Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Look What Santa (I mean James and Kyle) Brought Me for Christmas!

My Christmas present from James and Kyle this year is pretty great.  They gave me a website! Now it's not finished.  In fact, it's just getting started, but there is a link to my blog and a link to their website for Homebase Studios. AND it reflects the name we officially have from the Secretary of State, YoungLab Incorporated. I'm grateful, to say the very least.  Thanks so much guys.  It was such a great surprise!  It's going to be fun to watch it evolve as we get closer and closer to opening the business.  Check it out!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Love and Semester Update

This has been another wonderful Christmas.  We spent yesterday at my sister's house because Jenny and her husband, Sam, are excellent cooks! They really love to spend time in the kitchen and it shows in everything they create.  I've been working on them a little, trying to convince them to come up and teach a class when we get the cooking classes going at YoungLab. :)

We've also been spending holidays at their house because with our newest addition to the family, Gaius, it's just easier to have everyone go there. Have I mentioned how cute my nephew is?  I know this is more of a professional blog, but the love I feel for that little boy knows no bounds! Here's a little proof.

After changing diapers, giving bottles, and rocking him to sleep, I was feeling pretty amazing. I thought of myself as a big time care giver. Then it hit me! With the help of many people, James and I are creating a place where, in addition to opportunities to learn all kinds of things, I can give people (big and little) lots of love, care, encouragement and support.  I'm really excited about this because I know how much we all need it and I feel like I have so much to give.

My dream is to teach the pre-school classes during the day and an evening, adult, art history class one night each week.  I really can't wait. We'll bring in people to teach and lead classes in other areas, but I'll probably be around for all of the classes, especially during the first five years (and maybe longer). That's just how it goes when you start a business. Plus, one of the perks will be that I can learn from others too!

Luckily, every step along the way is just as exciting as what we will be doing.  Here's what I envision for the preschool classes: singing, playing instruments, story time, garden time, snack time (made from produce we'll pick from the garden) and art time...and lots of laughter!  Everything will be centered around creativity and encouragement.  It's going to be a magical place for kids.

I'll write more about the after school programs for kids and the adult night classes later, but I'm just as thrilled to share what I've been learning at school with the big kids too.  Oh and speaking of my own education, I made a 4.0 this semester! Yeah!!! I don't know if I've ever made a 4.0 so I'm really glad that I got that experience sometime before I graduated.  I only have one more semester of class and then I'll write my thesis.  My 22 year stint in college is coming to an end. I can't believe it! Ha! But that's another reason for establishing a place for learning.  I won't ever stop thirsting for knowledge and new experiences!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse Magic and YoungLab Inc.

One of the great things about staying up late, studying, tonight is that there is a lunar eclipse!  I doubt I'll be able to take a picture of it with my iPhone, but I'll give it a shot and post it here when I come back inside.

Not Bad For An iPhone Picture!

Yesterday Romy told me that one of her friends said you should write down your wishes on the day of a new moon.  Well, we're going to have a full moon tomorrow night (now tonight) so I'm going to just go ahead and write my wishes here.  I wish for continued momentum with our project in the Paseo. It's going so well.  I also wish for contentment, peace and even more love so that I will have more to give.

Speaking of continued momentum...

The magazine that called us for an interview called again today to set up a time for taking pictures! I'm so excited about this because more people will know what we're wanting to do.  We can use all of the support and encouragement we can get!  The magazine is OKCBiz and our story should be in their February issue so be looking for it!

Oh and one more thing! We printed off and filled out the application to form a nonprofit tonight.  We just need one more signature and we'll send it in.  Because the domain name "The Young School" was already taken, we have finally settled on "YoungLab Inc."  I like it very much and am excited that it's all coming together.

We are really moving now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Today has been pretty awesome.  I haven't exactly been sleeping much because I had two large papers due this week, but those bad boys are finished and turned in! Yay! Add in the fact that I slept late (reaaaallly late) and that the painters primed the brick walls at the building and you've got yourself a recipe for a happy me!

My phone camera wasn't working today but the Hipstamatic app was so I took images of the progress that way! So, so excited!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Story #4 - Homebase Studios

Yay! Here's our fourth webisode, "Story #4 - Homebase Studios."

It's a little peak into the mind and life of my partner James Varnum and his partner in Homebase Studios, K. Edward Van Osdol.  These two men are the creators of all film and video components that will be featured on this blog.  They are just getting their start but have already done so much! Just last month they created all of the artist videos for the Paseo Arts Association's Oklahoma Artists Awards.  It was a great night and I was so proud of what they did.   They also did a commercial for the Democrat Party right before our last governor's race.  

James went to USC for architecture and film and met Kyle (K Edward) at the Oklahoma Arts Institute a long time ago when they were both there to study film.  

Take a look at this short story.  I think it will help people to more fully understand what we want to do at our building when we open up and get going!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finals and More Good News

Well, it's almost finals week at OU so I'm home on a Friday night, reading and writing papers.  I have a great image to work on for my Studies in American Art class. The painting is owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art and I'm definitely not reproducing it here for any monetary gain, so I hope it's ok to do so.

William Sidney Mount, The Power of Music, 1847, Oil on Canvas, The Cleveland Museum of Art

As you can see, this antebellum painting by William Sidney Mount instantly conjures up issues of race relations.  For a while, this image was thought of as a very sympathetic portrayal of an African American man because he reveals a quiet dignity and his front facing placement within the foreground confronts and challenges the viewer to identify with him as an outsider. In addition, the lines created by the bodies of all four characters seem to connect and establish a harmony amongst them.  The power of the music draws them all together.

However, all of my research points to the conclusion that anyone who views the work solely in this way projects their own post-civil rights movement understanding upon a multivalent image painted in a very different time.  Mr. Mount lived in New York, and while a reductionist viewpoint would encourage one to assume a northerner would have a more progressive view of slavery, he did not side with the abolitionist movement until the Civil War began. In fact, he called Lincoln's Republicans, "Lincoln-poops."

But isn't it the ambiguity that can be so interesting? Isn't it in the working out of these questions and issues that we learn and grow?  And isn't that the point?

Everyone in this class was allowed to chose their own imagine months ago and we have been writing about it since then. I imagine that I was drawn to this work because even before I did my research, I knew there would be plenty to discuss in relation to the included themes.  Music is my first love and I believe in the equality of all people so this seemed like a no brian-er.  However, as I study and research, I find one door after another that I would like to open (and read) in order to have a more complete idea of the context within which this piece was painted. Studying is fun but eventually you have to complete your project!

So It's back to writing.  I just knew this would be a good exercise to help me get back in the grove.  Plus it's fun to share!

One last, very important thing - Yesterday, James and I were interviewed by a local business magazine about our project and the publication will be taking pictures sometime in the next few days.  I'm really excited about it! They contacted us after hearing about what we're doing and I'm so grateful.  I'll announce the magazine's name soon. I just want to make sure I'm being as respectful as possible by not giving it away just yet...but soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Great News!

