Showing posts with label passion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label passion. Show all posts

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Different Art Classes



Jenna has so many interests.  She enjoys dancing, singing, telling stories, arts & crafts, drawing pictures, coloring . . .




Butterfly on a sunflower
my Mothers’ Day gift this year


         When I was younger, my mom had me enrolled in dance lessons, piano lessons, swim lessons . . . I wanted that for Jenna.  But we could never seem to afford much.

         I did find an inexpensive dance class and tumbling class through the school district.  She saw it as an opportunity to socialize and didn’t take her dance seriously but did enjoy the tumbling part. 

         I had her in an inferior swim class.  She learned more about swimming when she was only a year old and the two of us took a class together.  I had also enrolled her in a theatre class as I figured there was dancing and singing and I didn’t expect that theatre would go overboard with expensive costumes as many dance classes do.

Both my cousin Michelle and my sister-in-law Sunny have offered Art classes and children’s workshops for several years.  I don’t know that I paid much attention except for the past five years.  We couldn’t even afford those – but this year they both had some good deals. 

The first class I took her to was located at an art studio downtown.  Michelle introduced her class to self-portraits. She told each child to lie in a position that represented his or her personality.  

Jenna chose a position that represented jumping.  She placed her feet one behind the other and held her hands in the air.  Her head was facing forward when I drew her.  Her body appeared much thinner than she actually is and there wasn’t a line to separate her feet.



On the first day the child painted their hair and skin parts.  Some started on the face, but not many.  I can’t remember if Jenna started her shirt that first or second day.  She decided to make her head face the side instead of the front.  What she had painted to be hair become mud “that had hit her in the face – and her arms had been up to stop it.” Okay, whatever.

Michelle helped Jenna with her face.  I think the reason that Jenna made her face on the side was so she would only have to do one eye.

On the third day the children added yarn to the hair in their paintings.  Jenna’s few hair strands were the same exact color as the paint.  The next day Michelle reminded the kids that all the strands of hair in their actual heads were not the same color and suggested they use yarns of different tones – which Jenna did.  Her head hair actually does look all of one color to me.  Some hairs may be darker.  I haven’t noticed any highlights.

Michelle also encouraged students to find pictures or decorations that might match their personalities.  Jenna – who felt she had messed up on the green shirt she had been wearing the first day – decided that she would turn her green shirt into a camouflage shirt.  She hadn’t quite grasped the collage thing that Michelle had mentioned and stuck to her camouflage theme gluing leaves and mossy looking yarn. 




I asked her what the camouflage had to do with her personality.  She said she would like to be and is interested in chameleons.  That is true.  But she has much stronger interests.  If I had been successful in explaining what Michelle had suggested, her collage may have come across more like this:

Instead she changed her self-portrait again.  The pointed foot on top of the flat foot made it appear as though she had a really big toe in comparison to the rest.  Michelle suggested that she retrace her other leg.  When I had traced Jenna, she was barefoot; when Michelle traced her, she had a shoe on. 

It worked.  One shoe off, one shoe one.  That fits her personality.  And the two shades of blue make it look more like pants and her size rather than the skinny deformity that I had pathetically traced.  


The children also painted plaster molds that the instructors had made of each of their hands.  Jenna and the youngest girl were the only two in the class who had their palms up.  Everybody else had them down.  I am happy that Jenna had hers different from the norm.

Michelle took pictures of all of her students next to their art work (plaster hands excluded as most were still drying).  Jenna did not have her hair in pigtails the first day.  She really had been wearing a green top and denim shorts that first day.  Her pose is still different from her self-portrait and definitely different from what I had traced.



         I wasn’t looking forward to taking her cardboard self home on the train and bus.  I had brought two large plastic bags so as pieces didn’t fall off along the way.  But as it turned out I didn’t have the opportunity to take it home that day.  The entire class will have their portraits on display in the Kindred Spirit Exhibit at Art Access July 18 – Aug 8. 

         Jenna’s second class was the following week.  Sunny gave Jenna some personal instruction as we were often early and had each child paint a picture of a photo or other small picture they had that they wished to be on canvas.

         Sunny’s method of teaching is so different from Michelle’s.  She taught the children that they could create backgrounds and eyes with different strokes and different brushes.  They painted around the table whereas most of Michelle’s class time was spent on the floor (or standing up)

         Sunny likes crafts and Jenna LOVES crafts.  When the children were through painting and waiting for the final touches to dry, Sunny had another surprise for them (which had nothing to do with their paintings) Each child got to make something out of pipe cleaners and beads.  Jenna made two ladybugs:


And this was her final project from Sunny’s class:



We had the painting when we boarded the bus.  We had it when we arrived in Kearns to watch my niece and nephew.  We left the painting at Kayla’s house when we took the bus home, as I didn’t wish to carry it in the rain.  It’s still at Kayla’s because we forgot to get it when we had gone out yesterday and actually had a car. 

