Saturday, October 31, 2009

Carry me back to ole Kentucky

Kentucky The Blue Grass State. The Kentucky Derby. Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and Garrett Morgan and Muhammad Ali. UK Wildcates and Louisville Cardinals. It's an amazing state. I love coming here.

Last Saturday and Sunday I visited with my cousin, Kathy; her husband, Keith; and my wonderful aunt Cathering (Kathy's mother, my father's sister). It was great. I love being with my extended family. Kathy and I get together and the ideas just flow and flow and flow... Thanks for all the love.

Then I drove up/over/ whatever to Paris, KY in Bourbon County. And, yes, there is good bourbon there. If you want a great beer, make sure you get the Bourbon Ale - only made in Kentucky - and the best beer I've ever had. Linda Ramage opened up her home and made dinner for me and some friends. The porkloin was exceptional and the fresh green beans to die for. Thanks, Linda

My good friend, Mary, and her husband, Jim (whom I adore) again opened their house for me to stay. On Day 1 of programming, in Lexington, I met my parent's friend, Carol - she is a jewel, how blessed that she came to see my presentations and then she opened her home up to me to dress and relax. I ate with my new Kentucky Storyteller friends and watched the amazing storytelling ability of Pam Holcomb - watch out for her - she's got the magic. I ate at Natasha's - good food folks - in Lexington - and attended Wandering Tellers and even did a story at open mic. I believe I can put in pictures, let's see....oops, the picture didn't go where I thought it would, but I hope you like it. Wow, my first pic.
More later...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Leaving Downingtown

Hello, folks. Well, first I must admit I feel much better this morning. I definitely had a cold coming on along with constant performances and it was catching up to me. I slept in this morning and feel a lot better. Still have to travel home and I have a long night ahead getting ready for the Kentucky trip which starts tomorrow. Should be loads of fun!

I had a blast here in the Downingtown area. I met Benita Butcher, President of Brandywin Wallace Elementary School's Homes and Schools (the version of PTA around here). Wonderful woman and she has already tentatively booked me for a program in March. Thanks, Brandywine Wallace teachers for your strong recommendation. :)

Here are a couple things about this area if you come. Try Isaac's Restaurant and Deli behind the Comfort Suites hotel (700 Uwchlan Ave.). The deli has great fresh food and loved the Flamingo (roast beef) sandwich and the Utz combination chips - well done! The Comfort Suites is a new hotel and is great for business travel - free breakfast, good rates and great staff, oh, and great location - 4 restaurants in walking distance (2 outside the back door). Red Robin is here - and they are always good. Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill was my surprise of the week. I thought all they did was pizza - was I wrong. I loved their Lobster and Shrimp Pasta - great. Hot apple cider when I came in the door (and it was free) and Kate was my server both times and remembered me. [Kate is a Kindergarten Teacher at Goddard School in Marshallton area of WEst Chester. I'll be visiting her class today - a little gift.]

Lots of history. I was strongly encouraged by an AFrican-American woman, Levina, I think to visit Downingtown and see the log cabin where her family, the Boggs, lived. They are the oldest AFrican-American family in the Downingtown area and Uwchlan Elementary School has that history drawn on its wall in their cafeteria - Huzzah! I'll be that way today and will make sure to stop by and see.

God continues to watch over me. My biggest lesson this week - slow down and think and take my vitamins and medicine on time and consistently. A lot of my becoming sick was not doing the basics everyday - forgetting vitamins on Monday (all day), not drinking all the water given to me, forgetting to take the Mucinex-DM to assist with my lungs, not sleeping well. So, that is the next thing to watch. Keep me in prayer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Downingtown, PA - Assembly Coordinators

I am performing in the Downingtown, PA Area School District - 4 schools - Pickering Valley, Shamona Creek, Uwchlan (prounced - U-klin) Hills and Springton Manor. So far, I've finished at Pickering Valley and had a great day. I was met by the wonderful smiling faces and loving hearts of Michelle Orris and Beth Stein, and was able to hang with my friend and great teacher, Audrey Blust.

What has impressed me the most about these 4 schools is how the Assembly Coordinators through their "Hands and Families" (their version of PTA) have worked together. They meet together a couple of times a year, share ideas for assemblies and then proceed to work together to bring in interesting assemblies for their students, sharing the load in costs, but planning for the assembly during the same week. Very wise. If more PTA's would do this, actively seek working with other PTA's, they would be able to give so much more to their students. It also helps improve relations between different schools. From a performer's perspective this is wonderful because it gives me more performances at one time and I'm not moving from hotel to hotel or traveling back up to this area several times a year.

Kudos to the Assembly Coordintors - Michelle, Jean, Marie, Alyson, Amanda and Mary Ann - you all have made this Performance Week wonderful!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

- A) My trips, B) My Performances, C) Progress on CD and D) God's hand in all the above
I am in Westminster, MD. Yesterday I performed at Faith Christian School which is held at Hilltop Church. This was the 5th year of performance at the school. I saw kids yesterday that I had met my first year - and they have grown so much. It was funny to see the now high schoolers remembering me. :)

I did a Pre-School program - "My Piano" - which went well. However, the best part of that program was the preparation the teacher gave to her students. I had the opportunity to watch her as she walked her students through how to listen to stories. Then they walked over to where I was sitting and put it in practice - Great job, Ms. Gist!!

