Joy Break 5 | Scatter Joy!

Scatter JoyWhen I was in college, every Friday students were given an opportunity to write positive, joy-filled messages to whomever they wished. Someone would go around the cafeteria during the lunch hours and pass out minimally decorated colored paper entitled “Joy Notes,” give individuals an opportunity to write a message, collect them, and deliver them to the dormitory offices for distribution via students’ mailboxes.

It was such a pleasure to write these notes because I knew they would make the recipients feel loved and appreciated.

What a treat it was to discover a “Joy Note” in my own box–especially after an unbearable or stressful week.

I saved many of the Joy Notes written to me, and they still warm my heart. Among them are a note from my roommate, expressing her delight that we were rooming again and appreciation for my friendship; a note from one of my good friends that decried our busy senior-year life and that let me know she cherished our friendship though we didn’t have as much time to chat as we had in previous years; one from another friend, thankful for my support through a difficult time in his life; a lengthy “missive” from my bestie after she moved off campus about how much work she was getting done since she didn’t have our long talks, shopping sprees, one-on-one basketball games, and other adventures to distract her. But, of course, she was missing all of that! 😀

You know where this is heading.

This wouldn’t be Joy Week on Pics and Posts if I were to let it end without encouraging you to spread joy to others.

It’s always a delight to know that someone is thinking of us and that we are appreciated for simply being who we are. So…take a moment to write a “joy note” today. Write a note to your spouse, your child, a long-lost friend, your parents for putting up with you; a “thinking of you” note to a few individuals you haven’t heard from lately; a thank you to the neighbor who kindly drags your trash can from the curb each week or who cuts your grass as a surprise while you’re on vacation.

We shy away from such activities because we overthink them and try to do much more than is necessary. In this case, “less is more.” Even one sentence is sufficient to spread a little joy.

To make life easier, you can use the simple 4×6 printable I designed using one of my own doodled flowers. [Aren’t you proud of me?] The card prints nicely in black and white too and can be sent as a postcard if printed on card stock.

[Click the links below to access the freebies–one ruled, one unruled]

The “spread joy” flower was inspired by a coneflower drawn by my penfriend Christine for the Brooklyn Art Library Sketch Book Project. Her flower was inspired by a flower sketched by Jane M., another artist and Love Noter. One person’s creative joy led to another’s and that led to another’s. See how quickly the joy spreads?

Come on! Let’s scatter some joy this weekend!


Bonus: Check out the gorgeous “Scatter Joy” image available as a free download from Ashley at The Handmade Home.  Be sure to download the freebie and display it in your home to remind yourself to “scatter joy” each and every day.

 

#Write_On: 30 Letters in 30 Days

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Do you know April is National Letter Writing Month? Usually, I shouldn’t need a reason to write letters, but I decided to accept the Write_On Campaign’s invitation to write a letter every day in April.

It is a challenge. April is the most maddening month of the year for many academicians. My university’s semester ends this month, so time is tight: one-on-one conferences with most of my students, advising, making sure online grade books are updated, preplanning for fall, grading, grading, and more grading. The last thing I need is a “challenge,” but I’ve been “slipping” with my letter-writing quite a bit the last several months. My “letters to respond to” stack grows daily.  I even have a few parcels that have been packaged since December and January to be put in the mail.  I am waaaaay behind.  So I’m accepting the invitation–to get back into the swing of regular, intentional letter writing and “catch up” on all the letters and cards on my “to write list.”  I plan to write a letter or two nightly before heading to slumberland.

It’s such a sweet pleasure to sit down and write letters and prepare packages for family and friends.  I get a little frustrated when time and tasks get in the way of that.

Consider writing a letter every day this month. We’re only a few days in, so it’s not too late. Send a letter. Send a postcard. Send a quick note. If you don’t know where or how to begin, check out the Write_On Campaign’s website.  You’ll find lots of suggestions and inspiration.

Chronicle Books also has a nifty list of “30 People to Write for Letter Writing Month.”  If you’re still stumped, ask me. I never run out of ideas of what to send. 😀

And oh, the founders send out a wonderful package of freebies provided by some of the sponsors. Click below for a closer look.

Forgive me if this sounds like a “paid” advertisement.  It isn’t.  I’m just excited about mail. And stationery. And pens. And freebies, especially when quality is not sacrificed.  😉

Happy Letter Writing Month!