Roland has not yet seen either painting.

I feel so blessed to have diversity and to be able to expose Jenna to different methods and styles.  She had fun in both classes.  Thank you Sunny and Michelle! 

                 


                       

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Posts that Inspire



          Recently I was googling Individual Worth in search for a proper definition to use in one of my posts.  As I went searching I pulled up a few blog sites with inspiring stories which I would like to share and reference.

          I came across an object lesson given by Stephanie Waite in which she laid out various belongings on a table and asked her class what each object was worth and what made them valuable.  Some of the objects were perhaps expensive things and some objects may have been more valuable to one than to another.  But the particular object that may have seemed worthless to most individuals was probably the most valuable thing on the table in the eyes of its initial owner.

          It actually reminded me of an object that is close to Jenna – a stuffed dog she’s had since she was 6 months old – though the toy itself looks like he’s been around much longer than she has. It’s been restuffed twice and has had matted hair cut off – never to grow back again.  But Jenna loves it.  It’s her baby.  It’s her lifelong friend.

          Recently she allowed her cousin to “borrow” it – a huge sacrifice on her part.  But Kayla (my sister) was not all that thrilled about inviting Jenna’s beat up toy (which really is clean – but appears to be unkempt) into her house and chose to leave it in the trunk of her car.

          What makes something or someone valuable?  Love?  The kind of love that makes you valuable no matter what.  No matter how beaten or ratty (inside or out)  I loved her post.  I loved her explanation.  And you can read the full post here

          Stephanie’s last post referred me to another blog.  I read a post that could fall into the category of Choice and Accountability.  What a tough decision to be made – and yet what remarkable faith and strength that would help so many others.

          Collin Presley had health problems from the time he was born.  He outlived his disease by twelve years (from my understanding) but died shortly after a new medication was given. 

          Their first thought was to sue the doctor.  Collin still had life with the old medication.  Surely someone had to blamed for Collin’s death – but an autopsy would have to be preformed to provide proof.  Doing an autopsy would upset the organs which the family wanted to donate to those who were still fighting the fight.  A battle with attorneys would have been so costly.  It wouldn’t bring Collin back.  On the flip side his organs could be donated and bring life to others.  That was the choice they faced.  You can read more of their story in this post though I recommend venturing even further with prior posts

          Katy Pluim amazes me with her short sweet posts as she deals with having only one arm.  I am so impressed with the things that she has taught herself that I struggle with having two arms.  She is a beautiful person with a husband and a three year old (almost three) daughter.  Here is one of her earlier posts on dealing.

Unfortunately I did not copy the reference for this next story.  I tried going back to my initial research and to Google–ing with the given subject, but more sites were brought up than I cared to wade through.  My apologies to the blogger (though there are many more resources for this particular story:

“More than one hour after the gold-medal athlete had crossed the finish line during the marathon in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzamia entered the stadium.  Only a few spectators remained as the lone runner appeared.  The athlete’s leg was injured and bleeding.  He was dehydrated and confuse.  As he crossed the finish line, the small crowd cheered in appreciation for what would become one of the most famous last-place finishes in history. But it wasn’t the runner’s performance that caught their attention – and the attention of thousands more during the almost five decades since.  It was his desire to finish the race, to endure to the end.  After the event in 1968, a reporter asked the runner why he had not quit the race since he had no chance of winning. The Tanzanian athlete was confused.  “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race,” he replied.  “They sent me to finish”

I actually shared this next story in Relief Society when the instructor asked the class for comments about Integrity.  What goes around comes around.  I think this is a really great example.

And finally one idea to teach in classrooms – though children are more accepting and perhaps this ought to be applied to all adults as well  Stop the bullying already. We are all different.  Embrace the differences.   

          How great it is to have so many great insights and so many who support one another through their blogs and create ideas and share.  Thank you!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Like a Fly to Cowpie



That’s how she described her passion for family history: “like a fly to cowpie”.  She had been raised on a dairy farm – it was a natural analogy – though I could think of better ones: “a duck to water” “a monkey on a cupcake” or Roland’s favorite: “like Godzilla on Tokyo”

        I don’t even have a passion for genealogy or family research (from an earlierpostbut wouldn’t have compared it to manure.  Family History is a good thing and works for a lot of people.  And there are many aspects of family history that I do enjoy – but research is a far cry from being one of them.

