Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thirty Years Ago and Today

It's 20 degrees at 7:00 this morning... but how good it feels to wake up on a Saturday morning with sunshine beaming through the windows... and how sweet it feels to drink a hot cup of tea while I download some photos of art projects we've been working on these past couple of weeks.

Thirty years ago, my life ... no, our lives... changed completely... a new person was born in me, from me. Our son was born that day.

Today is his 30th birthday... and it hardly seems possible. It's odd not having him here for dinner tonight... not being able to bake him a special cake... to hug him as he walks in the door... this is his first birthday away from home, and it feels like something is missing. I am grateful, though, that we are all of us well, that he is living where he wants to be right now, and that he works in a profession which serves to mend, heal, cure, and restore people who are hurt, sick, and dying. I'll see him next week.

                                   Happy Birthday to my son!

 This photo was taken back in March, when Steven came home to help us bury Max, to share the grief. Misty was still with us then. 

He was in high school when we brought Misty into our lives and made her a part of our family. Three years later, while Steven was in college, we decided a second dog would keep Misty company when I became a teacher and started working full time. During those 8 1/2 years the two dogs were our companions... they went with us on vacations... I took them to school with me on weekends... they cuddled with us in the evenings, and were free spirits by day. To our great sadness, Max crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, and Misty followed him less than two months later.

Pet owners know that one day their beloved pets will die, and very likely, they will die before we do. It's a risk we are willing to take. We soon learn that what we receive from our pets is so much more than what we give. When they are gone, we feel like we never gave enough, and yet, we know that we gave all that we could. It's a paradox, this feeling and this knowing. They seem to contradict each other.
In the end, after the initial shock and pain subsides, one thinks it is worth it. The love, the loyalty, the antics, and especially the joy they share with us. Their willingness to always be there. Always. No wonder we are heart-broken when they pass, and no wonder the silence is heavy and painful when we come home after work. But even that pain passes, and we are left with the memories. And they are oh, so sweet. Yes, it is worth loving a pet. I imagine some people love their pets more than the humans they live with, or their pets may be their only solace, only companionship for weeks and months on end. For some, it may be the only love they experience, ever. So love them and enjoy them while they bark and jump and wag their tails... love them and take care of them and keep them groomed and healthy.

This kind of love should be applied to our human friends and family as well! It all applies. In the end, after they are gone, we think we could have... we should have... if only I... I wish I had... . Why wait until someone dies to do more for another? Why wait until they leave this world to wish you had visited them more often, or called them more often, or said you were sorry, or said "I love you"? Why not do it now? Resolve those guilt feelings now, while communications are still open, and if they are not open, be the one to open them. Be the one, because it matters to you, and it probably matters to them too, but they don't know how to do it. But you do. Be the one!

That's my wisdom for the day!

The last few weeks have been filled with color and design in my class. I am forever amazed at what the kids will do when I leave them to their own thoughts and ideas. Last month, third graders worked on a a task to learn how to create overlapping. Their pieces were so colorful and vibrant, I just had to do the 3D glasses next. I have some commercial 3-D glasses, but wanted the kids to make their own first. !

The best moment came when they looked at their own art works through their glasses. "Ooooh!" was all they could say. Incredible. Somebody pinch me!!! Does it get any better than this! .... thank you, God!

Second graders learned about warm hues and painted the sun using oil pastel and watercolor resist. The key is to use at least an 80-90 lb paper. The water color will cause excessive warping and curling if using anything with less weight.

Paper tile pumpkins were made by kindergarteners as they learned about broken line. And how to use a glue bottle! Squeezing glue from a glue bottle is a very tricky maneuver, particularly when you have to squeeze it onto little squares. For those with the least dexterity, I gave them a Q-tip and glue-plate.

Expressive Words was a fourth grade project... many great words. Line, color, and balance were the focus of these designs. I told them to pick short words... longer words cannot be drawn very big on 12X18 paper. Here are two:

Coming soon: Kaleidoscope paintings and Holiday candles. I thank you all for visiting and leaving comments.


  1. Dearest Bea,

    I adore the compassion you have for teaching these students. Ooooohhh, why yes, delightful sentiments to seeing something through fresh eyes. As long as there are teachers like you. There will always be a passion for learning.

    Happy Birthday to Steven! May he have many, many more!

    I still get a tender tear in my eye when I think if Max and Misty...such wonderous souls. Thank you for giving us the priviledge of sharing in their lives with you.


  2. Pray that God will bless your son Steve on his birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. Hi Bea,

    Happy Birthday to your son. My son David was 15 on Tuesday.


  4. Happy Birthday to your son! Glad you will see him soon.

    You are a wonderful teacher....we all need more like you in this world for our children.

    Hugs, Rose

  5. Happy birthday to Steve, and hugs to you on this first one without him at home. Glad you get to see him next week :o)

  6. Time flies so quickly with our children. My son will be 38 soon and married with 5 kids but i still miss him even though he lives nearby.
    Jenny <><

  7. Wishing Steven a very happy birthday! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time when you see him next week.

    Very true words about cherishing our loved ones, both animal and human. Sheeba is curled up on my lap as I type this. :)

    Hugs, Beth

  8. HB to your son! hope he has a great day!
    we love our furr babies sooo much, & they give us all their love & devotion. did you know i was able to get the pet memorial over here? hope you go by, i posted my 5 babies htere too.

  9. Happy Big 30 to your son!

    Enjoy your Sunday.

  10. What a lovely happy birthday wish to your son.

    I love your art projects. Your students will look back on the time in your art class with such happy memories. You are the teacher that students will remember.

