Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas--from Sunny San Diego

That's right y'all, I am in the beautiful California visiting my parents for the Holidays! I brought Bret with me...oh...serious! All we have been doing since we got here is eat...and eat some more. There is nothing like Daddy's home cooking. I was talking with Bret today and we talked about how he wasn't feeling quite like it was Christmas because there wasn't snow....well...after thinking about it, I have never had a Christmas with the snow. I proceeded to talk about how it doesn't matter whether you have rain, snow or beach-filled heat...Christmas is Christmas with family. I made Bret go and call his family so it felt more like Christmas to him....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Education system: Is our creativity suppressed?

The education system is suppressing our creativity. A bold statement? Maybe...but allow me to explain in the only way I can think how. Here is an example: My little brother, now 8 years old, just moved with my parents from Sierra Vista, Arizona to San Diego, California. A couple years ago, elementary schools in Arizona took out classes relating to P.E., music and art. I just found out that my brother is enrolled in a school where the teacher decides if they want to spend their time teaching any one of these subjects. So now, because most teachers were not trained to teach music or art, my brother’s education is limited to academics with no emphasis on the arts. In my opinion, without the arts, the voices that drive creative intellect are lost, because they are not being practiced!

Recalling my childhood, the fondest memories I have of school were not all related to the academic learning, but to the more ‘creative learning,’ which I am partial to. I remember my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Winfield. Perhaps considered a little unethical in her method of teaching, I felt that her teaching style is what directed me to love the language arts.

Ms. Winfield’s class was designed in such a way that the students had the opportunity to develop their own grades. By this, she gave lists of tasks we could do to get an ‘A’ in her class. These tasks included writing poetry, reading books and giving book reports, compiling an English journal, etc. She would teach us grammar, vocabulary, etc., and we would dissect the language of the classics. She gave us full poetic license that allowed us to write without feeling inhibited by the rules she taught of grammar or sentence structure. She would educate us on the proper way of writing after we finished our work, but would not doc points from our grade, unless there was a bizarre spelling mistake. She made me discover how much I loved to write…something I continue to love.

I had other teachers who were so particular about how we would write. During those class periods, I felt like I was being chained to a desk. I felt the creativity stop seeping out of my fingers, and my writing became dull and often void.

It wasn’t until my opinion writing class in college, that I actually enjoyed writing again. Nancy Williams, my college professor, would ask us to write 10 minutes during each class period non-stop. The trick to this method of writing was that we were not allowed to go back and correct spelling, restructure our sentences or edit anything in our text. We just had to write. The rest of the class was spent on editing our writing. This exercise allowed us to get that internal editor out of our heads-the internal editor that had been placed there in our youth that never allowed us to come up with some brilliant pieces of work.

I had a friend send me this link today that I am so excited to share! I borrowed this intro from the site: Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people.

Here is Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Things PR

Seeing that I love all things PR. I found this article very interesting. I tend to ignore the comments at the bottom (they just make me mad)....although, everyone is entitled to their own voice. This is mine!

Salt Lake Tribune Article

Is the Internet the New Mission Field for the Church

Essentially, the article is talking about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using social media as a way to spread the gospel. It is very interesting. In response to the blog posted by Nikki Tross, it looks like they are using this incredible medium to create real-life videos of real-life conversion stories. Taking from her blog, I just want to re-iterate the original message.

LDS Newsroom: Using Videos to Communicate a Message

For the sake of reader's who may not be of the same religious affiliation, I just want to say that faith is faith, regardless of what religion you are. Cling to it and proclaim it from the rooftops.
That is the best PR. It seems to be in my experience that a faith in something is better than a faith in nothing. For me, a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is best faith I can have!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I am grateful

There are so many things in my life that I am grateful for, but I wanted to mention a few that I have been thinking about this past holiday season. Though not in order of importance, I just wanted to take some time to ramble away!

There was a time in my life that I remember wanting to get away from my family, not because I didn’t love them…oh no…but rather that I wanted to explore my independence and garner experiences, so I could eventually go back to my parents and take pride in this new independent person. I am most grateful to my parents for ‘kicking me out’ of the house to find this independent person. Since then, I have graduated, worked my way up in the corporate world and love where I am. Since being ‘kicked out’, I have had the opportunity to live close to other family and now my sister and brother live close by! I will cherish this time forever! Now, I wish more than ever I could go back to the way it used to be….not being responsible….living with my parents…having them around constantly, because it is easier that way!