          It’s not just family history that gets her fired up.  I believe that it is everything that comes her way.  She greets it with her heart which shines in her smile.  I think she may have an even bigger love for life than my sister-in-law, Sunny, whom I truly admire. 



Sunny teaches pre-school.  Parents put their children on waiting lists and feel very honored when they get in.  Sunny is awesome at introducing children to their first steps to life.  May her students always remember her enthusiasm. I wish I had even just one ounce of that passion.

          In addition to the family history class, Hannah also has a calling as the enrichment leader.  She is so prepared and so excited and gets to know the sisters and invites them in and makes them feel welcome.  I think there have been some major awesome turn outs since she’s been put in. 

          Hannah and Sunny.  Share the joy.  You can’t help but smile along with them.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hidden Talents

We all have gifts and talents that are perhaps unique to other people, perhaps the same, perhaps what sets us apart. Some talents just seem to come naturally while others are mastered or simply given up on.  Unfortunately some talents go unrecognized or are lost due to lack of sharing.

          Jenna is really great with math.  I pushed her into believing that it is awesome so that she might understand it on her own.  She starts third grade next year and I’m thinking it may become too complex for my brain.

          Math is something I didn’t figure I would ever ask her brothers to assistance for. Math is just NOT their forte.  Actually I am more confident in my own math skills than I would ever be in Biff’s.  His talent lies within animal charmer and puzzle awareness.

          Lately Jenna’s math homework has consisted with fractions.  The example showed the shape being broken into other shapes (ex. A hexagon divided into 6 triangles) The first two problems showed two shapes – the first was two to six times bigger than the second shape – the fraction.  Jenna drew lines over the first shape to make shapes equal to the second (ex – 2 triangles in a square).  The first two problems had shapes that could be drawn into the first shape in equal amounts.  It was the two shapes on the third problem which threw both of us off.


          As I was trying to find the second shape (diamond/rhombus) inside of the first shape (a trapezoid) I just wasn’t getting it.  Biff came into the room and I handed him the paper and asked him to figure it – knowing full well that he would have it within seconds – which he did.  Oh, so obvious.  A diamond and triangle made up the trapezoid – or three triangles.  The second shape was 1/3 of the first shape.  Certainly we would have gotten it eventually – but not near as quickly as he did.  How awesome is that?

          We had discovered Biff’s “hidden” talent the day that Jenna brought home a puzzle ball – which she broke apart before I could even look at it.  Roland and I struggled with the six pieces trying to turn it back into a ball while Biff had put it together three times in less than one minute (while Jenna enthusiacally broke it apart each time and eagerly watching Biff put it back together again)

          Jenna has been able to draw and cut out perfect looking hearts since she was three. I still have a hard time with hearts – unless I am tracing a heart shaped box or template.  Drawing and cutting are not talents that I possess.  I have always admired those that draw well and those who continue to make it a talent.  I think all of my family members draw well.  My brother’s wife and children also have artistic talent.

          And then there’s the talent of making friends – having others drawn to you out of respect or pleasure.  This is a talent that seems to come naturally for my husband, my sister-in-law and youngest son.  Others struggle with trying to make new friends or socialize at all.  But it is a talent that can be developed.

             There’s the talent of being able to recognize and utilize the talents of others.  One of the best examples of someone who possessed the talent of being able to recognize and utilize the talents of others was Roger Bushell, who was a flight lieutenant with the 601 Squadron in the British military.



          Roger had many talents – academically, athletic, his passion for flying and a talent for defending the accused. When he was sent to an “escape proof” prison camp in November 1942.  His master mind is what inspired the movie, “The Great Escape” which included many details that were actually used among the prisoners under his direction.

          He was able to scout out and utilize the talents of every single prisoner – even those who claimed they wanted nothing to do with his plan.  Some (such as the character “Hilts”, a prisoner portrayed by Steve McQueen) were certain they could escape without the assistance or aide or the other 300 – 600 who planned to escape out the tunnel.  Bushell also used that to his advantage explaining that if the soldiers kept their focus on the “Hilts” of the camp, they may not notice the teamwork taking place into digging and building the tunnels among other things.

          It’s important for each of us to share our talents with others.  To give and take and learn from and appreciate one another. I hope one day to recognize and utilize others’ talents as did Bushell.  What a marvelous gift!
         