We received the structural report last week and James has met with a framer and the engineers to go over plans, so we're very close to submitting for our permit!!! Yay!!!!! If all goes according to plans, we could hopefully have our permit around the beginning of the year and get this party started! (Ok, enough with the exclamation marks, but I'm just so excited about progress.)

This past year has been full of growth and learning.  James and I have hit our stride in communication and conflict resolution.  I'm proud of him and the work that he's been doing.  Because of him, we have found the property, saved it from being torn down, applied and received approval for the national tax credit, applied and received approval from the Historic Preservation commission for our paint, doors, windows with insulated glass,  and recycled material shingles.  The last two are huge because that doesn't usually happen, but James never gave up! We've gotten the historically accurate windows ordered and they are very close to being finished. (Watch for a future "story" with people from Wewoka Window Works. It's going to be good! The people there are awesome.)

We will now also have our building permit thanks to James.  This is the work he's supposed to do according to our agreement, but you never really know what kind of partner you're going to get until you get into the thick of the work and I can safely say that I'm a very lucky person to have him as a partner and a friend.  There are many things we've accomplished together and I'm grateful for our synergy.  We've overcome struggles and challenges and have become even better friends in the process. In our discussions, we've talked about how easy it is to be overwhelmed by what we see ahead, but we help each other to remember that we just need to take it one day at a time, one task at a time and we'll climb that mountain together.

I'm so grateful and I can't wait to see the building become the physical manifestation of so many months of paperwork, applications, hard work, plans and dreams.  Take a look at it because it's not going to look like this for long!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. Does anyone have formatting issues when they see the videos within the blog? I'm seeing it when I log on and need to fix it if it's a universal problem and not just mine.

2. Watching the videos we've been making and posting here are helping me to realize that I need to hit it a little harder with my workouts.  I'm going to actually check into yoga this week too.  I am! I am! I am! (That was for my benefit.  Positive intention.)

3. I got a lot accomplished in the study/clean/alone time areas yesterday and I'm grateful, but I felt a bit lonely.  It's silly how I get that way even when the sequestering is self-imposed.  I think it just has to do with the fact that I loved being with my family for Thanksgiving and when we're all together, I feel most at peace.  I miss those folks and it takes a little getting used to when we say goodbye.  I'm sure that makes me a lucky girl because it means we love each other so much. Plus, I know that I'm not going to have time over the next two and 1/2 weeks to even think about it.  School is going to dominate my life! But I'm looking forward to all that I'm going to learn and I'm grateful for the preparation that's already taken place since the beginning of the semester.

My professors are top notch.  I won't go into it too much because I don't want it to seem like I'm kissing up.  That would actually negate the quality of my work anyway.  It's just that I've learned so much and I couldn't be more thankful.  I have so far still to go, but I've noticed that the professors in the Art History department are the best kind of teachers. They incorporate a lot of what I heard at the Creativity World Forum last week.  The patiently encourage, give the resources needed, reward growth and give us the space we need to have our own ideas and work them out.  I'm thinking of a few professors in particular, but I'll wait until I graduate to list them by name.  I think that would be the most ethical thing to do.  

I watch, observe, listen and take away the most successful strategies these professors use on us and store them away in my mind and heart so that I can use them myself when I have the honor of teaching again in the future! I can't wait! The school/community center is going to be a place where I can practice all of those techniques and I am so excited to have that opportunity.

4. While I was cleaning a little this morning (because for some reason I always have to clean a little before I can write papers) I had the tv on and I could hear a sermon from one of the Methodist churches.  It was interesting because the main point of the talk was about how heavy anger can be and that we have to let it go in order to lighten our own load.  I wondered if I was carrying any anger towards anyone and really searched myself to see if I was.  The truth is, I don't really struggle with anger so much, but resentment seems to be a close cousin to that emotion and I know that I have some in me. So today, I'm going to work on letting that go.  I am focusing back on being complete in my own heart and depending on the love that I know is flowing my way from God and those around me. 

But for now, I'm going to get something yummy to eat for lunch.  Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Much to Be Thankful For and Story #3: Meals and Music!

It's Thanksgiving day so I'm not only typing this while experiencing a food overdose, but I'm also sitting on the floor listening to a few different conversations going on amongst my family members.  The topics range from my sweet new nephew, Gaius, to the new iPhone update that apparently removes all your pictures and music. (You have to plug the phone back in after the update and load the images and music back on.  Just FYI in case this can be of any help.)

We've had a great afternoon of sharing, encouraging, discussing, disagreeing, challenging, inspiring and loving...and eating. :)  It's been so fun! I think about all of the things that my parents have exposed us to and given us the opportunity to experience.  These are the things that I would like to give other people at the school and they include exposure to music, art, travel, good food, culture and ways in which to love others and yourself more fully.

So today, in honor of the music and good food (both of which we've experienced here today) here is the third (podcast) story! Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm currently in Colorado with James.  We left on Wednesday night, drove straight through the night and visited a program in Denver on Thursday morning called, Butterfly Hope.  It's located in (and around) a public elementary school and serves to teach children about the natural world around them.  Butterfly Hope integrates gardening, science, creativity and Spanish! (We want to teach Spanish in our program as well!)  I found it online the last week and thought that it might be a good model for what we are trying to do.  My Thursday class was cancelled so I thought we could take this chance to do a little research.  We're going to have to start visiting the places we admire and draw inspiration from, or at the very least set up some email contact, because a year and a half  (projected opening date) will pass quickly...especially with grad school in the mix.  I have to focus on writing some major papers when we return to Oklahoma.

Here are some pics from the visit to the elementary school which houses Butterfly Hope.  They have a great garden area with raised beds and a couple of other gardens as well.  The teachers at this school use the gardening in their lesson plans.

It was a very productive visit because we got to speak to Maureen.  She is the programming director and gave us some great advice! In fact, we might be returning because there is another program she told us about, Nine10Arts, that we need to visit.  It looks like they are doing some very similar things to what we'd like to see happen at 612 NW 29th Street when we get our doors open.  Then there is Denver Urban Gardens.  They have helped establish about 23 gardens on school properties in the city. Great idea!

I'm not surprised to find so many wonderful sustainable living/creativity opportunities being offered in Colorado.  The same goes for California or Portland, Oregon.  But we have so many positive things going on in Oklahoma too.  Check out this link for articles detailing the ways that the Oklahoma Food Coop is leading the way! Also, when I was working at the Museum, some of my wonderful docents were Master Gardeners.  This program is affiliated with OSU/OKC and I know they do some amazing things.  I can already tell that it's going to be really important to balance my research between what's happening in Oklahoma and in other states, but aren't we lucky that there are people who want encourage a change all over the country?

In other update news...

