mayBE 2015: fourteen.

Today my good friend Marisa is guest posting!  I have known Marisa for over 20 years and she is also a part of the “I married my high school sweetheart” club. ( She actually is a member of “I married my grade school sweetheart club”). She has been a constant source of creative inspiration.  I love hearing all about her adventures in creativity. My oldest daughter has tagged along on some amazing high school field trips and also attended the arts camp a few years ago.  Her enthusiasm for all things creative is infectious and you can’t help but to want to inject it into your life after speaking with her or being around her family.  (And she is a great source for fun family things to do while in NYC…)


Writing, structure, deadlines are not my favourite things. Little bit of anxiety right now. Rozanne gave me plenty of time to write this. Little did we know this was going to be the most beautiful summer week in spring. Its 3:05am on Sunday May 10th…Happy Mother’s Day! She said to use my own voice to introduce myself …this is me…

I the play the mum role in the Fab4 …soon to be Fab5. Married to long time best friend and collaborator in everything – Eric. We share the same passions, values and visions. We are both teachers and work together on various other projects (photo business, a camp, our home..lots more) but our greatest creations together are our children. Audrey is 8, Max 3 and a little sister is on the way..probably arriving as your read this…for real….I’m 39 weeks along….

I’ve dabbled in all things creative all my life. Loved school but especially all the artistic components of school projects…the skits, the posters, the diorama etc.

I see this in my kids now.


My Parents wanted me to a “professional” – something mathy, sciency…really anything but an artist. It seemed like those parts of school I loved “didn’t really matter” or “count” ..After about grade 3 that spark for learning was harder to find.

One day I decided to be a Pro-Creative (actually I just made up that word…but it works and I like it!). It happened in the last year of highschool. In order to find joy in the things I did, I had to find the creative in it.

I decided to do this in everything I did. It wasn’t school that helped me realize it, but different experiences from part-time jobs, travel, volunteer gigs and meeting creative hardworking people.  I created art for myself and I did what was best for me and not for anyone else.

I think we are all born creative. As kids we are free but then something happens. LIFE. Creativity gets lost. We get caught up in textbooks, testing, what the Jones’ have, fitting into the mold etc…

I ended up getting a degree in Fine Arts but it was those other experiences and initiatives that helped me discover the creative me again. I decided to pursue a teaching degree. On my teacher’s college application, I quoted Einstein:

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”


I’ve taught Art, Photography and Design full time in a high school for the last 12 years. I never really considered myself an artist or a even teacher. I’m more a promoter of creativity and a provider of experiences. This is my art now.

I feel my job at work and as a parent is to help people and my children to find and grow the creativity within. I want them to help them find joy in creating and learning; to find the joy it brings to all aspects of life; and to see things differently and to find that spark again.

I’m big on envisioning a 5 year plan, but the month to month, week by week and even the day by day plans don’t seem to work for us. I know my limits. I don’t over schedule and I don’t structure times for creativity. However, I do actively try to incorporate it into everything we do. By being flexible with our time and commitments, it has allowed my family and students at school to do more creative things, experience so much more out of life, and grow.

At school I have to cover curriculum, mark papers, and fill out proposals. The most joy I get is creating experiences for the students through trips, art shows, leadership opportunities, community outreach and seeing how these experience affect their growth as people and artists.

Eric and I involve our children in many of our extracurricular actives at work. We feel that they can benefit from witnessing the rewards it brings our students and it promotes a positive work ethic and enthusiasm towards volunteer work and service. They come to our school’s art shows, masses, drama productions, trips, graduations and attend some arts council and robotics team meetings. We do not try to totally separate work life and home life because it is who we are. We truly believe it takes a community to raise a child and the best learning and exercising of the creative muscles happen outside of the structure of a classroom.

As consuming as our school year is, we are blessed with jobs that give us time off with our kids in the summer. We take each day as it comes and do a lot of spontaneous trips and activities. Our trips are unstructured which have led to some of the greatest adventures and discoveries.

I take pride that my house is not just a house – an investment or just a place of shelter. It really is a home we have created and it’s a constant work in progress. I try to make every space meaningful and inspiring. We enjoy going to flea markets together and creating collections and working in our garden.

As for personal art, at this point in my life I enjoy capturing and sharing moments of my family with a camera. We like hosting friends and family and setting up themes and activities with and for the kids. We are blessed with many positive people active in our lives. They inspire us by their contributions and support with their time and their talents.

Go to a PRO for a PROMPT…
Sometime we all get into a creative rut. Sometime you need to turn to a pro to give you that prompt to get you out of the rut.

Here’s a good read that I just started “Let the Elephants RUN -Unlock your Creativity and Change Everything” – By David Usher (yup that David Usher- from the band Moist and my university crush!) – anyway…great book with small tasks throughout designed to put creative ideas in motion!

maris_david usher

But if you don’t have the time to read right now…

YOU can be that prompt. Pull out those old journals, sketchbooks and scrapbooks of yours for your inspiration! For me I look at old photographs I’ve taken of past creative endeavors to get the juices flowing again. In our digital age we take soooo many pictures but don’t print anymore. Pull them up, print them up and put them up. Be inspired by you!




In Marisa’s words: pull up, print up, and put up.  She’s right.  We take too many photos and don’t print enough of them. Today print one up that inspires you creatively and simply put it up where you see it every day.  Or print several and collage them together.  Don’t spend too much time choosing.  Think of a time or a place where you felt most yourself or creatively free.

Go back and stay there.

You can leave a comment below or join my top secret life explorers group on Facebook if you want to share any discoveries or explorations.  Friend me  and I will send you an invite!  You can share your thoughts or your creative expressions there.  You can also post on Instagram using #may_BE2015  



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