Operation Smile

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Operation SmileI think about how blessed I’ve been in my life. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they made sacrifices and got me into braces as a teenager. I now have a beautiful smile. I even have a student this year who comments on how white my teeth are…LOL! I tell her it’s all thanks to my Mommy! I look through my scrapbooks and see all the smiling faces, and I simply can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I or any of my loved ones been born with a facial deformity.

I was reminded of all of this as I was looking through some of my old notes from the Close To My Heart 2008 Convention.

On June 1, 2008, Close To My Heart teamed up with Operation Smile as our official charity. They made the announcement at our annual convention which was held in Disney World that year. I vividly recall sitting in the audience listening to Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee tell us their story. The number of lives they have impacted is astounding.

The birth of a child is the number one reason why women start scrapbooking. Yet, parents of children with facial deformities don’t see smiling faces. Instead, they feel anxiety and fear. Did you know that it only takes $240 and 45-60 minutes of surgery to repair cleft lips and cleft palates?! In the US, this simple surgery is done automatically, but in other parts of the world, these become throwaway children. Many can’t speak or eat, and some die of malnutrition.

Dr. Magee reminded the audience that there are “so many problems in the world that we can’t change, but this is something we can change!” According to the Operation Smile website, they celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012 and have “provided more than 200,000 life-changing surgeries worldwide.”

As we celebrate Close To My Heart’s 30th anniversary, I want to recommit myself to raising enough donations to put a smile on the face of at least one child this year! CTMH donates money for every stamp set that is purchased, but I also can raise more donations by asking my customers to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar. I’m also donating a 30-minute Studio J coaching session to the Dream Team Operation Smile Auction at convention in Disneyland at the end of the month!

“The value and dignity of one child’s life is worth the effort of people he will never know.” ~Dr. Bill Magee

You can make a donation by visiting my shopping cart and entering in a donation amount. No purchase necessary! Simply update quantity and then click the “Checkout Now” button. You will need to create an account if you don’t have one and then complete the purchase to make your donation. If you would like to make a large donation to Operation Smile, contact me first for more details.

As you go about your day, remember that a smile changes everything!


Change: Embrace or Curse?

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I’ve always been a fan of change, so I’m usually not fazed when life throws me a curve ball.  Honestly, I often feel annoyed when people complain about change.  I know I shouldn’t feel this way, because they are simply expressing their sense of loss in the only way they know how.  At least I have the good sense not to say anything about it…most of the time.  I did have a bit of a freak out moment this school year when the complaining and negativity became too much for me to handle.  LOL!  I won’t go into details because it would be rude and come off as complaining…then I would have to get mad at myself.  Besides, I’m not remotely proud of my behavior.  The point is, I usually celebrate change.  Yet, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now.

Change in the Scrapbooking World

Scrapbooking Change

Archiver’s is going out of business and will close shop mid-February 2014.

Yesterday, Archiver’s announced that they are closing shop.  This does not directly impact me as I’ve only visited Archiver’s a handful of times over the years while visiting family in Boise, Idaho.  What distresses me is what this says about the entire industry.  For years, people used the excuse that the economy was bad and that’s why people aren’t scrapbooking.  That may have been true, and it may still be true in some areas of the nation, but, for the most part, people have money to spend.  They simply aren’t choosing to spend their time or money preserving their family memories.  That saddens me and makes me wonder why.  Why was scrapbooking so popular for so many years, and now it feel like it is dying a slow death?  I hear so many people say that they used to scrapbook.  What changes?  Why does something that seems so important to me…memory keeping…seem so unimportant to them?  Even the cave dwellers knew how important it was to record their history, so why are so many personal histories being allowed to be lost?  It makes me sad.

Change in My Life

Perhaps the reason why I’m so melancholy about this is because Neal and I are about to embark on some serious change in our lives, and I’m a little nervous.  The good news is that he is finally going to pursue his dreams of writing.  He is very good…check out his blog, Infinispace.  What I find a little funny right now is that some things don’t change…I can not bring myself to write about personal challenges in a public forum.  This is why I’m a terrible Facebook friend!

Change in Education

I do feel comfortable writing about the changes I’m making as a teacher.  I spent 5 hours working on the Web Design framework yesterday while waiting for my car to be tuned up.  Side note–the next time I go to get my car worked on, I’m packing a lunch!  Today, my colleague and I met for another 3 hours to work on it.  I’m choosing to change the entire unit and am going to write the lesson plans for all the Technology Communications teachers to use.  I’m even going to film video lessons that they can share with their students and that the students will be able to access from home.  That is the beauty of being a teacher…as long as I’m teaching the standards, I have the freedom to change how I’m teaching each unit.  My students’ needs dictate how I teach, and they change every year!  Plus, I love having a job where I can be on my feet most of the day.