1. The custom windows and doors we ordered for the building are about halfway finished!
2. We're so close to getting our structural report, which means we can then get our building permit.  Everything is in place and ready to go with the loan, the materials we need to renovate the outside of the building and more.  We're just waiting on that report! The reason it's taking so long is that we've found some wonderful engineers that will do it for less than what they usually charge, so we can't be too pushy about getting it.  We have to be grateful! And we are.  We're so, so grateful for everything that people have done to encourage us and help us move down this sweet road we're on.
3. Oh and I just FINALLY ordered some temporary business cards.  It's about time! They aren't permanent because we haven't gotten the non-profit established and I want to make sure that everything with our name will go through.  We've found some snags because there are other places called "The Young School."  So we're considering the The Young Lab. I like it. We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today Is the Day!

The Creativity World Forum is finally here!  Oklahoma City is hosting the Forum and I am more than grateful.  I can't wait to hear what world leaders in creativity have to say.  I know that James and I will leave the event, both Tuesday and Wednesday, feeling inspired and encouraged to work even harder to make our dreams come true for the school.

I think that I have written about this before, but I want to write it here just in case I didn't. This is important to the story of our project in the Paseo.  The Education Symposium related to the Creativity World Forum was held at UCO last September (2009) and I was lucky enough to attend. What happened there was magical.  It was during the symposium that I began to realize just how much I really wanted to open the school because it will be a center for creativity.

In fact, when the representatives from The Blue School in New York City began to speak, it was as if the switch was turned on and there would be no turning it off.  They even let me visit and observe last spring when I was there.   The result has been enthusiasm, motivation, inspiration and more! Our goal is to provide Oklahoma City with an education center completely based on creativity.

I am really looking forward to what Sir Ken Robinson and all of the other presenters have to say today because I know that it will provide more of what I found at the Education Symposium. I can't wait to get there! And if you can't make it yourself, you can follow along here! It's going to be a great day!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Podcasts...I mean "Stories"

Well, our goal was to release podcasts (we've decided to call then stories, since that's what I named my blog.) every two weeks but as you can see, I haven't even posted a blog entry since the last one and today's podcast is delayed due to some AWESOME work that Kyle and James have taken on.  They're creating the videos for The Paseo Art Association's Oklahoma Artists Awards.  Have I mentioned that they have their own film/video business called Home Base Studios? Check them out! These creative fellows have some great projects under their belts!

It has been a great honor to work on these awards because we have such talent and passion in the state of Oklahoma! We have to show our gratitude for these amazing people who work diligently to create and educate all of us.

So we're a little behind in our own schedule, but it's all in the name of giving and also getting my homework done for school.  That time of the semester when everyone starts to dig in a little deeper and to stress because they might not get it all done has hit, so I've neglected writing things here.

Coming soon, though, are podcasts about "Meals and Music" and a very special gift I received at my birthday party in the form of a performance piece by Molly O'Connor...I mean Emily Kzany.  I was so touched by what she did that I have to share it.  She's another one of those people who give an incredible amount of herself to this community and I'm so honored to call her a friend.

Thanks everyone and have a great Monday!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Podcast, Story #2!

Ok, so it's a day late, but we've got it done and I love it! Here's podcast #2!

It is wonderful to me because it features a great Oklahoma artist who is more than amazing, Romy Owens.  This woman not only knows photography, but also other artists in this state and she promotes them every day.  Through her Facebook page, she tells people daily about different art events from which they can learn and enjoy.  This woman is a giver. It's no surprise to me that she wins awards, but it's always refreshing to see someone so successful give back and that's what inspired this podcast.  Thanks to a grant from the Paseo Arts Association, she's been able to work with students from Edgemere Elementary School to help them to know more about photography and the work of William Eggleston. They took photographs of their own living spaces in Eggleston's "snapshot" style and there will be a great exhibition at AKA Gallery in the Paseo on First Friday, November 5th.  It's called "Sanctuary."  Don't miss it! I was privileged to see the work of these young artists and IT IS MOVING.

The best thing about Oklahoma is the fact that people want to work together for the good of those in our community.  Romy Owens is one person we would all be privileged to work with and I can only hope to be so lucky as to work with her at our school.  Thanks Romy for giving us a little time to hear more about what you do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Podcast! Story #1

Now that we have a name for the school we can finally make a website.  Why do we need a website when our doors aren't even close to opening? Well we thought it would be good to let people know what we're all about and what we want to do when we ARE ready to welcome people to 612 NW 29th Street!

One of the ways that we are going to do this is to have weekly podcasts. These podcasts will come in the form of short videos, highlighting either the kinds of things we'd like to encourage at the school or people and places around OKC and Oklahoma that we respect.

We hope you enjoy the first installment as it's just a hint of what's to come!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Young School Will "Rise With" the Occasion.

If you have 18 minutes and you care about education, watch this.  Sir Ken Robinson will be here in Oklahoma City next month for the Creativity World Forum and I personally can not wait to hear what he has to say.  Watching his talks reinforces everything that I want to do at The Young School.

I once heard from a docent at the Museum that in gardening, if you put plants in the place that's right for them, they will flourish.  If they get the amount of light or shade that they need and if they get the right amount of water, they will grow.  Ironically, I was telling my walking partner in the Race for the Cure just this morning that I thought people were exactly the same.  When they find their passion they will grow.  They also find what it is that they are meant to give to the world and we need everyone's contribution in order for this world to be its best!

In education, I believe that we need to help children and adults to find their passion.  No two people are the same, so the education model we have for everyone doesn't work.  It's not that the teachers don't work.  They are the hardest working people on the planet, and the most underpaid, but we have to change the way that we approach what we are giving kids in this country through school.

I am not claiming to know everything about education or to even say that we will be a school that could replace what we currently have.  We will be more of a community center after school hours than anything else.  But I know that if things go according to our plan, anyone that walks through our doors and takes a class will be encouraged to find their passion and to grow...and it will be done through creativity.  (Those sweet little preschoolers will have the experience that is closest to a school setting, but even that will take a different form.  I'll take a future blog to talk about my ideas for that.)

Sir Ken Robinson says that education has to "rise with" the occasion, not "rise to" it.  The world is changing and there is a revolution in educational models all over the world.  We have to move with this change in order to give kids and adults what they really and truly need.  We have to feed their energy, spirit and passion in order for learning to resonate with each person as they are, who they are and where they are.  We have to customize the experience to the person in order to give the best education possible. We have to feed their spirit! (These are Sir Ken's words, but they are exactly what I have been trying to say through this project.)

Watch this video...it will inspire you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aaaaaaaand we have a name!

I have wanted to open a school for art and music for about seven years now.  At least that's how long ago it was that I started thinking that I could actually do it.  My mom says that I used to talk about having a little red school house when I was in high school, so I think this has been in my consciousness for even longer.  But when I really started thinking that this was my goal, I thought about names for the school and what I would want it to be.  It was always "The Young School."  I thought it would be fun because it's my last name and it would be for young people, preschoolers.

However, when I met James and I started to open my heart to an even bigger idea (James has the best ideas and they're always big) I knew that I would need to be open to other names out of respect for the collaboration and other people's hopes, dreams and ideas.  So I haven't been demanding that we use "The Young School"...until a few days ago.  

