Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Progress and Fun!

Things are really moving along. The brick work is finished at the building and now we're talking about things like fixing the roof and skylights and so much more. The great news is that we got the loan! The details still need to be laid out as far as an interest rate and how long we'll have to pay it off, but I'm so happy to know that the bank is willing to help us. We've had the greatest rep to work with from the bank. I'll add names and the exact bank at a later time, but for now, I'm just going to say that I'm grateful. We're so blessed! What we're going to do with this building, and even the building itself, will bless so many in the future that we feel like we're just being guided through all of the things we need to do in order to be the conduit for all of it happening. I've talked about this before, but it's as if all of the goodness surrounding our ideas and this project seem to just draw the right people in.

Here are a few pictures from recent trips to the building!

East Side Brick - check!

West Side Brick - check!

James and Kyle Filming for the Documentary about the Building - Check!

She's so pretty!!!

Did I mention that I climbed up on the roof? It was a little scary!!!

Where we'd like to put a green roof and skylights...

We could probably see fireworks from up here on New Year's Eve and Fourth of July!

Looking down on the lot we hope to have someday!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creativity and Play

James' friend Genevieve Santos sent this to us today and I'm so glad that she did.

After watching it, I know that she understands what it is that we are all envisioning for the school. I've always believed that play is how children best learn. The definition of Kindergarten is "Children's Garden." The ideas it's based on are children learning through creative play and through interaction with each other.

This type of experience is one of the many reasons I loved teaching music at Lakeview Elementary School. We learned a little music history, a little music theory, a little music performance and a had a whole lot of fun. I know that I did! That's how I ran my classroom. Every child was important and every child was to be treated with respect, by me and by the rest of the class. I did not allow anything less. I can remember encouraging laughter at all times except when someone was performing a solo and they were scared. That was about the only time that we weren't giggling and playing together, with me just guiding us through the format of all of the songs and games.

There were times that I worried I wasn't a good enough teacher, but so many of the kids stayed with music after they left me and I know that it was because they loved it. I know that there were better teachers, but I don't know if there were many teachers who were better at communicating encouragement, love, joy and support...and celebration when they learned something new. That was always fun!!! Now we just need to add the third element to the subject we'll learn about and the fun...we need to add in the courage to take chances. It's the trifecta!

I swear that I can't wait for the first day of school. I have some research to do, but as James and I discussed, it's like I'm researching in my head all the time. I'm figuring things out and trying my best to learn something new about the best models of education every day.

Thanks to Genevieve for the link and the encouragement! I really appreciate it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Research, Fun and Photography

I can safely say that I've never had more fun doing research than I did on Saturday. Looking through the old Polk Directories with James and finding out who has lived in our building was interesting! We could also find out what these people did for a living so that helped. Each name that came up represented a life and it was tied to the community that we want to serve...even if it was just for a year. We only made it through books 1929 to 1940, but we'll have more time here and there to do it this week. I can't wait because we're finding names and figuring out relationships that some of these people had with other people in OKC; ones who helped to build good things here. That will help with our application. In my heart I know that every single person who lived in the building over the years was important. I think about their lives and their daily struggles, the things that I sit in my own house and ponder until they're worked out.

After we left the library, we went to the building with Ed Nguyen. Ed is the guy that took the photographs before to help with HP and the national tax credit application. He's also a great friend! We needed more shots for the application, so we took a trip to 612 NW 29th street. While we were there, the brick men were still working. It was fun to be in the middle of all of that energy. It's great to see progress on those walls, but just as thrilling is to already have people moving through the space. It gives it life!

Here is a picture of Ed and some recent shots of the building!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oklahoma Historical Society Research Today!

James and I are going to the OK Historical Society in the Oklahoma History Center to do some research today! I'm really excited because we'll go through books of old pictures and history of our building. It's going to be the most fun research of all time! We'll find out who lived there and what they did for a living. We'll get to see what the building has looked like through the years and it will help guide us in choices that we make for renovation.

It will be a little adventure! Then, this afternoon, Ed is going to take more pictures for the national tax credit application, so that means more pizza!!! I love paying people with pizza...I get to have some too! :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tax Credit Tutorial

Last night, James and I met with a great architect at Sam G's office to talk national tax credit application info. It was great! She has given us such great advice. I can't believe how lucky we are to be given these pearls of wisdom. It's like E.Willy with the bank application. People are helping us right and left. We have to do the work ourselves, which is good. We both want to learn and to do this right! That way we will know how to do it if we get to a place where we can do it again. And I think we will. But it's the help of people like this that makes all the difference. It's so nice to know that people care about what we're doing, because we care so much.

We're so blessed!!!

p.s. James' boss, Sam, gave James four tickets to a Thunder game so after the meeting, we met James' parents at the Ford Center. What a surprise and so much fun!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

HP Success #1

James and I went to the historic preservation office on Friday and met with our liaison and HP's architect. We presented our ideas for the building and were met with more acceptance and encouragement than I thought we'd find. Yay!. I think that HP will help us to do what is best for our building. I love that they are working in its best interest. I think we all want the same preserve and bring this building back from near loss to become a place full of life and goodness!

Every time James and I talk about what we want or ideas for solving issues the building presents, we seem to find even better ideas than what we held before. I know that 612 NW 29th is going to be one of the best places to be in OKC!

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

East Side/West Side

Went by the building on Tuesday and took some pictures. The brick workers are taking brick off of the east and west sides of the building now. Much like they did on the back side, they are taking it down, brick by brick, and putting it back up after they fix what they need to with the building. I'm so thrilled to see all of this progress!

Danny Bumpus, the code enforcer for OKC, sent James a message yesterday, saying that he was really pleased to see someone "put a plan into action!!" (Exclamation marks included!)

I'm so happy with how things are going and how on top of things James is. He really is a natural at all of this. I'm glad he's my "pardner!" :)