Photo Essay: The Time Machine on My Front Porch

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Life | 43 comments

love who you are owl drawing

kindergarten and first grade G

 first day school photography

first day of school photography ideas

 

photography ideas first day of school

first day of school photography idea

school photography ideas

first day school photography ideas

K through senior photography ideas

 

For more proof of my porch time machine, check out my daughter in last year’s post: The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds.

happy graduation

Now I’ve got two happy graduates. :)

What’s your best advice for graduates?

Happy Monday!

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Just A Little More Time Please

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Life | 37 comments

For the last few months I’ve been working on a project that I really want to finish.

I’m frustrated with myself, because I was supposed to be done in March.

i love to draw

Back to the drawing board.

Oh, I’ve got a bunch of excuses reasons why I’m not done. For one, this project is pushing at the limits of my technological skills.

I took a Photoshop class this spring, but I still have some boundary stretching to do in the tech department.

 

photoshop learning fun

A Grand Illusion

I’d say, don’t try this at home, but you can if you’ve got Photoshop!

Anyway, I’m not done. But all around me things are finishing.

Today was my baby’s son’s last day of high school. It was also my last official day as a parent volunteer at his school.

high school mascot dragon

I sold school t-shirts, but they never made me wear the dragon costume. :)

Two days ago I made the 4,449th cheese sandwich (approximately) to go in my kid’s lunch box.

For the last time.

Because a Lunch Box Provided By Your Mom is not one of the choices for his college meal plan (I checked).

For the last nine months, there’s been his last cross country meet, last all district (and this year all state) chorus concerts, last music awards picnic, last piano lesson and recital, last prom, and lots of senior events that continue the You’re Finished theme.

But I’m not finished.

Not yet.

I just need a little more time.

 

Are you checking stuff off your To Do List? Tell me, I’d love some inspiration. Or a hug. Or a donut. And speaking of donuts…

donuts in richmond VA

Happy National Donut Day!!

xo

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A Road Trip: Thirty-Four Sweet Hours

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Travel | 48 comments

inspirational virgil quote

This weekend we took a quick road trip to Washington D.C.

Somehow we packed three or fours days worth of touring into 34 hours.

DC road trip

We practically had monuments coming out of our ears.

We left home at 9 am on Sunday morning, drove about 100 miles, and then stopped for brunch at The Diner in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.

If you’re gluten-free, I highly recommend the pancakes. YUM.

My guys want you to try the tater tots.

brunch Adams morgan

Tater tots are good for your taste buds.

After pancakes, bread pudding french toast, and a veggie Reuben, we walked to the National Zoo.

Note: The ape house is NOT good for your nose.

gorilla yard national zoo

After mouth breathing my way through the ape house, I’d opt for a day outside too.

We walked A LOT. In 34 hours, I clocked 47,000 steps on my pedometer.

That’s about 20 miles.

tortoise D.C. zoo

I’m moving a little slower today.

Luckily there was plenty of sustenance.

Top Chef Mike Isabella Graffiato

Top Chef alum Mike Isabella’s Graffiato is a fun food adventure.

And that night we had a relaxing moonlight trolley ride around D.C.

Old Town Trolley tours washington d.c.

This was a fitting way to spend Memorial Day weekend.

Memorials in D.C.

The next morning we walked to the National Mall and toured the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

American History car dealership

My son will be waiting a long time to get a car loan at this dealership.

But waiting is not so bad.

D.C. cupcakes

We waited in this line at Georgetown Cupcakes (yes, we also toured Georgetown!)

Easy wait when this is at the end of the line:

D.C. cupcakes gluten free

Especially because the chocolate lava cupcakes were gluten-free.

Then, home again, home again, jiggety jig.

But not before we picked up a souvenir.

D.C. souvenir

How did you spend your weekend? Do you have a favorite tourist spot?

Happy Tuesday!

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Strength: It’s In There

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Inspiration | 47 comments

strength and sprit

finish strong

finish strong

strength of spirit

jump into ocean spirit

spirit determination run

Strength. It’s in there.

 

Family. Friends. The pretty cool inspiration in the world around me. Coffee. :) These are just a few of the things that keep me going strong.

How do you tap into your inner strength? 

 Happy Monday!

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Guat’s up? Building a Library, Friendship, & Community

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Inspiration | 46 comments

MLWGS guatemala

 

Today’s post is brought to you by my son and his Relevance Rising seminar classmates.

For the past year they’ve been raising money and awareness towards their international service project Biblioteca Comunitaria Tzununa in Guatemala.

And last month they traveled there to lend a hand.

 

guatemala volcano

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

 

Fruits of labor

Santa Catarina

 

Panajachel Guatemala

Panajachel Nature Reserve

 

tzununa lake atitlan dock

Boat ride from Panajachel to Tzununa

Lake Atitlan

 

tzununa guatemala journey

The path to Tzununa

 

clearing tzununa library site

Clearing rocks and weeds for the site of the future Tzununa library.