Change in Routine

Speaking of being on my feet, I’m going to stop writing and go exercise.  For some reason, I fell off the exercise wagon last year.  I’m not going to do that to myself again this year.  Besides, exercise will help me manage stress and deal with life’s inevitable changes.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you deal with change.  Do you roll with it or need time to vent while processing the change?


Transform Photos into Memories

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“Is Facebook making us forget?” Review

Sometimes a photo says it all!

Sometimes a photo says it all!

Earlier this week, I was wasting time on Facebook and happened across the UK article “Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories.”  As you might imagine, my interest was piqued, so I stopped aimlessly perusing and read the article.

It briefly recounts a psychological study where university students were asked to either photograph or simply look at art in a museum.  The next day, their memory was tested and it was concluded that “the subjects were less able to recognize the objects they had photographed compared to those they had only looked at.”  Yet, the study also concludes that zooming in on a subject enhances memory since the photographer is focused on the object as opposed to mindlessly snapping away.

I'll always remember the joy I felt as she looked at the scapbook I made her for Christmas...I just wish I had a better photo of that moment.

I’ll always remember the joy I felt as she looked at the scapbook I made her for Christmas…I just wish I had a better photo of that moment.

Clearly, I love photographs.  Yet, I’ve been guilty of seeing an event through the lens of my camera instead of fully experiencing it in the moment.  So, I’ve been trying to be better about handing the camera to someone else.  In fact, I decided to leave my DSLR at home for Christmas and simply snap a few photos for my album with my phone…more on that in a moment.

The final paragraph states that “research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them…In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”  The educator in me started jumping up and down at this point, because teachers know that “learning requires active involvement. Learning happens when students actively process information through writing, talking, and transforming by using a variety of organization strategies” (Duke & Pearson, 2002).  We must get our photos off the camera/phone and transform them into something new.

Transform Photos!

This is why I scrapbook.  I reflect upon the photos I take, organize them either by event or person, and capture my memories through journaling.  I transform the photos and stories into blog posts, digital or paper scrapbook pages, and even home décor.  The time I spend with those photos allows me to relive the event, so I take my time when making layouts.  I love that process.

The day I didn't take the photos...thank goodness for Photoshop!

The day I didn’t take the photos…thank goodness for Photoshop!

So, what happens to me when someone else takes the photos or I leave my camera behind?  In the moment, I may enjoy myself more, such as when my husband took photos during our day trip to Positano, Italy.  Yet, when I later saw the photos, I agonized over the fact that they all had a blue tint. The act of reliving the event through my scrapbook was not nearly as enjoyable.  The same thing happened to me this year at Christmas.  I snapped a few photos with my phone, but the poor quality of the images distresses me and makes me wish I had taken my good camera. 

In 2014, I will strive for a happy medium.  I will take my DSLR to events and capture several photos that I know will make me happy.  I’ll also let other people take photos so that I’m in the story, as well. I’ll experience the moment with my own eyes, but I’ll also let the camera help me capture the moments that I want to remember the most.  When I get home, I’ll organize, reflect, and transform! 

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about this study. 


Star Trek 47th Birthday

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Walter Koenig of Star TrekHappy Birthday Star Trek!

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek!  On this day one year ago, Larry Nemecek and I escorted Walter Koenig and a group of his most loyal fans around the Hollywood Walk of Fame to visit the stars of those actors and directors most closely related to the Star Trek franchise.  Walter Koenig of Star TrekIt really was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of Walter’s celebration on the 46th anniversary of Star Trek.  The weekend included a fantastic lineup of Star Trek and Babylon 5 stars.  We had an incredible banquet and roast in Walter’s honor.  Some of Walter’s long-time friends, such as Jamie Farr from M*A*S*H, attended the banquet.  Jamie Farr of MASHIt was a pleasure to sit by Mr. Farr during dinner and hear him share stories about Walter and his current acting jobs.  It amazes me that I haven’t scrapbooked this weekend yet.  I need to get on that!

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend Walter’s Star Ceremony, here is a video that I found on YouTube.

So, why is the 47th Anniversary so important?

Visit TREKLAND for more info!If you are a Star Trek fan, then you probably already follow Larry Nemecek since he knows everything about Star Trek…plus, he is just an all-around great guy! In his TREKLAND blog post today, he lets us know why the 47th birthday is so important in Star Trek lore.  Be sure to check it out!

Remembering the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek

I can’t end this post without a little trip down memory lane.  groupPlanet Xpo celebrated the 40th anniversary of Star Trek with a convention in Seattle.  I curated a blog post a day for the the 40 days leading up to the event with our final blog post by Arthur C. Clarke!  Be sure to check it out at http://startrek40.blogspot.com/ .  I did cover the 40th Anniversary for StarTrek.com, but they pulled all my articles after a change in management.  I need to find them all and post them on my own website.  I’ll add this to my gigantic To Do list…LOL!

