As I'm writing this post, young people all over the country are organizing for March for Our Lives. The Kuwait America Foundation's wish for our young people through Do the Write Thing is an interesting parallel. We knew then that young people had the answers, but it seems like they are finally recognizing and organizing. I am in such awe of the leadership that it emerging. Ok. Here's Justin!
Yesterday, in a very off the cuff comment about Justin Bieber (in reference to what might bring an arts and crafts class of middle school aged girls in Haiti to a 'screaming halt' ), I suggested a snake, a spider, a hurricane, or Justin Bieber. Unlike most people, I don't think of Justin often, but it reminded me of a video my friend Special K, one of the Harlem Globetrotters had sent me years ago.
Kevin "Special K" Daley was a guest speaker at a dinner in Washington D.C., speaking to the young people at the Do the Write Thing (DTWT) conference. I had heard the globetrotters were there and Kevin was in a suit so I wasn't sure, but judging by his height, I thought the odds were good he might be one! I introduced myself as one of the youth chaperones, said I had heard the globetrotters were there, thought he might be one but if not, he was tall enough to look over the crowd and help me find them. He laughed and our friendship began!
DTWT originated from the Kuwait America Foundation as an expression of gratitude. The citizens of Kuwait wanted to extend appreciations to the United States because we made Kuwait a safer place for their children. Their hope was that youth in communities throughout the United States would be safer through the reflection and suggestions initiated by the Do the Write Thing Challenge. The ultimate goal was that young people would be empowered to make the changes that would break the cycle of violence in their homes, schools and communities. This was the first year Harrisburg Area youth participated.
Judge Jeannine Turgeon, from Dauphin County, PA, brought the program to the Harrisburg area. Communities across the country participated in their local communities and each chose two ambassadors to attend the summer event. There was a week long event where students met their representative, attended an event at the Kuwait embassy, and a ceremony at the Library of Congress where their essays were submitted.
Students discussed the problem of youth violence with their teachers in a classroom setting and then wrote their own reflections to three questions:
1) How has youth violence affected my life?
2) What are the causes of youth violence?
3) What can I do to reduce youth violence?
Judge Turgeon's courtroom was filled with students who participated in the Do the Write Thing Challenge. JT feels that acedemic pursuits should be given the same respect as those in sports so she ensures that the students have trophies and certificates. Parents and teachers looked on proudly as middle schools students were honored for their efforts.
The guidelines for 2018 Do the Write Thing are up on their website. i strongly advise anyone who has middle school students to encourage their student's teacher to get involved, These are exciting times as young people discover they do have a voice and what they are saying is important.. http://www.dtwt.org/the-challenge/instructions
“As kids, we don’t always have a voice, so having a person there listening to us, then it would make us feel more important. Since adolescents are the future, we need a positive presence to lead us into a positive future. Learning to help kids would be beneficial tomorrow and in the generations to come.” ~ student from Do the Write Thing
" . . . for all the beauty you add to the world, and to my life especially . . . "
I can't imagine a better way to describe Carrie's gift to me than the sentiment she included (above) in the gorgeous card she created. Just look at the way she has packaged these treasures! The attention to detail and the intricate laces are pure delight.
A few weeks ago I was painting roses and there was a photograph of the vase Nancy gave me in one of the pictures. Carrie mentioned that she had the tray to match it. It never occurred to me that she would pack it up and send it! She included a card, an embroidered linen doily, a crabapple candle that smells good enough to eat, and a candle holder adorned with stars and berries!
Mycenea brought me a gorgeous bouquet of roses!
"Orange roses - a literal mixture of yellow and red, orange roses were seen as a bridge between friendship symbolized by yellow roses and love represented by red roses. They can be an expression of fascination, or a gift to say 'I'm proud of you." Aw! Hope so!
Mycenea, Nancy and I met for dinner at Rockbass and shared appetizers and desserts as well as lively conversation. The food and view were divine. It's one of my favorite restaurants in Harrisburg.