 

guatemala library site

tzununa children guatemalaTzununa village children

 

 

These last two pictures were captured by the children–they loved playing with my son’s camera. :)

 

Tzununa school

relevance rising MLWGS

 

If you’d like to read some more words from the students, check out their Tumblr page HERE.

 

What’s inspiring you this week?

Happy Monday!

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The Chocolate Made Me Do It

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Inspiration | 69 comments

follow chocolate

It’s probably not a secret that I like chocolate (or most desserts, for that matter).

 

chocolate tweet

 

Plus, I’m impressionable, or maybe better yet, let’s say, easily inspired?

 

white cup doodling

Some coffee inspiration

 

So when children’s author, Susanna Leonard Hill, posted about this:

 

The First Ever Pretty-Much-World-Famous Illustration Contest!!!

susanna hill contest

 

I got caught up in the glamour, the intrigue, the excuse to go to the craft store to buy more art supplies, and well,

a little chocolate hypnosis.

Because Susanna is one of my blogger friends who likes to post yummy chocolate pictures in her posts.

Of course she posts tons of other cool stuff about writing for children, but again there’s that mesmerizing chocolate.

So my creativity took over (as soon as I had a brand new set of watercolor pencils in my hands) and the result is an illustration for a fun story from Susanna’s March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest,

The Princess and the Stinky Cheese

 by Lauri Meyers.

 

The chocolate made me do it.

 

illustration tpatsc

Check out more illustrations HERE.

 

Have you ever experienced chocolate (or any other food induced) hypnosis? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me in the comments. :)

Happy Monday!

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Whittling the World Down to a More Manageable Size

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Photography | 52 comments

Susan Orlean The Orchid Thief

 

Lewis Ginter botanical gardens

 

flower against sky

 

world is full of possibility

 

dandelion close up

 

Dogwood trees macro

 Do you know what kind of bug this is??? 

It looks like a praying mantis, but it’s about the size of a nickel. What do you think?

Bugs and flowers aside, my daughter came home for a visit last week, so I’ve also been happily focusing on family. :)

 

What are you taking a closer look at lately?

Tell me, I’d love to know!!

family R C

HAPPY MONDAY!

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Brave as a Dancing Chicken

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Life | 61 comments

A.A. Milne quote brave

 

Sometimes I’m a chicken.

In college, I actually narrowed down my choice of majors to those that didn’t require public speaking 101.

Bawk.

 

quaker steak chicken mascot

 

 

That chicken with the big grin is my 14 year old nephew. In public, he’s mostly a quiet kid.

But it’s interesting what happens when you put a quiet kid in a chicken suit.

 

 

Braver than he thinks? Maybe.

I could’ve used a chicken suit a couple of weeks ago when I spoke on a panel about the creative life during an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) event.

At least just to start out. :)

 

writer's panel SCBWI

 

Because I was having an out of body experience nervous. I can’t really remember anything I said, but hey, I did it.

(I’m pretty sure I spoke from the heart , it was practically in my throat anyway).

I was also nervous about the authors fair and book signing. But that turned out to be fun.

 

meeting authors

 

I met national book award winner, Kathryn Erskine. She’s super sweet. She signed a book for me and then even came over to my table and bought one of my books!!

 

local authors fair

(I just realized I picked a table next to the fire alarm. Panic much?)

 

The book fair wasn’t so scary. Writers (and readers) may be a quiet bunch, but everyone was friendly.

 

local authors fair

Sharon Rainey, Richard L. Towers, Nancy Hannan

 

I chatted with authors. I signed some books. I’m pretty sure I didn’t squawk or bawk once.

I’m braver than I thought.

Even without a chicken costume.

 

How are you feeling brave (or strong, or smart) this week? Would you have more courage dressed in a chicken suit? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!

Happy Monday!

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Reading Gives You Wings

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Books | 28 comments

bird book cartoon

I’m spreading my wings!

 

This weekend I will be participating in a local authors fair at Cascades library in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

There will be bunches of SUPER cool author peeps.

 

cascades library fair 2

Super cool author peep, Kathryn Erskine.

 

And books and book stuff.

 

YA book swag

 

And coffee, I’m sure. Although, I should probably switch to decaf.

 

drawing on Starbucks cup

Me + Caffeine (and/or nerves) = Doodles

 

I’m grateful, excited, nervous, but also very CURIOUS. :)

 

Are you spreading your wings? How do you calm your nerves?

Happy Wednesday!

Coleen Patrick

 

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Photo Essay: Friendly Roads and Sunny Faces

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Travel | 42 comments

may the road rise to meet you

May the road rise up to meet you.

hats williamsburg

May the wind be always at your back.

light in window

May the sun shine warm upon your face…

tree and clouds

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

light through doorway

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

**All photos taken at Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia and Colonial Williamsburg.

 

Historical tidbit I learned at Shirley Plantation: Did you know that it wasn’t uncommon for portrait painters (and their entire family) to move in with their subjects?

Real Portrait Painters of the Thirteen Colonies. Would you watch that reality show?

I imagine the experience hastened the invention of photography. :)

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Coleen Patrick

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