I want to honor my family because they have not only helped me with funding for the project, but also given me the experiences and support that makes me want to give to others.  In addition, I want the building to be a place that helps people to be happy and to always feel young.  Learning and sharing rejuvenates you! Realizing how much you've grown over a period of time can bring real happiness.

So, as usual, James was very generous and kind and agreed that it would be ok to keep the name that I have always wanted. I couldn't be more grateful.  And now that we have that decided, we can move forward with creating a website which will feature our podcasts, a link to the blog and eventually everything that we want to share with people online.  We can also get a logo and stationery put together.

I'm so excited!!! "The Young School" is coming together!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gardening, Cooking and Eating Together

James sent me a link to a great blog entry in the New York Times Opinion Section.  It's about returning to a more agrarian society, much like the founding fathers envisioned. It's also about the benefits of kids gardening and eating together.  I believe in this and I know I've written about it before. As James would say, it's just exciting to see that it's part of a collective consciousness.  We aren't the only ones thinking that this would be a good idea! And I know we won't be the only ones doing this, which is a great thing.

We want more people to do this because it is good for them! None of the ideas we have are all that original, but we aren't trying to take credit for them.  We're just trying to encourage people to do it.  Even if we weren't able to have a garden, I think it would still be good to sit down, eat a meal together and then clean up together as well.  I gained so much from this when I was growing up.  When my family ate meals together, we talked, discussed issues, told stories, laughed and had so much fun.  I know that's why I still don't really love to eat alone.  I miss the connections and fun!  I believe kids need that too.

p.s. We've decided on a name for the school and I'm thrilled because it's what I've wanted all along.  I just wanted to make sure that the other people on board were ok with it.  I think I'll wait until the next post to make the announcement, though.  :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

826 = Inspiration

Through the school and community center that we want to start, I want to shine the light on just how special people are...of all ages.  My friends Genevieve Santos and James Varnum told me about stores in San Francisco, Brooklyn and New York (and there are more!).  They are all part of the 826 National program and here is a TED talk to tell you more about them.

I have already written about wanting to provide after school programs for kids that help them get their homework done before they go home so that there will be less of a struggle between the kids and their parents, but while watching this video, the idea came to me that we could partner with a school that is right there in the Paseo.  It's just an idea today, but who knows what it could be a year and a half from now when I'm finished with my masters degree and just about ready to open those doors??? Exciting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Growth and Learning = Happiness and FUN!!!

Tonight my brother Tom Young, our friends Justin Morris, Jon Knudson, Steve Schaben, Kevin Campbell, and Kyle Van Osdol played and I sang at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for their AWESOME Thursday night event, Cocktails on the Skyline.  We were actually inside instead of on the roof because of the weather, but I didn't mind.  The acoustics in the space made me feel like the music enveloped us and it sounded great! During the show, something happened that I have never experienced. We've played at the Museum once before.  The difference tonight was that I felt calm and confident.  Usually, before any kind of performance or speaking I am a bundle of nerves, but not tonight.

Don't get me wrong.  I had my freak outs over the past few weeks of rehearsals.  I worried, stressed, feared, panicked, and probably drove some of the band members, my friends and family a little crazy in the process.  But earlier this week, I decided that I needed to finally quit letting fear rule me.  I wanted to fully experience all of the fun that comes along with making music with these men.  They are incredible people and musicians and I am lucky to have the opportunity to create with them.  So I did it! For the first time in my whole life, I let go while performing music in front of other people.  I sang out, I quit worrying about every little detail, I improvised and felt my confidence increasing by the minute.  By the end of the show, the energy that flowed through the band and audience was electric!

I think letting go is a thematic recurrence in my life.  Whether it's people that I love or things that aren't good for me, the more that I learn to release, the more I seem to gain and the better my life seems to be.

Thanks to my brother Tom, Steve, Kevin, Justin, Jon, Kyle and James for the encouragement to try things I'm afraid of and to push myself.  I imagine these lessons will be quite important in the very near future (and for the rest of my life.)  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Funday

Today James and I had another great work day.  I think we should call them "Monday Funday" from now on.  We took care of some errands and ate at Big Truck Tacos in honor of them winning the Food Network's America's Great Food Truck Race.  I'm so excited for them and for Oklahoma City! After James and I finished our work day, my friend Phillip came up and we worked in the green house for a while.

When I bought my house a few years ago, I was excited that it came with a green house because I have always loved plants and I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about them (and to not kill them!).  Phillip is a botany major at OU and is not only smart, but one of the kindest people I know.  Every now and then Phillip will be very generous with his time and knowledge and teach me some things about the plants we've been collecting.  These include ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and more!

I have a feeling that when we get the business going and we have a garden from which the students, old and young, will learn about organic food and gardening, we will also be using this green house to start seeds and other projects.  Everything seems to always work together.  I had no idea when I bought this house that James and I would even be thinking about our goals together.  We didn't know each other yet. But here we are again, with everything we need.  I love life.

Here's a sample of the fun that goes down in the green house when Phillip comes to visit. I hope we can have classes like this for our students!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Time DIY

James and I are having Work Day Mondays until we get to the point where we can get started at the building.  Then everyday will pretty much be a work day! Yay!!! I love work days.

This past Monday we worked on his garage studio because we are trying to get the home office up and running at his place too.  I'm really excited about the changes James is making there (and that I'm getting to help with) because he is transforming it into an energy efficient place through things like adding insulation, an attic fan, sealing up all of the holes, a ceiling fan, etc.  In addition, James is spiffing it up with trim, a skylight in the bathroom, and we're staining the concrete floor.  We want to encourage people to learn how to do things for themselves at the school, and this could be just one of many classes we could provide, so I thought it would be fun to film it!

I was around for the first step of the floor project and decided to use my handy, dandy new iPhone to record the process.  James thought that if we were to capture more projects like this, we could call it "First Time DIY."  You'll hear his explanation in the short film below. It's my first attempt at editing footage I've taken on my iMovie app. so please be forgiving of the cricket sound and the lack of skill...that will improve over time! I added a few pics at the end too.  Because I had class at OU, I wasn't around for more than the cleaning, but I'll take some pics of the final product and post them later! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Meals and Music

In the spirit of getting things started with the business before we even open our doors, James and I are beginning some new traditions.  We've decided to start hosting dinner nights at our houses in order to promote community and get people to cook.  Our goal is to join the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and use foods that are entirely local (from our great state).  So far, we've just been lucky that I would contribute to the cooking. Ha! James is a great cook and I am getting better.  In fact, I've started to really enjoy it and it's fun to get to a point where you can walk through a grocery store and modify a recipe that you looked up based on what is available in the store...mainly so you don't have to drive to another one.  :)

Because these dinners have recently coincided with rehearsals at James' house for the gig that his room mates, my brother, Justin and John have with me at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's Cocktails on the Skyline on September 23rd, I got the idea that it would be a lot of fun to start inviting musicians to these dinners (and anyone else that wants to come and contribute).  This idea came to me last Thursday right before our second rehearsal.  We could make this a dinner and music night and when the doors open at the building, we could continue the tradition.  How much fun would that be???