The Millennium Music Conference featured almost 400 artists and bands through the Harrisburg area. Mycenea's band, Pleiades, with Ross Kennedy and Chuck Kembring, was featured at 10:00 p.m. at the Coliseum on my birthday! A once in a lifetime gift and a memories I cherish!
Our trip was overflowing with fun that ended much too soon! Thank you to Nancy for planning weeks ahead to ensure that my birthday would be filled with memorable moments!
The festivities continues when I returned home! Mycala took me to the Melting Pot for a full course fondue experience! We had cheddar cheese fondue with veggies, breads and applies followed by the house garden salad. Next came surf and turf with a variety of vegetables and six sauces. The meal ended with Pure Chocolate fondue with cookies, cakes, marshmallows, strawberries, pineapple and bananas. Bliss!
This morning I journaled on my new couch, enjoying my roses! One of the best parts about going away is coming home!
Today I decided to paint roses on the journal I made before giving it as a gift. The rose on the cover also has the recipient's name so I'm not going to share it because I don't want to take the chance that she might see it. She has no idea it's coming!
But I will show you the rose I painted on the first page of the journal next to the lace pocket. I love the way it turned out. It has a raised effect. I was delighted that it didn't seep through the hand made papers. The paper has such a delicate look but will be perfect for journaling, and I can be assured that pens and paints won't seep through!
Also painted and sent out a few cards today - one to a friend whose mother just passed, a get well card, a birthday card and one to send congratulations. It seems there are reasons to send them as quickly as the paint meets the paper. Roses are appropriate for so many occasions.
Yesterday we returned to classes at RI. Nancy, our choral director extraordinaire, passed out the music for our spring session. She chose a song from each of six decades. All wonderful. My favorite - Imagine!
1920s - Every Night When the Sun Goes Down
1930s - The Glory of Love
1940s - Look to the Rainbow
1950s - I Love Rock 'n Roll Medley
1960s - Never My Love
1970s - Imagine
One of my favorite Baltimore memories - the Ding Dongs at the lighting of the Washington Monument . This year we will be singing at an official tree lighting event at City Hall with the mayor! We have been requested to sing under the name Sweet Silver Bells instead of Ding Dongs - guess that name was just too tacky! Ha! Regardless, the harmonies will be fabulous and the costumes will range from elegant to outrageous! You just never know what to expect from a Ding Dong!
After two months of choral practice and hours at the sewing machine, let the festivities begin! Our four part harmonies are awesome and the mayor of Baltimore has invited us to sing at one of the city's events - pictures to follow.
Last year my heart wasn't in participating since the songs reminded of singing with my brother who had passed in early November. Time helped heal the wounds. This year my Christmas spirit has returned and I'm feeling blessed to be in two choral groups.
Yesterday i made my Mrs. Santa Claus hat. The faux fur pompom and trim were much too stark white to go with my ivory cape so I removed and tea stained them and cut a new hat out of the red velvet I used to make my skirt and top. I decorated with fabric roses, stars, feathers and a Christmas ball. The hat is light weight and has a hidden velcro closing in the back to ensure a good fit.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance", Shakespeare's Ophelia reminds us.
Herbs are delightful in so many ways - fragrance, flavor, visually. When we add symbolism, and they are gifts from a friend, it lifts them to an even higher level.
My friend Janet is moving and she is sharing special gifts with friends as she downsizes. She took my class on Enhancing Your Life with Herbs and she knows how I love them, so she offered me a set of herbal pots. In addition, she brought a bag filled with colorful beads, two copies of Flow magazine, a favorite, and a book on Ancient Herbs for the J. Paul Getty Museum.
This morning I transplanted oregano, rosemary and basil from my garden to the pots. The herbs seem to know they've gotten a reprieve from winter's cold and are happily looking out the dining room window at their less fortunate friends, still in the garden. If only I had a greenhouse and could bring them all indoors.
Thank you Janet! These delightful gifts are not only today's treasures, but will be loved and enjoyed for a long time to come.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!