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fading Photographs


Today I was looking through some old albums and boxes of photographs.  I remember getting on my mom’s case for having so many pictures in a box and not in an album.  I have come to learn that the box is actually better – or was rather.
Remember the magnetic albums that came out in the 70’s?  All that was required was lifting the plastic and setting the photo on page and presto – it was there for life.  Who knew that just twenty years later we would be scolded for ever having considered ruining our photographs by placing them on pages chalk full of acid.  We might as well have put our photos through a shredder.
I would say that at least 70% of the pictures could be thrown away.  If not ruined by acid, they just really had no business making it to the album in the first place.  But mom could never bring herself to throw such items away, no matter how blurred or butchered the picture itself turned out. 
And by butchered, I mean like the photographer was really meaning to take a picture of the background but somebody’s head got in the way, or others where the entire head didn’t quite make it into the photograph.  And if she couldn’t completely identify them then, why the heck is she hanging onto them over 40 years later?


If nothing else, it is important to write down the name(s) and date of the picture.
I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but I would love the opportunity to organize and to scan some of the better photographs to help preserve their lives for a little bit longer. 
Across from my mom's house live our good friends Peggy and George Bird.  Our families have been friends for generations.  We were surprised to learn it had gone back even further than Peggy and mom
One day (this example is from quite a while ago; before the magnetic albums perhaps) while my mom had gone across the street to visit Peggy, she noticed several photographs strewn all over the kitchen table.  Peggy had wanted to make a special gift for George which would include pictures of his lineage (George and Peggy's mother are heavy into genealogy.  Peggy shares the same exact passion as I do - which makes it hard among family history enthusiasts)

My mom said she had picked up one of the photographs and made a comment (referring to the background) that we had one similar to it - except with different people. Peggy said the man in the photograph was George's father, but they had no idea who the little boy was.  Turns out that he was my dad's uncle.
George's father had a best friend named James.  The photograph we had was of my great uncle James and my grandmother, Helen.  My mom had been told that the little girl in the photo was my grandma Helen - but didn't know who the man was that held her. 
George seems to know more about that side of my family than I do.  So my non-biological neighbor (who I do view as a second father) became a source of information for me, and has actually given me photographs.  Isn't that interesting?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sisters




          This post is dedicated to my sister, Kayla and our sister-in-law, Sunny.

          Kayla has always been the strong silent type – both physically and spiritually.  She has always had tremendous faith.  She is a survivor.

          When she was younger she could detect the slightest movement of a wrapper being pulled away from a food item (usually something unhealthy like ding dongs or cupcakes or m&ms) She wouldn’t even be in the house, but in the neighborhood.  Unwrap that piece of candy, and she would appear through the door.  But it had to be real.  We could never get her to come simply by crinkling cellophane or foil

          She would say to my mom, “Can I have a piece of gum?” (or whatever)

          Mom, truly forgetting there really was such an item in the house, would come back at her, “I don’t think we have any”

          And Kayla would always know.  “Yes we do.  It is in the third bag pushed against the wall in the cupboard under the microwave”

          Sure enough it would be there.

          Kayla had a problem understanding prepositions.  Written directions would confuse her.  Mom had taken her to a therapist and spent a tremendous amount of time with her going over her homework, trying to help her to understand.

          Kayla had a huge following of friends.  They called and knocked at the door at all hours.  It got to the point where my mom had to physically remove Kayla from our house and environment.  They went to a nearby drive-in to have breakfast and stayed for hours while they studied.

          We used to call her Kaylarella as we would often ask her to fulfill tasks that involved cleaning or serving.  And she enjoyed it.  I looked at it as taking advantage of her naïve willingness.  She looked at it as an opportunity to serve and felt connected. Wow.

Kayla and I are thirteen years apart.  She was the last one of my mom’s four children to receive her driver’s license.  Not so much just because she was the youngest.  It just became a really hard task for her to conquer.  Driving was a worldly thing.  And her mind just wasn’t on the world.  That’s what I liked to believe.  Don’t know that it gave any comfort to her that I thought that way.

She was diligent.  She took at least three different classes – with each she would take the driver’s test at least three times – never passing.  Never earning her driver’s license.  It wasn’t until after I got married to Roland that he took her out and created a new confidence.  She finally had a driver’s license after she turned 27.

Kayla didn’t do a lot of heavy dating as I recall.  And just as with me, Kayla also married late in life – though not quite as late. She just gave birth to her second child, a boy named after my father.  There first was a girl she had named after Bill’s first wife.