  11. Happy birthday to Steve! Bless your dogs for all those wonderful memories they gave you. i always love that you share your students here and their work..i posted a new photo of myself on my blog if you want to know what i really look

  12. Beautiful post once again Bea. Happy Birthday to your son! I love seeing these beautiful lessons that you teach your students. You are a wonderful teacher and I just know that one day they will look back and say you were the best!

  13. Happy Birthday to Steven, Bea! What a handsome son you have.

    Our pets are so precious to us because they live just to give and receive love. I know many times I talk to my Grizzly (actually far more than many). He seems to recognize moods and is a very sympathethic listener. Your wisdom of the day is a good lesson to be learned. I think many of us put reconciliation off thinking there is always going to be tomorrow.

    Once again, your projects and children just amaze me. Your children are very blessed to have a teacher who inspires. HUGS

  14. Happy Birthday to your handsome son! Wonderful work there from the kids.... a warm hug to you.

  15. Happy 30th to your son! It's amazing how fast the time go past once we have children.
    Every time I stop by and see what you are working on with the children, I always wish you were my children's teacher too :-)
    Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great week!

  16. Dear Bea,
    Happy Birthday to Steven!I wish he could have been there with you two because you two are wonderful parents! I have really enjoyed hearing about him and all of his adventures!
    Sorry that the two dogs have passed away.
    Happy thanksgiving! will you go to friends?
    thank you so much for being a great friend!

    Happy thanks giving!

  17. As alway, thank you so much for this beautiful post. I always get so much our of your entries.

  18. Happy Birthday to you darling son Bea and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too.
    What a wonderful teacher you are. You are certainly making a wonderful impresson on their young minds. Their work is super!
    I always believed that my old dog Guy was almost human. He knew all my moods and would know when I needed a cuddle too. Bless him.. and your 'special angels' too. Gone over the rainbow bridge waiting for we owners to find them one day.
    A wonderful entry today Bea. You never let me down by the content. There is always so much to learn from you.
    Stay well dear friend.
    Jeanie xx

  19. A momentous birthday will be had for your son, I can tell! Hoping your Thankgiving holiday is abundant with all the joy loved ones bring, but not the laundry (lol)!

  20. aww happy birthday to him! :) Nice projects !

  21. Dear Bea;

    You keep me on fire as a teacher with a heart for it. As always thank you for keeping me alive and inspired to put into my little Katie's life the joy of EVERYTHING.

    I am wishing you peace as time goes by for the loss of Max. That will always hurt but I pray not as much.

    Happy Birthday to your son and congratulations on being a parent of such a wonderful son.

    I was finally able to upload some video recently of Katie reading but the audio is awful. I made some novice mistakes in teaching her to point with her finger that I will migrate her away from eventually. It happened due to the fact that she will jump all over the place and just read and not read from right to left. Only recently has she gained comprehension with what she is reading and daily reads to us and picks books over most toys. I just hope you don't cringe when you see her pointing along while reading aloud.

    I'm glad I found you all over again.


  22. Great pix, you have a real teacher's knack, a respect for kids seeing them as people, not just "little adults". And what a handsome young man Steve is! You put your sentiments about how we feel about "our animals" very touchingly, thanks.

  23. Hi Bea, hope all is well with you...seems a wee while since you gave us an update...
    much Love Sybil xxx

  24. Happy Birthday to your son. I share your feelings about the close attachment one can have to a dog, or cat, or horse. We put our love for our animal's as a relationship with human friend, knowing that their lives are for a short number of years compared to ours. I enjoyed seeing the children's artwork and appreciate the creativity shown. Art like music or any study, is developed through knowledge gained over the centuries. It was nice to find your new journal while I was reading your comment on Betty's Blogger journal. mark

  25. Dear Bea,
    How have you been ??? I am missing you fiercely!
    I want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas an a Happy new Year if I don't hear from you!
    love and hugggggggggggggggs
    are you at gmail?
    What is your email now?
    I have started anew one at ;
    I think you would like gmail if you're not there already.
    Otherwise please remind me of your email!

  26. Awesome entry Bea..even though I am visiting late. Are you teaching art? Love the pieces the students made. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Love, Shelly

  27. I lost my Pizza last month. I know exactly what you were writing about. Although Pizza wasn't the first animal I lost, I remember going through those steps. It seemed at first that all I could remember of her was at that moment when I knew she was gone. I'm getting on where I'm remembering the day my husband brought her home and how she climbed the drapes to get away from the dog. She finally got used to dogs, although she was bright about it. You're right though. As badly as I still hurt for her loss, I'm better for having her to begin with. She was one beautiful cat. No only because she had the most gorgious coat, but because she was calm, loving, and smart, too.

    I love the work your students do. I used to be a Girl Scout leader, and a Cub Scout den mother. What amazed me was when I'd come up with a project, and gave the kids the same materials and the same directions, they all created something different from one another. Imagination is a gift from God.

  28. Merry Christmas, Bea! I hope and pray all is well with you and your family. I noticed it has been awhile since you blogged last.
    Cliff (River)

  29. It is always wonderful to read about the techniques of a very good teacher. I just know you are by what you post about it, your enthusiasm and your ideas and your love for what the kids come up with. I think the same about teachers who love their pupils. That teacher is always going to stand out in memory. Just like a friend, a family member, a pet. I always loved the horses of my youth because they did not get drunk and when he was on them my dad was at his best! His great cow horse Sorly was one of the best parts of him. Happy New Year to you, too. I hope to get my sister, a former teacher, blogging soon. I have sent her to your blog to see a particularly spectacular display of kids' art. Gerry