 

 

 

 

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Dr. Seuss: Postcards and Kid Art (+ Freebies)

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd?  Did you pick up a book in his honor?  I have been having a lot of fun reviewing Dr. Seuss’s books and enjoying the zany and just plain strange art he created. I hosted my third annual “Dr. Seuss’s Birthday” swap on swap-bot just to get some adults involved in my obsession with Dr. Seuss, so a few of us had a little fun sending each other flat-themed packages based on Theodor Geisel’s children’s literature. My partner will receive a bunch of cool Dr. Seuss-inspired items–“The Cat in the Hat” swap cards, sparkly stickers, the Yertle the Turtle  story, a book suggestion, two bookmarks and this postcard I found on ebay:

“Find the Cat in the Hat Today”

This is actually an ad card for HarperCollins Publishers, but it doesn’t really look like one.  It was designed and printed by Boomerang Media, a UK-based marketing company.

My partner, “JaMaJo” sent me a handmade postcard and an ATC.  The ATC took a little bit of a beating on its way through the postal system, but it’s still cute.

“Try them, try them and you may!
Try them and you may, I say.”

And here’s the “Green Eggs and Ham” ATC:

“Green Eggs and Ham” ATC by JaMaJo

Dr. Seuss reminds me of childhood reading and fun.  I loved reading as a child and read every book I could get my hands on.  I spent hours on weekend afternoons lying in my bed reading. I vividly recall my Beverly Cleary phase.   Although our teachers encouraged reading and often offered incentives, we didn’t have cool programs like the NEA’s Read Across America; nor did we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  I feel like I missed out on something big (like I do when I see that baby dolls can do so much more now), but one of the wonderful things about having a young child is that I can re-visit my childhood through him and with him.  So I celebrate RAA/Dr. Seuss’s birthday with him. Last week, his first/second grade class participated in Read Across America and held a weeklong celebration of Dr. Seuss.  The kids read and shared their favorite books and ended the week with a birthday celebration/Dr. Seuss-themed costume party.

They also completed a few creative art projects. If you’ve been following my blog, you should know I was thrilled to see the children’s art (see earlier post on children’s art) .  I photographed some of the projects just so I can enjoy them a little longer. Let’s take a look at some of the art from Adrienne Saulsbury’s class.  This first set features the children’s artistic renderings of “The Cat in the Hat” (Click any image to view larger).

I think they’re pretty good for first and second graders!  I can’t draw as well as some of them as an adult!

The second set showcases book covers the students created.  Inspired by There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, the students came up with a silly book title that included a made-up item that rhymed with a real object.

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The silly titles are adorable.  They certainly captured the spirit of Dr. Seuss.  Oh, to be a kid and have such wonderful projects!  It’s cute that the kids signed their books, “Dr. ___.”

I’m convinced these art projects not only stimulate creativity, but they pique the children’s interest in reading.  Isn’t that what celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday is all about? I appreciate Mrs. Saulsbury for focusing so much on reading and for doing what she can to make reading fun for her students.  She encourages the children and parents to read together daily. She reminds parents that they should read to their children and their children should read to them.  She even urges the children to keep a reading log. My little one has been reading since he was 3.  He is quite a reader and although he claims he has to “be in the mood,” we have never had a problem getting him to read.  He reads everything–the Bible, storybooks, serial novels, kid-friendly comic books, magazines, informative books on robots (of course), space, science and nature.  We sometimes read as many as 5 or 6 books in one evening–down from 10 (when he was much younger).  Reading is such an important fundamental skill. Without it, the other skills can be inaccessible.

If you want to get into some Dr. Seuss this week, check out Lysa’s Illustrator Study list on Amazon for suggestions.  There’s something for all ages.  Brain Pickings also offers a number of excellent posts on Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss):  WWII Political Propaganda Cartoons and The Seven Lady Godivas and The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.

Oh, I almost forgot. I created two bookmarks for the class, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I designed these using papers and elements from myfuninvites.com.

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

If you have any problems downloading any of these, let me know via “comment” and I’ll deliver the bookmarks to you via email and, if necessary, in another format.

I also photographed each student in his or her Dr. Seuss-inspired costume and holding a favorite book.  Here’s my own little “Cat in the Hat.”

My own personal

My own personal “Cat in the Hat”

Happy reading!