Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Spy Hearts...

An enchanting day at the first (and hopefully annual) 7Springs Storywalk. Tuki and Stu took on a life of their own (literally) along with other favorite picture book characters. Artist Martha Murphy (Waking Bear Studio) painted the wonderful life-size murals. As author of The One That Counts, I read my story from an over-sized book to curious children of all ages. As I turned each large page, I witnessed expressions of surprise and delight as Tuki and Stu discovered the heart that counted the most! When I asked the kids, "Where did Stu feel the heart?", some patted the tops of their heads, but most knew without a doubt, that Stu felt Tuki's kindness inside (as these young listeners pointed to their own hearts).

 Ernie with grandson finding all sorts of hearts.
Taking the initiative to draw their own pictures and hearts! 
Lavender hearts!

Following the story, children and parents were given an "I Spy" activity of an imaginary forest (I illustrated) full of hidden hearts... 32 to be exact! They counted and colored hearts with bright hues of red, purple, yellow, orange and blue. In the eyes of children, hearts come in many colors... I wish we could all see it that way.  

Kelly Frye, Mike Clark and Michelle Wright...  Pittsburgh celebrities read some of the other stories to children at the Storywalk with passion and zest! 

The audience grew bigger and bigger and more curious as
Tuki &Stu bowled for peanuts!

Although I'm not a celebrity, all those attentive little faces made me feel like one...
 just for a day! 

Tuki & Stu with new friends! 

Orange you glad everyone has a heart?

Have you read The One That Counts?
email: to order your copy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuki and Stu join Storywalk at Seven Springs on Saturday!

 Look Tuki, there's a heart!

Hearts are everywhere as Tuki and Stu, two elephant friends, discover on their way into town for a fun afternoon of pizza and bowling.  Bossy Stu challenges Tuki to a game of "counting hearts" and is determined to win!  At seven to none, Tuki learns not all hearts are visible to the eye and begins to feel hopeless until… the one heart that truly counts is found.              
   The One That Counts is a visually engaging and imaginative story that underlines the power of friendship.


 What is Storywalk?

Nolan reads The One That Counts to Kate

A Project of the Pittsburgh Association for Education of Young Children (PAEYC)
Kate finds a heart!
Storywalk is a free, fun-filled, 3hour family event.  It’s a chance for children to experience the wonder of books and the art of storytelling. It encourages children to listen, read, write and imagine as they make their way from story to story; each one marked by a representative set piece and read from an oversized copy of the book!

Meanwhile, between stories local community and cultural organizations will be there to supply information about their services and offer family–friendly activities to entertain and inspire the children’s creativity – things like recording their own stories, bookmaking, and other crafts.

There will be music, face painting, African drumming, literacy building activities sponsored by 7Springs.

WHEN: Saturday, August 20th from 10:00am – 1:00pm
WHERE:  Seven Springs Resort
Nolan & Kate together find the one that counts!
PS- Join Tuki and Stu and look for hearts in the world around you! Take a picture and post it on

Photo by Bob Rice 
Like Stu, I too found a puddle-heart !  Just after a light morning rain, I was jogging around the park in Beaver with my "Pilates On 3rd" friends and there it was...

Photographer Bob Rice, who lives on the corner, was kind enough to come out and take a photo!

Orange you happy to find a heart and share a heart?

BatCat Press
The One That Counts was published by BatCat Press, a small press that operates in conjunction with Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, Midland, PA. The staff consists of literary and media students who have designed the layout, assembled each book cover by hand, and used a single binding machine to complete the process.  The result, each book artfully crafted with a little character of its own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Aunt Helen; Sister Maureen Therese

Silo & Wildflowers

My sisters and I took a 5 hour road trip to Adrian, Michigan to visit our Aunt Helen, better known as Sister Maureen Therese. A devoted nun with The Dominican Sisters for over 60 years.
   As we crossed over the state line from Ohio to Michigan, red barns, wild flowers, silos and cornfields line the road that lead us into Adrian. 

Vickie, Theresa, & me with Aunt Helen
Period architecture lends the downtown and campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters a distinctive turn-of-the-last-century atmosphere, with graceful homes in the Queen Anne and Greek Revival styles. Siena Heights University, founded in 1919, is noted for it's fine arts program.
Heavenly Door- 
has a halo :)

   We stayed at the Weber Center (a retreat and conference center on campus) which also houses the old selection of the academy. As we were eating lunch, I noticed a series of illustrations (drawn in pencil) that encompassed the room. My Aunt Helen explained the drawings were originally from a book (now out of print) titled, Amid the Alien Corn, based on the Book of Ruth from the old testament. The drawings depicted the history and daily routines of the first Dominican Sisters.  Looking more closely, the scenes were drawn realistically in contrast and details and yet, had an abstract quality defining angles and depth as each one told its own complex story. The subjects were relevant to the time; an vintage iron and ironing board, a ladder-back chair adjacent to a vase of lilies, nuns dressed in the traditional habits, but more intriguing was the subtle symbolism that was worked in to the pieces; an opened window graced by the wind. 

A brief summary, The Book of Ruth:
Sit for a while...
There was a famine in Israel. Naomi was forced to emigrate to Moab. There her sons were married to two Moabite women: Ruth and Orpah.  Naomi's husband and her two sons then died leaving her a widow with two daughter-in-law who were Moabites-the traditional enemies of the Israelites. Naomi decided to return to Israel. She advised Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab and remarry people of their own kind. Orpah remained in Moab and disappeared into history. Ruth, on the other hand, decided to follow Naomi. She implore...

Amid the fields     (passing by in a car...movement blurs photo for a painterly effect)
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried:
the LORD do so to me,
and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.

Naomi and Ruth had to glean for a living, as it was in the middle of the barley harvest.  Ruth worked so hard that she attracted the attention of Boaz who kept her save in his field. Naomi, playing the matchmaker, encouraged Ruth to sleep at the feet of Boaz at night while he guarded his harvest. When Boaz married Ruth, the Moabite, he introduced gentile blood into the bloodline of Christ.

I began to understand the the correlation between the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Ruth...symbolically, they too are amid the cornfields committed to harvesting the word of God.

Orange you blessed to know that someone is always praying for you?