K Ed and T Lyn
I'm so excited about this possibility and know that it would encourage what we want to see happen in the building.  We want people to come together to share ideas, learn from each other and mainly just connect and enjoy their time together.  It's going to be so fun!!!


My brother Tom on Drums
James Made these DELICIOUS fish taco inspired spring rolls while we were practicing.

The Chef Extraordinaire and Kevin

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day Care vs. Accredited Pre School

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to systems, structures and set-up.  I've been trying to figure out the best way to start the process of starting a school.  I've always wanted to have an accredited pre-school and thought that would be a big part of what we would do during the day at our building.  I still think that will be the ultimate goal, but I did some research this past week into what it means to be accredited and how you gain that status as a school.  I realize that we are going to have to start out more as a day care because I think you have to be in business for at least a year before anyone will come to evaluate your school and help you with that process.

But that's great because guess what! There is a business called "Rainbow Fleet" right around the corner from our building that specializes in helping parents find quality child care in the area and also gives consultations to people who are interested in starting a day care .  Can you believe that? It's literally two blocks from our building!!!  I now have access to the exact training and advice that I need in order to get this school started.  Because tomorrow is Labor Day, I'll have to wait until Tuesday to make an appointment, but that will be one of the day's first tasks.  I can't wait!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What a Week and It's Only Wednesday!

This week has been full! I've written two papers; stayed up until 1:30 am studying a couple of nights; figured out that I will now be graduating in December of 2011 (but that's ok. I am just glad that it is going to happen.); met with a wonderful friend that could be a prospective teacher at the pre-school; helped James prepare to do some home renovations; almost finished the set list for singing on the roof of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art on September 23rd (if anyone reads this, come out!); gone to class prepared; had a meeting about podcasts; and oh yeah, I've actually cooked a meal that I can eat on for the whole week.  AND IT'S ONLY WEDNESDAY!!!!!! (Well, technically it is already Thursday because it's so late, but who really cares?)  The point is, I thought life would slow down when I quit my job and it's actually picked up pace.

A really piece of great news that I left out is that James and I went to our last HP commission meeting today and our choice of doors was passed.  Yay!!!! Celebrate!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Can...So Can You!

This week has been great but it's also had its challenges. The first week of school has always been one of ups and downs. There are so many requirements, details, changes, etc. to take care of. I know that I can do all these things, but if feels like it's been a week of problem solving and that's putting it mildly.

So when I went to see my friends Patrick and Phillip after class, you could say that I was feeling a little down. Phillip shared some music with me that I immediately downloaded because it made me feel better just to listen to it. In fact, I downloaded the whole album and listened to it on my run this morning. I have to say that it works!

I think it's the message of the song. It's called, "I Can," by Minnutes and is a sweet and simple song that reminds me of a video I posted on my facebook a while back. I'll post the song and the video below. Hope it lifts you up as much as it did me.

I'm trying to remember all of this as James and I move forward with the plans and renovation of the building.  I'm also trying to remember this as I figure out how to start a school! I've been so lucky in that there are many people who have given advice over the past few months and it always leads me to a new discovery.  It ends up shaping what will happen in our space.

I am currently trying to make lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and eating in a more healthy way because I know that if I'm going to encourage other people to take bike rides or walk, then I better be setting the example.  It's been good for me.  I've lost 7 pounds in the last week and 1/2.  I can't believe it.  Now that could have been some of the stress of the past week, but I have really tried for the first time since boot camp to take care of myself.

I'm going to add more about how things like biking, walking, eating organic and local foods and being good to myself changes my life as I write this.I know I can do it! You can too! Want to join me???

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School Days

Today is my first day of school for my last year of college (at least that's probably what my dad hopes! Ha!) I was finally watching some TED talks this morning that a friend, Genevieve Santos, suggested I check out and thought that in honor of going to class, I would post one of the shorter videos. It really spoke to me. For the past 22 years I have either been in college or involved in education in some way. And if you think about it, we've all been students for as long as we've been alive.

One of the most important lessons in life is...wait for it, wait for it...delayed gratification. Sure I would like to have my masters degree behind me and all of the stress that this next year will bring with it, but then I would have missed all of the learning, and isn't that the point? I don't want to miss one minute of class or learning how to write my thesis. And there are other things that I would like to have in my life, but I truly believe that I already have everything I need and more. There's no reason to believe that the future will be any different. And if we can teach kids this lesson they will be so much better prepared for life. I wish I would have learned (really learned) this lesson much earlier, but you know we're all on a journey and we learn things at different times. That way we can learn from each other.

So check out this hilarious and very educational talk. It can speak to you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Update Extrodinaire

The past two weeks have been wonderful and crazy all at the same time. Leaving my job, going to Savannah, getting as much done around the house as possible and school starts tomorrow for me! I actually can't wait! I love going to class and learning. The readings, the discussions, the images and really having the luxury of someone explaining to me what the issues are surrounding whatever art we are studying. I love it all!!!

That's why I've always wanted to start a school. That's probably why I've been taking classes at OU since 1988. It hasn't always been a full time status student kind of schedule...I've worked too! But I'm beginning to realize that I want to start this school because I never want to quit learning myself. This will be my last semester in classes at OU and then I will be writing my thesis in the spring.

So I thought that I might give a few more hints as to what we will be doing at that school. I'm not going to give everything away here because I want it to be a surprise, but I will say that the structure of the day will be as follows:

During the school day we'll have a pre-school and oh boy I'm so excited about that! I will be teaching that with a few other very qualified people. After school, we'll have programs for kids in art, music, film, cooking, drama, poetry, gardening, foreign language and whatever else we can find teachers for...maybe even dance! Then at night, we'll have classes for adults in the same areas. We'll include people of all ages, pre-K through Seniors and sometimes the different ages will work together! In a previous post, I mentioned how I feel about that. I think it's really important for people of different age demographics to work together.

And there will be some great field trips! We'll take journey's to places all over Oklahoma when we can and my plan is to connect all of these classes and to plan them around one country's culture. Then whoever can go during the summer (and whoever we can find grants for) will all travel to that country. We'll experience the things that we've studied...the language, the art, the music, the food, the dance, the architecture....all of it. That's the dream!

I believe that we all can do things to improve our lives and to focus on what really makes us happy and enriches our lives. James and I both want to help people find those things. And my suspicion is that there are many, many others that would like to do the same.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tax Credit Part Two - Check!!!!

James, Kyle and I got in from an awesome trip last night! (We dropped Tiffany off in Memphis to stay with her sister.) I helped take in whatever I could to James and Kyle's house and said my goodbyes. As I'm driving home, I get a call from James saying that we received approval for part two of our national tax credit application!!! I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The good news just keeps on coming.

So James and I are getting ready to celebrate with lunch! I'm thinking Cheever's, Rococo or Paseo Grill would be good, but after the way I devoured Savannah, it might ought to be Cool Greens or Saturn Grill. Wherever we go, it's going to be yummy and I'm excited to celebrate our blessings and accomplishments!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Excitement Deluxe!!!!

