I love this!
Beautifully written by Martha Brockenbrough, this would be the perfect response to the age old question:
Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.
Bloom Where You Are Planted. I love this quote. A search for whom to credit for it's inception into our culture will lead to you Jesus, Ghandi, Mary Engelbreit and everyone in between. Regardless of whom first coined the phrase, I have to wonder if it was not the inspiration behind the exhibition "Bloom" by Anna Schuliet.
Although this exhibition was in 2003 to mark the closing of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, it has just been featured on Colossal with a really interesting Q&A with the artist. There is something about this exhibition that really resonates with me and I would have loved to have seen it in person.
What do I love about it?
Thanks, Anna, for creating such a beautiful work of art.
See what happens when the doors close for the night at the bookstore:
And it is not just bookstore books on the prowl! Check out what happens to your own bookshelves when you are tucked in for the night...
I found this fun project on Colossal.com (new favorite website for all things awesome). Molly Rausch takes stamps and then imagines what extends beyond the border of the stamp and paints it!
Here is a little info from the artist's website:
Molly Rausch writes, paints, and builds treehouses in New Paltz, New York.
She grew up in Maryland and really enjoys mailing people things. These paintings began 14 years ago with an envelope of foreign stamps from her dad and a small, empty bookbinding project she didn't know what else to do with.
Each stamp painting begins with an actual postage stamp that is glued down to the paper. Then Rausch paints around the stamp, extending the scene, with watercolor and gouache. As a result, the paintings are quite small – usually around 3 inches tall. Everything is done freehand with a brush; she does not use pens or pencils. She does not paint on the stamp itself. And she does not research the subject, so the extension is completely invented and should not be tested for accuracy.
This would be a fun thing to do in an art class or on a rainy day - all you need is to start collecting a few stamps!
OK...so what does it say that it is Friday tomorrow and instead of being crazy thankful for the weekend, I am crazy excited to get to school in the morning to try out some of these sites I came across tonight! I am a geek - and love it!
These look like a blast. Can't wait to try them!
Poll Everywhere - Need some feedback - either multiple choice or free answer - to a question you have? This is a free service with special education settings in which you can ask a question and get feedback from around the web.
Text the Mob - Ask a question and have people use their cell phones to answer! This would be a perfect addition to an Open House. 3 free questions per person. Only available in the US.
Socrative - Turns any device with a browser into a clicker for instant feedback and comes with snazzy reports that are emailed to you! From multiple choice to open ended 'exit ticket' type questions, this looks like a crazy amount of fun!
Infogr.am - I am going to include this even though you can only sign up with a Twitter account. We are looking at data displays at the moment and these are pretty classy.
Take a look below at the presentation which gave me these new tools:
Last night, we went and saw Mike Rowe (the Dirty Jobs guy) talking about the skills gap in Idaho. He didn't have all the answers but he did a great job in getting the discussion started. What are we going to do now to ensure that we have qualified people to do all the jobs - dirty and otherwise - that need to be done in order for our lives to continue to run smoothly.
Someone asked Mike what 21st Century skills we needed to be focusing on in order to "fill the gap". Rather than identify these skills, Mike suggested that rather than focusing on gaining proficiency in a particular skill, we instead focus on 19th Century ethics.
Being mindful of others.
Being connected to others.
In our ever-increasing, technologically "connected" world, he suggested that we are in fact becoming LESS connected. We rely on so many people - farmers, laborers, electricians, plumbers, construction workers, road workers - and yet how many of us know the name of the guy or gal who came to service our fridge, clean our gutters, fix our plumbing, or deliver our packages?
The thing I took away from last night:
I have a lot of time, respect and admiration for Sal Khan. I think his work on the Khan Acadamy is important and worthwhile and I firmly believe, from seeing it with my own eyes, that it is helping change the way kids view math. Especially "hard" math.
When I saw the title of the article on CNN Money (first published in the Jan. 16 Fortune Magazine) I knew I had to read it:
Who was the advice from? Bill Gates. And what was it?
Well, I have to say that it was a little gem:
"Learn to say no. You don't have to make everyone happy".