coloring pages

This blog, coloring pages, is like a sketchbook. Actually it may feel more like a repository with my photographs and scans of my drawings and scribbles on scrap pieces of papers, as I chronicle the little moments in life. It’s also like a laboratory where I can experiment and brainstorm when I am faced with challenges (opportunities) as an interim CEO for several nonprofits or for businesses. In fact this blog is not limited to just being a sketchbook or a laboratory. It’s a place where nearly anything creative can go in it and you get direct access to the risks, lessons — and the first inklings or several stages of an idea as it spouts (or dies).

the pigeon and the lion


A moment in London, with my daughter, her stuffed lion and pigeon

one thing you gotta try: paddle boarding


We had the best time yesterday paddle boarding on the Haw River! You’ve got to try it at via Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. (if you live in Chapel Hill). My youngest, our animal whisperer, whistled at this dog and kissed this fish (I mean, ewwwww) — and gave the fish a proper burial (back into the river). No worries, she washed her hands at a local diner. Sure wish I could recommend the diner. But my meal was about as cold as the fish and looked like dog food!



Say “we,” not “I.” But say “I” if it doesn’t work out.

I submitted a grant application requesting $1M+ over a four-year period from the department of public instruction (DPI) in my state. Actually let me rewrite that sentence. “We submitted a grant application requesting $1M+ from…..”

You can’t do this work (or other types of work) all by yourself (unless you’re an artist). In my case it took a team to write, cut, paste, edit, revise, change, and rework all of the sections of the 60+ page grant application.

Sure, I wrote the main body of the application but my newly appointed finance officer also contributed. He was my equal partner in this attempt.  He also made the entire experience visiting with the principals of the schools enjoyable with his particular brand of humor.

“The students are looking at me as if I’m about to enroll and they probably think you are my mother,” he joked while we were waiting in the lobby of a high school. Boy, did I laugh! He does looks like a teenager. I bet it’s tough for him to get people to take him seriously.

But you’ll realize within seconds of meeting him that he’s a lot smarter than you and he can get to the root of an issue speedy quick. In fact if people knew about him they would be knocking on his door.

The program director whom I consider as excellent CEO material was an excellent “Oxford Scholar” editor. She made the entire experience enjoyable with her quirky sense of humor. “I protest!” she wrote on one of the pages about a missing comma.

Our DPI liaison took our calls and patiently answered our many, many questions. She and another DPI staff member were our “Advil.” Nothing else had a more calming and long-lasting impact on us than them.   

My heartfelt thanks to them all.

Even though there’s a 50/50 chance of getting the funds, I’ll take the blame if we end up with no $$$.

Our fingers are crossed.
Sarah Shapard is interim executive director for a nonprofit organization that provides afterschool services to public schools in two separate school districts in her county. She can be placed as an interim CEO for businesses and nonprofits in her county and surrounding counties.

The Day the Crayons Quit


This book is one of my favorite books for kids, and I especially love it. The author, Drew Daywalt, came up with this clever idea where this poor kid, Duncan, finds only letters inside his crayon box, all saying the same thing: “We quit.” I have to tell you that when I hear my youngest child laugh I feel this deep sense of pure delight in hearing her joy. Especially when I get to the page about this one poor crayon who is too embarrassed to leave the crayon box because someone had peeled off her paper and she was naked.

So this book, a gift from her grandparents, will “have your child laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.” It will, for sure, get you looking at ordinary objects in a whole new way. What could we do with q-tips, marshmallows or paint brushes, for instance? Maybe you’ll come up with another equally clever idea for a book. I sure wish I had come up with the idea!




Ask Samantha: How to pick a locked door knob

How to Pick A Locked Door Knob

My youngest child, Samantha, has a little bit of Fancy Nancy, Eloise, Ramona and Calvin in her. She is wickedly bright, funny and very mischievous. She used a hairpin the other day to unlock her sister’s door. Honestly it seems like nothing can stand in her way. Not even a locked door. I don’t know whether she’s being cute or crazy right now but her antics are driving her sister up the wall. A burr in her saddle but a delight in our lives.

doing right by people


My mischievous 6-year-old hit someone with an ice ball this afternoon. “I hitted (hit) him with an ice ball, Momma. I hidden (hid) it behind my back and he didn’t know I had it,” she said. “This is what you have to do. It’s already made for you. Do you want to see where I got it? I can show you. I see some ice on this street.”

So I’m thinking about this, and I tell her: “I just thought of something: This is the wrong sort of snowball. It hurts. The right sort is somewhere else. Soft and white. We just have to look.”

“Where? “she asks.

I hadn’t thought about this, as there is no more snow.

“Next time it snows.”

She’s that sort of child. This beautiful, smart and rambunctious child burning over with creativity. She’s part Fancy Nancy and part Ramona.

But she’s got to do right by people. So I put a hand over my mouth, and whispered: “Will you very sweetly apologize?”

nostalgic, for rolodexes


I was using matches to light the luminaries one day during the holidays when a neighbor suggested I use his car’s cigarette lighter, as he figured I’d light more candles in less time than with matches. He ran around to the back of his house to get the lighter so I didn’t see the make or model of his car but I figured it was an older model. The standard DC connectors have replaced most of the lighter receptacles these days. Now back in those days (did I really just say that?) you could use the lighter receptacle to power an electrically heated cigarette lighter.

Then today I had another “then-and-now” conversation with one of my clients during a focus group session. She asked her administrative assistant who is also a college student if she ever heard of Pollyanna. She didn’t. She also had never heard of a Rolodex.  But I have heard of Pollyanna, and even used a Rolodex in college.

Now I’m not that old; yet I’m not that young. Sure am feeling nostalgic for these things.



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