I should be packing and getting ready to leave for Savannah. Kyle, Tiffany and James are all waiting for me to get my stuff together before we can hit the road. But I had to stop and write about the best thing that happened today before the moment passes. James and I went to our second Historic Preservation Commission hearing today with hopes that they would accept our requests. We have continued to work on submitting tax credit applications, getting plans together, formulating ideas for the school, etc. over the past few months, but we haven't been able to do further work on the building because we needed a certificate of appropriateness from HP before we can even get a building permit. So guess what! Today we got that go ahead. I'm so proud of James!!! We were able to get some things passed that were alternative and more sustainable materials for the roof and the windows. Thank you Historic Preservation Commission!!!

When we walked in I went in with the idea that I would send nothing but positive intentions and thoughts out into that room (which can be pretty intimidating the first time you enter. It's in the OKC Municipal Building...lots of marble!) and I found out later that James did the same thing. The whole experience was thrilling. We didn't know what to expect because we had been there before and it hadn't gone exactly the way we hoped it would. However, after a little volleying back and forth between a very kind and enlightened member of the commission and one who was rightfully supporting the guidelines, things took an incredibly positive turn. I realized as I was sitting there praying, that everything was going to work out! Everything was starting to move in the direction of us getting to do what we really want to do with that building. And it is all connected to what we want to do in that building too.

It was exactly what I hoped for and a huge blessing. It's just one more thing that proves that we're doing exactly what we're supposed to. I feel like we've got a lot to learn, but we will learn it. We will do it! We already are.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Last Day at the Museum

So today is it. My last day. Of course, I have mixed emotions about it and I've written about it already, so I think that in honor of the growth I've experienced over these past three and a half years, I'll just write down this quote that I found last night. It came to me in the form of a book that someone gave me as a going away gift.

"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner the whole world opens up to you." - Barbara Sher

It's time to start over again! But somehow I know it is all connected...so it's not really starting over. It's just a continuation of this journey I am on and I"m so glad that it's a journey of love and passion for giving.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This Week's Excitement!

It has been a great week. I have had a little more control of my emotions concerning leaving my job, I didn't run into anyone with my car (always a plus) and James finally came home from California! Yay!!! So that means we've been able to have meetings with people around town and get ready for our next Historic Preservation hearing that will take place on Wednesday. It makes all of the difference to have James back so that we can do these things. In fact, it helps me to be more at peace about leaving all of the wonderful people I'm working with at the Museum, because I feel connected to our project again. It would take something pretty amazing to justify voluntarily leaving the docents and the staff at the Museum because I love these people and the work that we all do together.

But I know that it will all be worth it because when everything is said and done we're going to do great things at the school that will be at 612 NW 29th Street in the Paseo. And while James was gone, my lesson to learn was that I am confident in my own ability to do what needs to be done. And I am connected to the project that is the school because that's MY passion and dream. It can just get a little scary when James is gone because we've got so many challenges ahead, but I know that we are going to have everything we need to meet and work through them all.

One of the meetings we had this week was proof of this. A man who has had quite a bit of experience doing these kinds of projects in the Paseo offered to give us advice. He was very generous with his time and suggestions and one of the things that he said we should do is to contact a woman who is on the Positively Paseo board and who has a good amount of experience with the area. As we talked about it further, I realized that this woman's mother was on the Savannah trip that I helped to lead for the Museum this past spring. She and I had talked in Savannah and she had even suggested that I meet with her daughter as well. So when I called the mom this week, she said she had already talked to her daughter about our project and that she wanted to hear more about it.

How lucky can we get? It's just proof to me that everything we need is already in place for us. We just have to keep working hard and we'll have what we need as we need it.

I love that we're learning so much because I think all of these lessons will help us to do more in the future. The goal is to give as much as we can to the people who will want to partake of what we have to offer. We want to help people as much as we can.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Film Projects

This weekend was so much fun and it's still going. Yay for Sundays!!! Friday night, my friend K Edward Van Osdol and I went down to my family's cabin and land to get some film shots of my grandfather. Kyle has been asked to create a music video for band out of Stillwater and I am so excited that Paw-Paw got to be a part of it. Heck, I'm excited that I get to be a part of it!

I'm not going to give away all of Kyle's ideas here, but this is the teaser he's created:

People, People PROMO from K. Edward Van Osdol on Vimeo.

I'm so impressed with Kyle and his passion for film. He's always researching and studying ways to learn new approaches to what he's doing. If he doesn't know how to do something, he looks it up! That drive is key to becoming better at what you do.

Plus, working with my grandfather was so much fun. He did everything that was asked of him and I think he had a good time too. We had a lot of laughs and more than anything, it was just great to share this creative collaboration with him. It's an experience that I will never forget.

Here are some still shots from the day...

Field Shots

Kyle Was So Kind To Paw-Paw. They Worked Really Well Together.

A Very Interesting News Story Is On the Tube!

First Shot of the Day

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oklahoma A+ Schools

Today has been crazy. I'm on that emotional roller coaster again and it's something that I'm not proud of, but I'm sharing it because there was a light in my day today. I sat in my office and cried this morning because it's exactly two weeks from today that I will leave the Museum. As the day gets closer, my fear, anxiety and sadness grows. I am fighting something that will ultimately be really great for me. Why do I do this to myself? I can't seem to help it.

But one of the things that I loved about today is the fact that Chandra and I got to observe an afternoon of conference sessions with the Oklahoma A+ Schools. I've talked about them before and how much I admire them, but today took it to a whole new level. Watching the facilitators give new tools to teachers was awesome, but the best part was sitting in the classroom, watching people learn. I had forgotten exactly how much I love to be a part of that. We were just observers today, but I did get to create something in one of the sessions and I definitely took away some great lesson plan ideas for integrating art with writing and literacy. It took about two seconds for me to remember why I was doing what I am getting ready to do. Even the smell of the school where it was held brought back memories of being at Lakeview. I miss teaching.

So I was feeling much better after we left the conference and went back to the Museum...and then I backed into someone in a parking lot tonight. I thought it might have been the culmination of all of my negativity and a big wake up call to turn my attitude around. So I'm going to give it another shot tomorrow.

I hate fear and what it can do to you. I'm going to have to dig deep to find the strength I need to fight it, but I'll find it. I know I can do this!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


When I was teaching elementary school music, I used to take the choir on a nursing home tour every Christmas and we would sing at the veterans' hospital on Veteran's Day. Those were some great memories...and not just because I loved the kids and seeing them do something good for someone else. I loved those awesome seniors that we were visiting too.

I grew up visiting my grandparents every week, usually on Sunday, and I can remember standing in our kitchen one Sunday when we were getting ready to make the drive to Durant. I was a teenager and was wanting to stay behind so I could hang out with my friends. My dad said something so profound, but of course I wouldn't fully understand until I was much older. He said, "One day you'll appreciate all of this time you're spending with your grandparents...and you'll wish you had more." Boy was he right. I miss my grandmother like no one else. When she left us, I felt like a part of me went with her. But I wouldn't trade one minute that I have spent with any of my grandparents and I know that it has shaped me into who I am today. I've been so lucky...and I still have my sweet Paw Paw (who I'm visiting this weekend! I can't wait!)

