Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T is for Turtle!!

I love the fact that the students who ride the Peacebus are being filled with artful inspirations every day! Continuously I’m being gifted with colourful peace art designs that I use to decorate our bus. Occasionally, I create fun art competitions to focus their talents on specific topics… like turtles!!!

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve created a fun and educational group on Facebook revolving around the subject of turtles (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/turtlebookink/
- please feel free to join our group) and so, I thought that it would be fun to add some creative artworks to the growing library of turtle images!

In the past, whenever I’ve created an art competition, I’ve usually prepared a sheet of paper with information about the art topic to hand out to the students who want to participate.

This time I didn’t. I simple told the students about the competition and then let them have complete control over their own creativity. I’m so glad that I did!

Most of the drawings that were handing in to me where created on regular sized peaces of paper…

… but one student really blew me away when she handed in this rather large turtle poster!!!! Melanie’s artwork is almost three feet long and it is filled with so many wonderful turtle activities. There are turtles swimming with peace fish, rowing boats and rock climbing. It reminds me of a turtle peace resort!

I just rolled with laughter when I noticed this fun character screaming ‘Rock and Roll!’ while he was parachuting to the Earth!

My wife especially liked these turtles playing on a peace rock with one turtle playing with a turtle balloon!!!! Way tew kewt!!!!

Well… after I showed the rest of the student’s this art poster I’m sure that you can imagine what happened. Yup! More art posters!!!

This art poster is so long that I was only able to capture a portion of it to share with you. You can see that Kira has a parade of colourful turtles marching along peacefully, surrounded by a peace sun and peaceful butterflies. You can see that she’s numbered each of the turtles. The poster ended when she reached 15!!

There must be something about turtles that makes people think about relaxing. Here’s another drawing of a group of turtles relaxing at a resort…

… while Sydney shows just one turtle relaxing under the sun!!! I’m looking out my window, as I write this, and I’m seeing drops of rain and fallen leaves being blown by a bitterly cold wind and then I look at this drawing and I’m reminded of summer again!

A few of these drawings ended up on the windows of the Peacebus, so that more people could see and enjoy them!

I love it when a student hands in a drawing for the very first time. This amazing artwork was created by Nikos in grade 3. Just look at all the detail. - two turtles drawn using nothing but peace symbols, swimming in an ocean of peace! Being a bit of an artist myself, I’m completely aware of the dedication to detail that this kind of creation demands.

And talking about detail… just check out Dalia’s artwork, here!!!! My eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped when she handed in this creation. I asked her how long this took to complete and I was not surprised when Dalia told me that it took her a little over four hours!!

Really, all the artworks impressed me greatly. The many varieties of colours, textures and environments that the turtles found themselves in, shows a mountain range of imagination. This is one reason why I love my job!!!

Jasmine is one of my great art talents! She has also joined my Facebook group called ‘Turtle Book Ink’ (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/turtlebookink/)and she visits this page quite often. I love how she included a turtle book into her drawing. The turtle sliding down the peace rainbow really makes me smile, too!!!!

This is Zarek’s first drawing for the Peacebus, and what a delight it is! When I was first talking about this competition, I told the students that they should think about what kind of environment their turtle would be in. Zarek really blew me away with this creation, complete with an ocean lapping up to a peace beach with some peace trees and shrubs in the distance leading to a peaceful and spouting volcano!! Tres cool!

Now, Andor here went in a different direction, creating a very abstract and psychedelic world filled with gumdrop peace turtles. I think that John Lennon would have been inspired to write about this artwork in one of his songs!

Because the students hand in so much artwork, I sometimes – more like all the time – find myself getting behind in putting their drawings up on the bus. I’ve had some students ask me why their art isn’t on the bus and so I’ve had to tell them all that they have to be patient, “… and because the window decorations don’t last very long during the wet winter months, I’m even saving some until next spring.”

Like Rachel’s two peace turtle designs. It’ll be fun to see the students’ expressions after they have forgotten about their artworks and then suddenly, there they are filling the windows with bright colours to match the colours of springtime!

Mira is a student who rode on the Peacebus last year. She is friends with several of the students who are now riding my bus and she hears about all of our adventures. She also heard that Mr. Jim and his wife had a baby and I was delighted when she came to visit me and to give me this amazing artwork!!!! My wife loves this drawing and she said that Mira did a great job putting her in the most styling of high-heeled shoes!

Melanie handed in another turtle artwork, just a few days ago. She told me that she knew the art competition was over, “but now I just love turtles and I had to draw another one!” In the past, many drawings were addressed to ‘Mr. Jim’. Lately, I’ve noticed that they are now being addressed to ‘Daddy Mr. Jim’ or just ‘Daddy Jim’!!!! This makes my whole soul smile.

When anyone hands a drawing in to me, I always give them one of my black and white peace Stik-ers. This fact remained the same for this turtle art competition.

I told the students that there would be a several winners who would receive an additional prize. As is often the case, I couldn’t figure out who the winners should be – all the artworks were exceptionally creative and well executed. So, I decided to give all participants a small prize to show my appreciation.

