Monday, February 16, 2015

{Guiding Word 2015} Courage

If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity.
  - Albert Einstein

The concept of a guiding word was first introduced to me by Amy of Mama Scout. It resonated with me. It made more sense than making New Year's Resolutions. Last year, I had no trouble at all selecting my guiding word: compassion. In fact, I've realized it is my guiding word for life, not just for 2014. However, I did want to select a new guiding word for this year, one that spoke specifically to my goals for the year and the challenges I felt myself facing and seeking to overcome. 

It took a bit longer for me to realize what they word should be, but here it is:


This year, I'm embarking on a journey that scares me and pushes me out of my comfort zone. But, as I look back at my life, I realize that so many of the best things in my life came when I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith, attempting something I wasn't quite sure that I could do. So, I'm drawing strength from my past as I move forward and into a year focused on courage. 

While I LOVE this blog, one of the most courageous things I'm doing this year is giving up my blog, for now. This is only my third post for the year and most likely my last. (There's plenty of past content to enjoy, though!) 

This blog and you, my readers, have been invaluable for me. When I began writing about the activities I did with my children and my experiences as a parent, I was at home with two children and no longer working outside of the home. I lived in a rather rural community where I did not know many people and sharing a car with my husband who often worked relatively far away. In short, I was extremely isolated. Connecting to others through this blog made a world of difference.

Now, though, I'm in a different place. I've built a strong and vibrant community around me of other mothers that I can connect with and who have children my sons love to play with. I have found a way to bolster and move my production company forward through work that I can do at home. My husband's work outside of the home is much closer to home, now, so I have access to our car more frequently. And, we've moved certain projects forward with our production company successfully enough that I now need to focus more specifically and exclusively on work for our company. Thus, the blogging break I am planning for this year. I'll still write occasionally as a guest blogger for Multicultural Kid Blogs and am still sharing on The Good Long Road Facebook page, but won't post anything new here. I hope you'll stay connected with me through Facebook or Twitter. 

And, if you're curious about what else I am up to, you can follow Spotlight On Hope Film Camp on Facebook and/or Think Ten Media Group on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter, where I'll be sharing about my work and life as an indie filmmaker as well as some of my favorite parenting and kid lit resources and books.

I could certainly expand much more on what courage means for me this year and speak in length about the social justice issues that I feel require me to brave and bold and not silent, but then this post might never end. What I most needed to do here, on The Good Long Road, was be courageous enough to let go of this very important part of me for now.

In the first and only film class I ever took at Harvard, my professor spoke about the importance of "cutting something you love" if you're making a great film, and I'm discovering that the same is often true for life. 

When living a brave, bold and wonderful life, sometimes we have to give up things that we love...

...if only for a little while. It is scary to do so, but at times it is necessary.

I've realized that I cannot be the parent I want to be, produce the film work I want to produce, and be the blogger I want to be. There's just not enough of me to go around, and if by taking photos and writing about the books and activities I'm doing with Wild Thing and Caterpillar pulls me away from doing those activities, then it's time to take a break.

For those of you reading this and who have followed me in the past, thank you! 

I'm wrapping up this post where it started, with some inspiration from Mama Scout. Join her upcoming Dream Lab and experience a wonderful community of women supporting and inspiring one another to be bold! 

Image created by Mama Scout.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

{Multicultural Children's Book Day} Today The Teacher Changed Our Seats

Celebrating Diversity Through Children's Books

I received a free copy of this book to review as part of
Multicultural Children's Book Day. The views expressed are my own.

We love discovering new books, especially books that include characters that reflect the diverse world in which we live. Not only does Today the Teacher Changed Our Seats feature a diverse group of students in the classroom as well as an African-American male teacher, but it is also a book that allows for learning discussions and activities around the math concept of grouping and the reality that sometimes teachers do things our children don't like (i.e. separating them from their friends or asking them to sit somewhere new). 

Since grouping is a math concept my 3 and 5 year-old aren't really familiar with, I wasn't sure if the book would engage them, but I was wrong. Wild Thing (my 5 year-old son) LOVES math, so the idea that this book was a book about math excited him. I think he also liked seeing a teacher in a book that was an African-American man, since his dad (who is African-American and Latino teaches filmmaking and digital arts two days a week at Wild Thing's charter school).

Another surprise for me was how well this book engaged my early reader. Many of the words in the book are words Wild Thing is learning to read: yellow, red, gray, green, so he and I enjoyed reading the book together as I read most of the words, and he read the words that he knew. Plus, the math focus of the book had him spouting addition facts to me, which was fun.

I always notice that my sons, who are part of a very multicultural family, always get extra excited about books that include children and adults that look like the family and friends they have, which is why I love being a part of Multicultural Children's Book Day! 

Please check out my post from last year for Multicultural Children's Book Day and 10 of our favorite Multicultural Children's Books. I'd love to know what some of your favorites are too.