I have thought about how much I appreciate the time that I've had with all of my grandparents and realize that not every person has that luxury. Knowing how much it helped me makes me wish that I could give it to others. Now I'm not saying that I'm going to share my Paw Paw, but I think it would be great if we could plan some programs that incorporate seniors and kids working together on projects at the school. I know it would be good for the kids and I know it would be good for the seniors.

My friend Chandra has been so kind as to listen to all of my ideas and then shares things she finds online to support them. She told me about a nursing home in Jenks, Grace Living Center, that has put Kindergarten (and I think a Pre-K class too!) in their facility. State of Creativity on OETA had a spot about it last week, but I missed it. (So sad) I'm doing some research right now to find out about the results. I'm sure that it benefits both the kids and the seniors. It has to!

The EPA even has a page on their website that lists the benefits of intergenerational work. Check it out!

Finally, to support what I have been thinking all along, there is a TED talk that Genevieve sent James a while back and I thought that I would post it here. It's about people who live longer and their shared characteristics. I think it's brilliant. One of the things that it presents is the idea that people who not only live into old age, but that are happy, have significant connections with those in their families that are older and younger. I think they're on to something.

More than anything, I want people to remember that they are relevant and important and that they have something to contribute to this world at any age.


A couple of my friends have posted an article, All Joy and No Fun: Why parents hate parenting, on their Facebook pages recently and I took the time to read it this morning because it talks about the happiness levels of parents and if they are really happier than people who are not parents. Of course, I am definitely interested in this because, like most women my age, I would love to have a family. I also have a wonderful sister who is getting ready to have our family's first grandchild and that has honestly got me thinking about it more and pondering what is going to happen. I'll be turning the big 4-0 in October and while I still think I've got at least five more good years left in which to have a child, it's on my mind.

Then I look at my friends who do have children and observe the stress that they are under, but I have to admit that I never saw it as a deterrent. I just always assumed that like with everything else in life, you take the good with the bad.

What I took away from reading this article that could be applied to what I want to do with the school follows below. I think about these things because I may not ever get the chance to be a mom. And if that's so, then I want to do whatever I can to help parents...because ultimately, it will help the kids and that's my goal.

Ideas for classes:

1. After school homework tutoring – Get it all done before dinner!
2. Parent’s Night Out – Fun time for kids of parents who promise to go on a date!
3. Parenting classes: Basic tools to cut down on the constant conflicts in the house, gain control and ways in which to quit comparing yourselves to other parents.

Other ideas:

1. No watching videos at the school unless they are produced and created by the kids/teachers or unless they are completely related to what we are doing.
2. Days/Nights when parents come to the classes and spend time with their children are good if they can get away from work because they will feel as if they are not missing so much.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I've been thinking about the classroom spaces and even the outdoor spaces at the building and of how they will invite students to do certain things. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about reading and how fun it would be to have a fort somewhere inside and a big tree outside that the kids could sit underneath. Perhaps there could be reading with camping headlights under the tree if it gets too dark. :)

James is off seeing our wonderful country (Happy 4th of July everyone) with his friend, Genevieve Santos, and sent me a pic yesterday of an awesome fort that he saw in a kids' store in California.

I think it looks pretty awesome! This had me doing a little more research and found that there was even a "Where the Wild Things Are Fort Contest." Check out the awesome entries and winners here.

My thinking is that if we have a reading tree outside, we'll definitely have to take care of providing that one, but I think the kids should have a part in making the reading forts inside. Maybe we should have a monthly fort contest of our own at the school where the kids get to design and create these magical spaces. That's most of the fun anyway!!!

Oh this is going to be so much fun!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


During my morning ritual of surfing online, I have seen this verse twice. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Have I not commanded you? Be stong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

I feel like I am being given everything I need in order to do what I'm called to do and that support and encouragement are coming from all sides. I've decided that I'm going to absorb it all and let it flow through me so that I can give it to others too.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Accomplishments, Milestones, and Improvements

James worked really hard over the past few weeks to get part two of the national tax credit application finished and turned in and I am really proud of him. I loved watching the architect at the state office look over his work and say, "Good job," or "Way to go." It did look amazing. You could see the hours of work he put into drawings and plans.

I have to admit that over the past few weeks I've been having little melt downs of worry because I'm leaving a job where I get to see and work with people every day that I love and admire. So it made me feel good to know that I could always depend on James to get the job done and to do it well. And this application is so important, so I'm a little ashamed of myself for letting my worry take me over on such an exciting occasion.

I know that the issues I've had have been induced by fear and I don't know why I let that happen. It seems to sneak up on me and infiltrate my mind and then before I know it, I've wasted so much time being paralyzed and have probably driven some of my friends a little crazy in the meantime.

I've given in to the fear that over the next year, I will be irrelevant or insignificant because I'll be taking instead of giving. I will be living my life for the pursuit of my masters degree and will not contribute to the betterment of anyone's life through work. I've also succumbed to the fear that my friends will forget about me if I'm not around all the time. Silliness. All I have to do is think about the good that I will be a vehicle for when we get to open the school. All of the work, worry and stress that I've encountered over the past few years while working and going to school at the same time will have been worthwhile. And if my friends will put up with me while I'm gaining confidence in myself, the meltdowns will even be worth it too.

So tonight I was eating at Thai Kitchen and reading The Oklahoma Gazette. Now I don't know how much weight you place on horoscopes, but I thought it was kind of freaky. This is what it said...


Have you been doing a lot of sweating and grunting from sheer exertion in 2010? Have you thrown yourself conscientiously into the hardest, smartest labor you've ever enjoyed? I hope so, because that would suggest you're in rapt alignment with this year's cosmic rhythms. It would mean that you have been cashing in on the rather sublime opportunities you're being offered to diligently prove how much you love your life. The next six months will provide you with even more and better prods, Libra, so please find even deeper reserves of determination. Intensify your commitment to mastering the work you came to this planet to do.


I think I'm turning this little pity party around. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Great Idea From James

James sent me a link to a great idea today! Because we have the next year to plan for this school, I think we can definitely figure out a way to have waste-free lunches and snacks at the school. Read here to find out more...


p.s. Great idea James!!! Thank you! :)

I will miss the Museum

Lately, I've been feeling so many things all at once that it's hard to process everything. I am finding myself struggling with the thought of leaving the Museum. I love the people I work with and for. The people I work with in the office are beautiful, creative, hilarious and kind. The docents are the same and all have sharpened me and made me stronger.

I have always wanted to open a school for kids but I don't think I found the confidence to do it until sometime in the past few years...maybe even until just last year. When I started working at the Museum, I wasn't ready for my job, but Carolyn and Chandra believed in me. They gave me time and were patient with me while I was learning and making a lot of mistakes. So were the docents. I still can't believe how lucky I am to have found such wonderful and nurturing people. I am becoming someone who can do things I never dreamt possible because of all of the encouragement and inspiration they have provided.

