Category Archives: Community

the soil of appreciation

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”

Dalai Lama

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Filed under Art and Learning, Community, Misc, My Art

the power of listening

Simply put, there is nothing, nothing in the world, that can take the place of one person intentionally listening or speaking to another. —Jacob Needleman

Opening our Hearts to One Another

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Visual Expressions of Meaning

Last post, I shared a bit about the important difference between explanation and expression and some of my experiences with these differences. I also promised to share what happened when I invited students in my college classes to visually communicate the meaning of their learning experiences.   Here are a few amazing expressions of knowledge and insight.

Pam’s visual expression….. in her own words (condensed)

It’s name is the USS Contemplation.  Each mast contains a genre and the sails equate the outline of what I have learned during this quarter. 

The mirrors placed throughout the ship represent  ”reflections” of what we have learned.  A couple of the mirrors are placed so that individuals can see themselves.  This is to show that we have not only learned about giving speeches but have also learned things about ourselves.  I find myself  thinking and contemplating  that if the attitude of support, encouragement and kindness were displayed by the majority of people in our communities, in spite of our differences, just how much could be accomplished.  People finding common ground and working together, building each other up, helping each other, growing together for the good and betterment of everyone’s future.

Want to see more?>>>>> keep going….


Filed under Art and Learning, Community, Misc, Teaching

Today is more than just another day in your life…..


I’m happy to pass this along.

With many blessings.

By Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg,busic is by Gary Malkin and narration is from Brother David Steindl-Rast.


Filed under Art and Learning, Community

Earth and Fire Pottery

Horsehair Raku Vase by Eric Preston

I love artists who allow themselves to dive, dream, play,  listen, create, move to the edges – with joy and dogged determination. I love artists who keep doing what they love in spite of a million obstacles. Eric Preston is one such artists. Eric listens to clay, allowing it to speak it’s shape. He senses the future the clay is trying to express. He assists, midwifes, enables clay to be reborn in the shapes, lines, and colors it was meant to have.


See more of Eric’s assisted births here


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THE Right Way to Read –

Love this story by John McKnight about the right way to read.

More good stuff at “Abundant Community.”

Have you every felt your ideas, experiments, dreams sabotaged or undermined by the right way? Or by best practices? Or by we don’t do that here?


Filed under Community, Reading, Teaching


A Woman's Way of Knowing©

Just found this loving kindness meditation led by Sylvia Boorstein. I hope to practice this meditation everyday for the rest of my life. From the Being Blog.

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Be Good to Yourself – Be Your Own Best Friend

Patty Foote, a student in my public speaking course wrote the following essay in preparation for her ‘Persuasive’ Speech delivered to the member of her class (115 so1) at Southern State Community College in June 2011. Originally posted on the class blog. With Patty’s permission and my GREAT JOY, I’m re-posting it here.


I knew from the beginning of the quarter what I would want my persuasive speech to be, and now that I have gotten to know everyone somewhat and got a glimpse into your lives, I know this is the perfect choice for this audience – YOU!


As I have listened to all of you the past two months, I have no other message that I think is more important.  I have done a good deal of reflection since going back to school.  When I listened to your own stories and reflections, I can identify and connect with many of you.  Trust me, I have many more years of life experience than all of you and I have spent years of what you might call just surviving because I did not know my value, or I let someone else define it.  I am far from that road I was on and still traveling away from it.

I will discuss these points; I like to call them valuable thought lessons.

Thought lesson 1 – You are Important

Thought lesson 2 – You Deserve the Best in your Life

Thought lesson 3 – Learn from your Past

Thought lesson 4 – Be Good to Yourself, Be Your Own Best Friend

You are Important

There is only one you on this planet, Earth.  You have talents, gifts and ideas that no one else has or can offer to this world.  You are unique and no one can take your place.  Don’t let anyone in your present, your past or your future dictate who you are and where you are going.  The people that surround you will be better off because you are in their life.  You are Important. Remember that!

You Deserve the Best in your Life

The Best contains all your goals, your dreams and any star that you dare to reach out and grasp.  Don’t settle for less than what you wish for.  Write your goals and your dreams down and go after them.  If you don’t know what your goals are right now and are finding your way, that’s okay.  Just wait on it – it will come.  It’s okay to be uncertain.  Live everyday being confident in who you are.  Just live everyday the best you can.

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Filed under Community, Teaching

Sisterhood of the Traveling Journal

I wrote about the April 2011 collage workshop in my previous post.  What I didn’t say was what else happened during that workshop. Besides making creative collages and new friends, something else happened. A serindipidous self-organizing community grew from one artist frustration with shared journals. Once her story was told, several women in the room shouted out their commitment to shared journaling with “count me in!” That gave birth to  “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journal.” *

Here’s my first entry.

Want to join the sisterhood?

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Make Do, Do it Yourself or Do Without

Several years ago, I found a book in my attic. It was “The Man who Moved a Mountain” by Richard C. Davids  published in 1970.   I have no idea how it got there. I must have placed it there myself at some point although I have no recollection of doing so. Anyway, I read the book, or at least parts of it.  It’s a biography of Reverend Bob Childress of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. My mother was born in Virginia, near Haysi in an area she called Booger Bottom. I’ve always suspected she made up the part about being born in Booger Bottom but I can’t be sure.  I must say that the name she claims for her birthplace works in that it gets everyone’s attention (which is rather ingenious) and my mom always loved attention. She still does at age 86. So, I ask, why not make up a fascinating name for your birthplace? Booger Bottom is much more interesting than West Union, where I was born. Perhaps, I should rethink MY birthplace. Maybe I was born in Tranquility or maybe I was born in Sunshine (both real places just right up the road from me…..really!). I’ll keep working on this storyline…..

Back to the book. I actually don’t remember much about the specifics of Davids’ book with the exception of this one phrase  –  “Make do, do it yourself, or do without.” This phrase expressed either a “deficit” or a “quality” about mountain people depending on how one viewed a lifestyle.  But, when I first read those words,  I felt as though I better understood my family, my husband and my neighbors all of whom can claim hillbilly heritage. This heritage brought with it a way of living in which folks took pride in making do with what they had and, I might add, making do with a certain individual ‘flair” , an often unappreciated ingenuity.

Maybe this is why I love collage so much? Collage is about using what is at hand to make something new. Take a close up view of “A Community of Light” and you’ll see that I used very old quilt fabric donated from the fabric collection of a dear friend, neighbor and quilt maker, Mrs. Hughes.

But, it’s more than “using” what’s at hand, it’s believing that everything we need is right before us.  We don’t need more stuff, we just need to develop or trust our creativity and ingenuity and become aware of all that surrounds us.

Which brings me to what I want to read next. It’s a new, free pamphlet titled “How to be Ingenious”  from RSA. 

Here’s the first thing I notice in the pamphlet description: When in the face of constrained resources, some people demonstrate ingenuity; they are able to do unexpectedly more for less.

I know some of these people. I live among them here in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. So, besides reading this pamphlet, I think I’ll return to my roots. I’m going to call my mom, visit my neighbors and make a new collage out of things at hand.



Filed under Art and Learning, Community, My Art