I then gave my 18th-Century Storytelling presentation as Ol' Bess to the 3rd and 4th graders. This was the first time the 3rd graders were involved. Wendi Bangerd has been my contact ever since Lora Strosnider left and she continues to do a wonderful job. If you want to know how to do a Colonial Day in the most adverse weather, including inside archaelogy projects - she is the one to contact.

Finally, I ended with a performance for the rest of the Elementary School. I did my AFrican-American stories program which includes spirituals. I will tell you the teachers were just as excited as the students. That was fun to see. And the students, particularly the Kindergarteners, were so excited to see me back. They were waiting for stories. Wouldn't it be great if students wanted all education that bad. I am teaching while telling stories. I told them about spirituals and their creation, about the slaves and how they came from Africa with nothing, but what they had in their minds. And,of course, the morals to the stories. So it's all teaching - we need to find ways to include more and more storytelling into our teaching. I believe I have decided on a new Professional Development about Historical Fiction coming alive - need a title and some permissions with the stories I want to use as examples - should be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Well, I leave in just a little while for home - Yeah!! Only to pack for tomorrow to Pennsylvania. It should be raining all the way to Hampton, and then tomorrow all the way to PA. I'm feeling more and more like a duck.

No progress on the CD, except that everyone wants one. That's good. I've given all my proposals out for investment and we'll see where God leads next. God was so gracious, Wendi and Ms. Howard and I went out to eat at O'Lourdan's Irish PUb in Westminster - loved the atmosphere and the food. Service a tad slow, but doable. Would definitely go back. Then went to see my friend, Lora Strosnider, in the play, "A Turn for the Nurse" at the Carroll Arts Center. She is a great performer and did a wonderful job in the play. Her husband helped with the set, and her son was there to surprise her on opening night as well. It was great to see her. Love you, Lora.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hello, everyone. Well, I am in Oklahoma. I went home for a day and then drove up to BWI airport on Sunday and flew out to Tulsa. It was a good and pleasant trip - very full flights. Ah, but that is Sunday travel. If you want to get good rates adn easy flights - do Saturday, Tuesday or Wednesday travel. Since I had to be home for a program on SAturday (I portrayed Mary Johnson at PHoebus Days), I couldn't abide by my own advice, but it is better on those days.

While on the plane I saw the OSU Womens Equestrian Team. I learned last night at dinner that the Equestrian team is different from the Rodeo Team, and I never knew colleges had either. Also, on the plane I met a couple from Mumbai (Bombay, as we learned in early in school), INdia. Nice couple that now lives in India. On another flight I sat beside some ladies that have been in a club since they were young mothers and now are grandmothers. They travel each year together. 2 years they travel in Texas and the 3rd year they go out of state - they had gone to Newport, Rhode Island (beautiful place - highly suggest you visiting it). I suggested they visit the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN next time. The also played this crazy dice game, which I never did pick up, but it wasn't Yahtzee. They were so comfortable with each other. "A friend sticks closer than a brother" - says Proverbs, and for these ladies it was clear they had walked through a lot together, but had come out stronger.

Yesterday I presented at Zella Ruleford's school, North 4th, 5th, & 6th Grade Center - beautiful school and new. I did Ol' Bess and it was like brushing off an old skin. I had not protrayed her in so long, it was strange to be living through her again. Okay for those who don't know me and my presentations of persons of the post, I actually treat them like they are friends outside of myself. Yes, it's weird, but it's me. The presentations went great. I hope to post a picture or two of the program in the future.

I ate last night with Andrea Rains, Norma Callicoat and Melody Aufill - all great teachers and CWTI graduates. It was great to hang with them, and Shawn - Andrea's husband of 24 years. We were at Eskimo Joe's - a traditional "hangout" in Stillwater (OSU) - and I ate the cheese fries and had a beer, just like President Bush II. :) It was a lot of fun. Okay, time to get ready for the next program.

Oh, I promised to talk a little about starting Storytelling and I'll share about Historic Character Presentations, in my next two writings. Keep a smile on your face, love in your heart and a rainbow around your shoulder.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Third Annual Edutainment School

Hello, Everyone. This is my first time blogging and I hope I can keep up with it. :) Okay, I suppose I should tell about what I want to share. A) My trips, B) My Performances, C) Progress on CD and D) God's hand in all the above.

I am in Sioux City, IA. It's my first time in Iowa and it was my first time in Nebraska. A great flight. I'm here because of the Edutainment Drawing. For the past three years, because God has been so gracious in my business, I have adopted a school each year and provided them with 6 free programs. I truly believed when I started that this was for the schools, however, God has clearly shown me so many miracles and wonders, my faith has increased greatly. First year I was at Vinedale Elementary School, Sun Valley, CA. Second year (last year) I was in Thoreau Elementary School, Thoreau, NM. This year, I am going to be hanging out at Roosevelt Elementary School, Sioux City, IA.

Tonight I'm just working on e-mails and finishing up stuff and reviewing what my program will be tomorrow, as well as having dinner in about 45 mins. at OUtback Steakhouse. So far Sioux City is quiet and it's gray/partly cloudy. I passed lots of cornfields! :)

Great things during the trip: Met Karen from Norfolk - praying for her and her family's comfort in the death of an uncle. Talked with Brittany Hammond (who did the actual drawing from the lottery) and she has been asked to speak to freshmen at the dorms and will share about her relationship with Christ - Amen! - she's getting more and more bold for Christ. Met David who works for Woodmen of the World Insurance - great conversation, actually, he's a great listener. He made me curious about this Insurance company which is non-profit!!

Enough for today. Peace adn belief,