I'm a little scared and sad about leaving because I know that I love these people and I have a big hill to climb, but I know it's my calling to go.

A while back, I found a short film on Vimeo that perfectly captures what I'm feeling. I posted it on my facebook, but I think I'll post it again here. It's about a girl who discovers a different world and loves it, like when I moved to OKC and took the job at the Museum. When this girl's new experience is gone, she's sad, but then has a new realization. There is hope found in a new and different future...and this future brings so many new experiences.

Trichrome Blue from Lois van Baarle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

deadCENTER Fun!

This past week and weekend, OKC held another incredible deadCENTER Film Festival! It really is a wonderful experience for people who love film. When James and I decided to do this project of ours, I decided that we needed to document all of the changes in the building and all of my ideas for the school. That's why I started this blog. I also bought a new camera to film the progress and we're making a documentary about it.

When the camera came in, we had about two weeks to create a film before the deadline for the dC film festial. We decided to go for it and we did! And then it was accepted!!! I'm a little biased, but I think that the director, (Kyle) K Edward Van Osdol, and everyone invovled did a great job! I had so much fun making it and being a part of it, Here is the trailer/teaser for our film:

Ostium Teaser from K. Edward Van Osdol on Vimeo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Catching up! (Thanks to the Rain)

It is raining so much outside that we can't get into work. So I thought I would post a quick catch up on what has been going on since we returned from the trip TWO MONTHS AGO! I can't believe I've been so lax on writing, but I am ready to get everything down so that I can let everyone know. Brace yourself, this is a long entry, but the rest of my posts are more brief.

I made this blog public last week because I was finally able to tell the people that I needed to know about my plans. I didn't want anyone to hear it from anyone but me. Soooooooooo....here we go!

I've already written about the Blue School and how great it was, but I didn't post any pictures. I don't know their policy about that and honestly, I admire them so much that I think I'm going to refrain. I wouldn't want to do anything that could potentially ruin their good will towards us. I'll just say that we found some wonderful ideas for the building and for the way I want to run the pre-school part of our community space. I knew when I was sitting in the classroom of 4 year olds that I could do that. I know, without any doubt, that we could offer a wonderful place for children of OKC to learn and grow.

And it won't just be for children...it will be for adults too! I want to offer a place and experience to people that will help them to find their passions...a place that will help them to find within themselves something that will spark an excitement and self-confidence that will change them for the better. Creativity can do that. It's one of the reasons that I love art and music so much!

After we left NYC, we went to Baltimore for the National Art Education Association National Conference. Wow! I learned so much about Senior Outreach, Art Therapy, creating art and connecting with others from all over the world that have the same interests. It was great to establish relationships and to share ideas. I found that people from all over the world were excited about what we want to do. Maybe even more importantly, I found reassurance in my hopes and dreams because I realize that what we want to do is something people want everywhere. There is a new form of education that's headed our way, and somehow I feel like our school will be a part of helping it to grow here in Oklahoma.

There was one day that James and I took off from the conference and went to Washington D.C.. We went to the National Museum of the American Indian. I had been studying it and reading about it for the past two semesters in class, so I needed to go. I was so glad that I did because I realized that this is also a place that is incorporating new ideas and ways of presenting information to people. It seemed confusing to people at first because nothing is really presented in the way that museums have traditionally presented pieces and info. I actually love that.

I had read that people would get frustrated when approaching the exhibits and while that frustration can hinder people in their appreciation of what the Museum is trying to do, it can also challenge people to think in new ways. What I LOVE about the Museum is that the curators and administrators actually consulted with many, many tribes from North America and had community curators amongst each tribe. They asked the community to be involved in the way that they were represented. That honor and respect is what we want to give people too! And we obviously need a new way of thinking because our education system can sometime overload teachers with so many requirements that they don't have time to teach, let alone incorporate creativity into everything they do. Our teachers need support and understanding and there are some amazing ones out there. We just need to support them. I think that Oklahoma A+ Schools is doing a great job of giving teachers what they need to do this. I really, really admire them. In fact, I would really like to take their trainings and classes. I know that they would be worth their weight in GOLD!

While we were in DC, we also went up to Chevy Chase, Maryland. This is where James spent the first five years of his life. We visited his old school, the tree he used to climb, the house he lived in and walked through the neighborhood where he used to walk and ride his bike. It was special to see where James was first experiencing life and forming his ideas of what he liked. I was honored to be there.

I should mention here that James carried my bag for me for quite a while that day. :)

I love this picture. It's in the tree James used to sit in. We both sat in it for a while and it was fun to imagine James
sitting there as a little boy.

The day we returned, we attended the AIA Central Oklahoma Chapter Architecture tour. It was amazing! We even saw Wayne and Michelle Coyne's house...you know, of the Flaming Lips??? So cool! I want their bathroom!!! It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Talk about a house of creativity. Wish I had pics to post, but photography wasn't allowed. I can just say that if I ever get to build a house, I'm calling Larry Pickering because he is a genius at what he does. And I know it's not just Larry that was involved in all of that, but he's the one I know that had a part in the renovation of that space. I'd like to get him to work on our building...we'll see what happens with that! One of my favorite parts about the architecture tour was that so many people from OKC were out on a rainy day, supporting the arts...yet again!!! I'm hoping that we can get our building on next year's tour.

Have I mentioned how much I love OKC? It's a great community and I love how we are growing all of the time. It helps that it's so close to my family, but mainly, I just love the forward motion in our drive to improve and enrich our city! The people are kind and generous to each other too. So if you're reading this and you are one that has thought that Oklahoma is "behind the times," or not someplace that you'd want to live, then you don't know OKC. And that's ok. You'll figure it out soon enough. :)

There are three more things that I want to include before ending this epic entry. First, we submitted the first part of three in our application for the National Tax Credit and we were accepted! This means we need to submit the second part soon, letting the people in the national office know about what our exact plans are. It will be helpful if we can get that approved because the state legislature has passed a bill to put a moratorium on the state tax credits for historic preservation. I bet we can do it!

Secondly, we had our Historic Preservation hearing a couple of weeks ago and the board didn't exactly like the windows that we proposed for our building, so we'll go back to present again in August. I know we can do it! We can figure this out. That's the best part about working with James. We're both positive people and feel that every experience is worthwhile. We are learning as we go, but we are both committed to this so I know it's all going to work out. Every lesson is worth the time that it's taking to get our project to the place it needs to be. We need to know these things so we can do it again!

Ok, I think that's enough for this post...except to say that I turned my resignation in at work and my last day at the Museum will be August 3rd. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. I'm going to return to OU in the fall to finish my masters over the next year and then the following fall (Fall 2011), if everything goes according to plans, we will be opening the school. I feel like life just keeps getting better and better. I can't believe how blessed we are, but I'm grateful.