After college, I began working for The Summit Group, where I had a chance to ‘grow up.’ I am grateful for the people I worked with at TSG that helped me grow. Growing is sometimes a painful thing, but in the end, I loved how everything turned out. With that growth (very similar to moving out of the house) I felt that I had grown up a lot and needed to move on to bigger things! I am grateful to a new company (Two Little Hands Productions, producers of the TV and DVD series Signing Time!) full of great people that also see in me a potential to help grow their business!

Back in April, I was able to participate in an Easter Oratorio where we celebrated the life of Christ. An incredible performance by both the choir and the orchestra, I am grateful for music and the ability it has to ease my chaotic soul. I can’t say enough about how music has truly impacted my life. Though on a whole separate thought, I have also had the opportunity to go and listen to some amazing performers this year including: the cast of Wicked! (my heart melted…hah….so much I am going again), Tony Bennett (where I fell in love), Jewel (her yodeling is incredible), the Utah Jazz performers (PC Jazz festival), Def Leppard (only the greatest band ever. There were also performances by Styx and Foreigner), Diana Reeves (most amazing Jazz Diva), Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring the King Singers (Oh Holy Night….sigh*). I could go on….

Before fall had officially begun in Salt Lake City, there was an incredible lightning and rainstorm that made the power go out all around the city. Branches were falling everywhere and I felt like I was in the movie ‘Twister.’ That night after an institute class, I went out to my car and began to drive out of the parking lot. I realized that I was driving on none other than a flat tire….whoops. I am grateful to a guy named Lee (whom I haven’t seen since this tragic night) who braved the storm to help a woman in a white blouse and heels change a tire. I will never forget his kindness as he even drove with me to a gas station to fill up my tires with air and made some recommendation as to the repair of my tire and tires to come.

I am grateful for sunlight! Fall took a while getting to Salt Lake….and for that, I am grateful!! Missing the AZ!

If you had a chance to read my blog, you would have seen a story I published in March about ducks crossing the road. Back in March, I was going through a hard time in my life. I found that the world around me was harsh and mean and that people were rude and inconsiderate. Though I tried not to pattern my life around these harsh circumstances, I found that I started to walk around in a bubble. I no longer smiled at passers-by, I felt like Eeyore with a constant cloud over my head, but most importantly I stopped believing that people in the world were capable of kindness. One day, a man was waving at me to stop at an intersection where the light was green. I quickly slammed on my brakes not knowing why. Shortly after, a mother duck and her ducklings were able to cross the road to safety. I am grateful for the man that stopped traffic to allow the duck family to cross. He restored in me a faith that people are innately good! Because of my busy and hectic life (which really isn’t that busy), I had failed to see that I am truly surrounded by angels that are just trying to live their lives the best they know how, too.

I am grateful for the angels that I know on a more intimate level. I am grateful for friends who have supported me through hard times, who have cried with me, who have laughed with me, who have helped me grow up, but who still let me be a kid sometimes too. I will never forget the amazing friendships I have made and hold so close to my heart. I am making it a goal to stay reconnected with people who have truly contributed to my quilt of life (thanks for the phrase Sis. Lawver). My goal may seem silly, but is something I truly care about, as I hope to maintain these angels in my life….

Most importantly (and yes, ranked as number 1), I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate during this time of year. I know that He came to this world as the Son of a living God and that through His example we might know how to return to the presence of the Almighty. How wonderful it is to know that He lived His life, paid the ultimate price and lives again for all of us, so that we may have the opportunity to be happy for time and all eternity! How grateful I am to know that it is only through Jesus Christ, the healer, the lamb, our advocate, our Redeemer, our brother, and our Savior that we can all be truly happy!

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Regardless of where you are, I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate all of you! I am truly grateful to be able to share these thoughts with you as we conclude yet another wonderful year of our lives! May you be blessed in your lives.

God Bless...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Daugther inspires mother to create sign language videos

I work for a woman named Rachel Coleman, the mother of two exceptional children; Leah age 10 was born profoundly deaf and Lucy age 7 was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. In an effort to help others be able to communicate with Leah, Rachel and her sister created a video series (starring Leah, her daughter) called Signing Time that became this nationally recognized program dedicated to helping children of ALL abilities learn American Sign Language (ASL) through music, animation and fun. So many have benefited from the miracles of being able to communicate with their children at an early age.....Read more!

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