I had shown the drawings of the turtle mural I had painted for Devon’s bedroom and I heard many ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’ throughout the bus. So, I decided that since everyone seemed to like the turtle mural image that I would make some large stickers using this image and that these would be the prizes for all the participating artists.

I don’t like doing anything that doesn’t include all the students on the bus, so I made an additional present to share with each Peacebus student. I used Ava’s peace turtle design to create a whole bunch of smaller stickers to share! Everyone loved them!! Ava was absolutely surprised, a bit shocked and overwhelmed with gratitude that I had chosen to use her design to share with the whole bus!

Well, we are at the end of this story, but rest assured that this is not the end of the Peacebus art adventures that I will delight in sharing with you in the future!

Until then, be peaceful and be turtley!!!!

Mr. Jim

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let Me Introduce To You…

It was Sunday, October 23rd just around 7:00pm. I had spent the last few hours working outside, doing my Autumn gardening chores. The sun had just set for the evening and I was enjoying a nice cold beer by the fire. I was burning my collection of sticks that I had collected over the summer, in a burn barrel placed in the middle of my garden. The ashes help to add nitrogen to the soil and this is a good thing, for my veggies next year.

I heard Joanne’s footsteps as they crinkled on the dried leaves, scattered over the ground underneath our Maple tree. I thought that she had come to spend some time with me and to get some fresh air. Jo’ had been complaining about headaches over the last two days and I thought that a little night air would do her good.

Well… her visit didn’t last for more than a minute, in which time she told me that she thought it would be best to go to the hospital to make sure she was okay. Her headache had gotten worse.

While she loaded a few bags into the car, I finished putting out the fire and soon we were off to the hospital.

A short while later, Jo’ was laying in a bed with all sorts of monitors taped to her belly that were hooked up to that machine that goes ‘Bing!’ A doctor told us that we would not be leaving the hospital that evening and that we should be expecting to be moved to the ‘Baby Delivery Room’ very shortly!!!!

Everything was a rapid blur after that point. Nurses fussed about. Doctor’s came for periodic visits. Other specialists prepared the ‘baby warmer’ that would later be used to make sure our baby was cooked thoroughly before dinner!!! Okay – that was indeed a silly and bad joke!

I won’t get into any more detail than that – simply because I want to make sure that some of the memories from this night of all nights remain forever ours – but what seemed like a very short time later, Joanne and I were resting and thinking about this miraculous gift that had just come into our lives!

I will share this, tho’… when I saw our son being born I felt very odd. I was holding Joanne in my arms, she was quite exhausted, the moment of delivery had just past and I was whispering words of comfort into her ear. She looked up at me and my heart began to expand so that my insides hurt. As I looked back at her, my vision blurred and a tear ran out of my eye. Joanne had also cried and my tear dropped to her face and joined hers. I never knew that LOVE could ever feel as joyous as it did at that moment!

A short while later, our son was washed, swaddled and in mommy’s arms for the very first time. We had a small choice of names for him and seconds after he was in Joanne’s embrace she told me that he looked like a Devon. Devon James Kogelheide was born on Monday, October 24th at 7:38am, weighing in at 6 pounds 9.3 ounces.

Like most new parents, our first day was a bit of a blur. Joanne’s parents lived the closest and they were the first to arrive to meet their grandson.

My parents and sister had to travel a 3 hour drive and they arrived in the early afternoon.

My sister is a very love filled person and I could see that she was working hard to hold back most of her tears of joy! I’m sure that Devon will be spoiled with the many wonderful treats that Sandra enjoys baking.

Soon, everyone was in agreement that mommy needed some sleep and for the next few hours I kept watch…

… but I couldn’t contain myself for too long and soon Devon was in my arms again!

With our world turned completely around, there was little time for much thinking over the next few days. We slept when we could and we took care of our little son as he needed.

Since then, it’s been all about building a healthy routine into his life. The first topic of discussion being to teach Devon about this thing called night and day.

Every evening at around 8:00pm “It’s Bath-time, It’s Bath-time, It’s Buh-Buh-Buh-Buh-Bath-time!” Then he feeds, gets changed and double swaddled for the night.

To bring in the day, he feeds, gets changed and then spends time dancing around the living room in daddy’s arms while listening to some good ‘ol Rock’N’Roll – something with a deep bass rhythm! The curtains are opened to let in the light and if the weather permits, he gets a stroller ride.

Every day, we would get new ideas about how we can do the things that we need to do for him. Every day, we’ve been getting better and better. Joanne and I have never been happier and we both know that Devon will have a happy life filled with lots and lots of love!!!!

Now… even though Devon spends much of his time sleeping and growing and will have no memories of this time in his life, that doesn’t mean that daddy isn’t having fun with him!!!

Halloween was my first day back to work and I thought that it would be fun for my Peacebus students to see me all decorated up. When I got home, Jo’ helped me to take a few photos so that I could have a new profile picture for Facebook.

