, I was able to make it to the finish line. Hallelujah!



2. Traveling across country brings so many opportunities! My sweet blogging friend, Amy of "Teaching in Blue Jeans" fame, was kind enough to drive over to Austin to spend my Sunday with me a week ago. She is an amazing example of strength in action. In the year since we have last been together, she has lost over 105 pounds. Her weight loss journey has been documented in her blog, "I Can and So Can You." She is morphing into a personal coach on the issue of wellness and weight loss. We had so much fun together and split a piece of Cheesecake Factory yumminess to celebrate! {All good things in moderation.} I am so grateful for Amy's kindness and continued support!  

3. I have received an invitation FROM KOREA to star in a podcast series that is dedicated to authors.... the genius behind the series interviews authors, for the Korean audience of parents eager to TEACH THEIR CHILDREN ENGLISH! {Do you see a theme emerging here?} I think we have the time zone thing figured out and will go 'on air' a week from today! 

4. A new school visit in MI is now being orchestrated for spring. 

5. My annual return to Westerville, OH for my kinder-LUV-fest is now on the end of the year horizon schedule. Now into our second decade of annual visits! TY TY TY

6. Hubby located a dirt cheap flight to go visit our WonderPeeps in person in just a couple of weeks. Too many emotions to even contemplate this surprise development. 


7. Packages of my books have gone out to Utah and VA. 


8. The KINDERGARTEN teachers of Del Valle, TX think that it is only 'fair' to have a return engagement where we have some serious grown up fun together. 

9. People have ordered goodies from my Younque cosmetics page. 

10. People have ordered digital downloads from my TeachersPayTeachers store! 

The truth of the matter, is that my daughter's first official child-support check has NOT arrived as per the court ordered date of February the 20th. Our guess is that it takes a while to get processed and operational and into her hands for the very first time. On the other hand, she has diligently switched all of the household utilities into her name only and those bills are indeed arriving on a daily basis. Our prayer is that the system-of-receiving the court ordered funds will be as efficient as possible, in the depth of winter's expenses. Reality. 

Your continued prayers and expressions of support and concern mean the world to us in this time of need. Please continue to pray for our WonderPeeps as they begin to sort out what has happened. Due to the national holiday and so much snow, they only had 2/3's of one day of school this week and that continuity has been missed. Ever onward. 

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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