Our sister-in-law should start a Blog.  Most everything that falls from her mouth seems so profound and full of wisdom.  I admire her and her sense of being.  She is such a positive person to be around and so full of hope and comfort.  I have always thought that after she joined our family. 

          The older she gets the wiser and more profound her thoughts sound. She’s not a butt-in-ski.  She’ll hold her tongue unless you ask for her advice.  She is such an awesome person. Everyone deserves to have that awesomeness in their lives.  I am so grateful for her – though I don’t always show it.

          Sunny embraces life and has taught her four children to do the same – or has tried to.  None seem as extroverted as she is.
          Sunny always invites enthusiasm and shares her joy with other.  She points out beautiful things to others. Perhaps I have her on a pedestal – but I am NOT the only one.  She really is a great asset to our family.

          I am so grateful for each of my sisters.  I love them both and value the friendships that we have established.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I just DON’T have a passion for family history

          When I was twelve I took a family history class – only it wasn’t actually called Family History.  At that time it was referred to a genealogy. (Boring name; must be why they changed it) I was the only youth in the class.  The instructor was early 40s – possibly late 30s.  The rest of the class members were all over the age of 50.
Things were done on legal size paper.  There were Xerox machines (photocopiers) and pens.  No PAF, Ancestry.com, Google, etc.  I would imagine doing family research is so much easier now than back then.

My instructor had been raised in a foster care system and had always had a strong sense of getting to know and understand her family.  It was a very long process.
I understand why family history is so important to her.  To have a connection.  And when she did find connections, the discoveries were great.  As an adult she learned that she had a sister who had chosen the same profession and was married to a husband who served in law enforcement just as my instructors husband had.  And I enjoyed hearing her stories.

I enjoy hearing stories of my own youth.  Or those of my ancestors.  But after a while they are just names.  I don’t know if I am seriously related to these people or not.  I don’t like family research.  In fact, I loathe it.  It’s just not important to me to know where I came from or how my ancestors were treated or how they treated others. 
Even when names and stories are given to me and they become more than names or stories but actual people I have read about in books – I still don’t know the accuracy of our relationship.  So what if we’re related? So what if we’re not?  I just don’t care.

That’s not to say I don’t credit other people with finding their ancestors.  Spending countless hours searching for some sort of a clue.  All the more power to them.  If that it truly what they love and want to do, let them do it.  Kudos to their desire and passion.  Bravo.  It’s just really NOT my thing.

For years and years our family could be traced to William Button’s mother, Eliza Tate – a very unattractive woman.  Legend was that she sang opera with her three sisters who were in favor of aborting her baby.  Upon hearing their plans, Eliza had run away.
 Eliza had William out of wedlock.  Now that had bothered me.  Wouldn’t a child out of wedlock have the same name as its mother if dad was not even in the picture?  I don’t know.  As a twelve year old I accepted all information as being accurate and complete. 

Recently I was told by a cousin that the information that we have had for all these years is inaccurate.  There are no records of any Eliza Tates being born in that particular town (or village or city or whatever) or approximate year.  The woman supposedly never existed.  So who is it really that appears in the photograph?  And where did the photograph even come from.


My cousin got in touch with another cousin – a very distant cousin to the both of us.  Her records indicate that Williams mother (who had him out of wedlock) was Jane Button.  Okay.  She had him out of wedlock and had given him her name. I accept that.  But does my approval really make it fact or fiction?  How do I know?

I do enjoy the stories I’ve read about my great-great (how many generations?) grandfather.  He sounds like quite a personable man who loved his family – and though he had his feelings hurt for whatever reason – seemed to resolve them.  But they’re all second hand stories.  I still don’t know what is true and what is not.  And it really doesn’t matter.

All of my ancestors were part of the human race.  None was perfect – though each of them may have strived to live up to the good family name, parents’ expectations, the community’s belief, or whatever.  All have had struggles – whether with an occupation or family member, day to day routines, diseases.  And then there have been black sheep and orphans – raised as orphans and yet they were produced biologically.  And I’m sure they can be found by one who has the passion to find them.  I don’t have the passion. 

My ancestors most likely experienced pain and sorrow, laughter and joy.  There was wealth and poverty.  They endured their fair share of trials.  They were part of the human race.

I do keep histories and scrapbook for my own generation.  Does that count? My passion lies with the future – though I do enjoy stories from the past and can learn from them.  The past is not where my passion lies.

I am grateful to all of those who have the passion and for the enthusiasm one experiences with discovery and sharing.  I am grateful to those who are willing to accept my choices for not pressing forward with my own family research.  And for understanding that the passion is just not there.