Seattle Star Trek Con 2013I have to tell you, I feel really blessed as a Star Trek fan to be able to do all that I’ve done as a result of winning a radio contest and appearing on an episode of Enterprise!  I really enjoy working at the conventions and on special events like Star Trek: Of Gods and Men and Walter’s Star Ceremony.  Yet, I have an equally fun time just being a fan like I was at the Seattle Star Trek Convention a couple weeks ago!  As a fan, I’m looking forward to celebrating Star Trek well into the future.  Just think, we only have a few more years until the 50th Anniversary.  It will be a Thursday of the first week of school…I’m sensing that I may just have to use my personal days that week.  I have priorities, you know!

May Star Trek live long and prosper!  And may I live long enough to celebrate First Contact Day on April 5, 2063!  😉

 


To Blog Me or Not To Blog Me

Posted on in Random Thoughts 12 Comments

Myth Tickle by Justin ThompsonI’ve been debating the age old question “To Blog Me or Not To Blog Me” as of late.  When Studio Scrapping was over at Blogger, it made sense to keep it a scrapbooking only blog.  I was using it for my Close To My Heart business, so I wanted to keep the focus on scrapbooking.  Yet, once I made the decision to purchase the amyulen domain, something happened in my mind.  I am so much more than a Close To My Heart Consultant.  My life’s focus isn’t being a business person.  I’m a teacher.  Period.  Honestly, that’s it.  I’m a teacher!  I love teaching people about the art of memory keeping.  I love to show them fun stamping techniques.  Yet, that’s not all.  I love teaching students, teachers, and other interested adults about Shakespeare!  I love incorporating technology into everything I do.  I love teaching online and am developing a new course over at Curious.  I love talking about young adult literature, Star Trek, scrapbooking, and Shakespeare.  Oh, have I mentioned those two already?  I have a scrapbook about how much I love ShakespeareNerd alert–I also have a scrapbook about all the Star Trek stars I’ve met and experiences I’ve had!  Did you know I was on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise?

To Blog Me

That’s my answer.  I don’t have many followers, so if you come across this post, I would love to read your thoughts about it.  I’m totally okay with talking to myself as this is going to be my one-stop-memory-keeping-spot, but it is far more fun when it is a conversation.

Coming Soon To a Blog Near You

I’m going to start a list of the things I want to update/change/add:

  • Add more categories to the blog to better represent my interests.
  • Blog more frequently about topics that interest me.
  • Update the My Story section to add information about me as a teacher, Shakespeare enthusiast, and Star Trek geek.
  • Convert Shakespeare High to a WordPress and add it to this site (I’ll still keep the Shakespeare High domain name!).
  • I’m sure I’ll think of more later, but this is plenty to get me started.  I only have a few weeks of summer left, so I better not waste time!

The Passing of Jim Rohn

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My sister called me today to let me know that Jim Rohn passed away. We met him several times at Herbalife conventions in the early 90s. I was always so inspired after listening to Rohn speak. During Shimelle’s Learn Something New Every Day 2006 workshop, I created this page as a reminder to myself to make healthy choices. “We must all suffer from one of two pains; the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” His words of wisdom helped me get back into exercising; I eventually lost 45 pounds! I feel very fortunate to have met him in person and send my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.


The Big Orange Beast!

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What happens when my husband takes the day off? He comes home with a new “toy”! I’m really glad that he is so excited about working on the property and making the outside of our house beautiful, but every time something like this happens, I wonder how much longer it will be until I get hardwood floors. Well, the good news is that he will eventually have to build an out-building for all this equipment, and I’m going to demand a second story to create a scrapbooking loft large enough to hold classes and crops! I guess I better start selling more scrapbooking supplies to help pay for this…LOL! So, does anyone want to host a gathering or workshop this summer?!

He actually downsized from the one he wanted to get which is a good thing. He claims he can get this in the garage, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Of course, he’s an engineer, so I’m sure he has the layout designed on his computer. Speaking of layouts, I better get to mine for the LOAD challenge. I’ll leave you with a photo of me in the front loader. He thinks I’m a complete goof ball!


Must remember this quote!

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Oh my goodness, I know I should be in bed, but I was logging off my computer and saw this quote on my quote of the day and knew I had to jot down some quick thoughts about it!

If thou hast never been a fool, be sure thou wilt never be a wise man.
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

I think about all the mistakes I have made in my life and know they have helped me grow into the woman I am today. The foolishness of our youth helps us grow and mature. I want to help my students see that this is a natural part of growing up and that it doesn’t mean they are failures!

I’m tired right now, but I sense a scrapbook page coming out of this quote. Perhaps that should be my first challenge for next week. Of course, I need to get my swap cards completed when my new products arrive, so maybe this should be my second challenge!

Happy Easter everyone!

Amy


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