It seems that I’ve now become addicted… addicted to writing funny thought bubbles for Devon!!! Did you notice how I used the lyrics ‘monkey fingers’ from the Beatles song “Come Together” in this pic.

Ha! Now I’ve gotten carried away!!

So… I thought that it would be cool to highlight some of the other worldly things that happened on Devon’s birthday, to finish this story…

The first news story that I heard on the radio, after Devon’s birth was on CBC radio. They announced that new figures show that the violent crime rate has decreased dramatically. They are at the lowest levels in almost 40 years!!! One reason is that today’s youths are better educated about how to handle aggression and peer pressure and that tolerance for these sorts of crimes has decreased.

One of my hopes for the future is that education will also decrease today’s youths’ tolerance for greed and environmental degradation!

In 1978 The Rolling Stones released the album ‘Some Girls’. Over 30 years later, the song ‘No Spare Parts’ – that was recorded during this time – is found and dusted off. On Devon’s birthday, this song is released to the world.

have a listen….

Our world’s history is also filled with many other peaceful events that happened on this same day…

2002 – Police arrest spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, DC.

1986Nezar Hindawi is sentenced to 45 years in prison, the longest sentence handed down by a British court, for the attempted bombing on an El Al flight at Heathrow.

1973Yom Kippur War ends

1964Northern Rhodesia gains independence from the United Kingdom and becomes the Republic of Zambia

1949 – The cornerstone of the United Nations Headquarters is laid.

1946 – A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space.

1911Orville Wright remains in the air 9 minutes and 45 seconds in a Wright Glider at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

1861 – The First Transcontinental Telegraph line across the United States is completed.

1648 – The Peace of Westphalia is signed, marking the end of the Thirty Years' War.

1360 – The Treaty of Brétigny is ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War.

Hmmmm… I’m beginning to see a pattern - huge leaps in technological advances, human unifications and social justices!

Maybe, just maybe, Devon’s generation will accomplish what humanities existance has always sought after – Peace On Earth!!! I may not be able to predict the future for our world but I do know that I will always stand by my son to support and guide him as humanities journey continues…


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


In the fields of chronology and periodization, an epoch (from Greek Εποχή epohi meaning "era") means an instance in time chosen as the origin of a particular era. The "epoch" then serves as a reference point from which time is measured.

Over the last few months, my wife and I have been preparing for the arrival of our son. One of the tasks that Joanne gave to me was filling this empty wall, in the baby’s room, with a nice wall mural.

My first idea was to create a fun image with rolling hills and silly dinosaurs. I thought that it would tew kewt to have a dinosaur head poking through the clouds, with the dino’s head bent down while he took a bite of a rainbow!

Jo’ wanted me to paint a mural design filled with lions, hippos and banana trees with monkeys.

After a few weeks of chit-chat, we were no further ahead with an agreement. One day, I was working on a different art project and I found myself ‘googling’ for images of turtles… and then I became inspired!


I found a great image and after I had used my computer to flip it around, change colours and do a few other things that I do, I had the beginnings of a plan. Jo’ thought that my ideas were great and soon the paint started flying around the room.

While all of this was going on, Joanne was preparing to have her baby shower. What a wonderful event that was! The family, friends and neighbours that filled our house that day made us realize that we would never be alone when facing the challenges that parenthood will bring.

The atmosphere reminded me of ‘the days of old’ where people and communities busied themselves with making gifts with splendid decorations. Hand knitted blankets, booties, toques and sweaters were unwrapped with a smile. My sister, knowing how passionate Jo’ and I are about recycling and reusing, presented us with many educational children’s storybooks and DVD’s that she had purchased second-hand!

Of course, some items were new purchases, but the environment was always the inspiration behind them. We received books about how to raise a ‘green’ baby, with helpful hints about healthy eating, safe cleaning products and more.

One day, I was surprised to find a large package that had been delivered to our door. It was from my best friend and his wife. They have recently had two sons and so this box was filled with many hand-me-down clothes. Ken’s wife Laura, is now a stay at home mom and she is building a business creating baby products using recycled fabrics. Many samples of her creations filled this box, as well.

Ken and I have a history of sharing music. One of his contributions to this package were a few music CD’s that he had organized, with songs ‘not just for kids’ by Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia and John Grisham.

Even the students from my Peacebus have surprised me with fun gifts for our child. Jo’ had to put up an extra shelf (and yes – I did tell her that she should have left that task to me… but Joanne loves doing stuff like this) above the baby’s crib, to hold the toy dogs and blue bears, decorated with scarves filled with peace symbols.

So… I’m sending out a huge THANK YOU!! to everyone for their kindness, thoughtfulness and love! Joanne and I are full of appreciation!!!!

Now, I just have to get that wall mural finished…

… and there we go!

Here’s a shot of the whole wall so you can see the full image that our son will soon be enjoying.

Here’s mommy enjoying the mural. Now we just need our son to be born!

WHAT’S THIS?!!!!!!!!! Hmmmmm… something tells me that this is the beginning of another story…