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).

embrace silence

This is my drawing of a palette with colors my youngest daughter and I used today on our sketches. Then we flicked paint with our brushes to make the palette look like it had been used. Fun stuff. Out of the ordinary for me to do this. And a great way to help an active 7-year-old kid just be quiet for a few minutes. This child of mine, who flits from friend to friend, builds forts, does karate chops on different parts of your body and makes crutches, headphones, and a microphone out of q-tips for her stuffed animals.

the phone call my mother took

IMG_1259I was slicing strawberries, when my mother answered the phone, receiving the sad news that her neighbor, who lived two houses down the street, passed away.  She drew her last breath before the sun came up and above the horizon. I had already been up for hours during the night before the call came unable to sleep because of a nasty cold and was unaware that at the same time our neighbor was dying. Hearing this news put things into perspective. My mother had lost a close friend, someone whom she adored, so we sat at this table, reminiscing and eating strawberries.

Singing in the rain

strangers with raincoats by the Thames River

no way to escape if you were a prisoner at the bloody tower?

Window, at Tower of London

unless you…

  • can physically overwhelmed the guards,
  • can bypass the royal (and wild) beasts to get to the gate
  • knew how to open the gate, which is immersed halfway into the Thames River (probably your only escape route)
  • knew how to swim

The place was rather hauntingly, very depressing. Just too many secrets. Too many unknowns.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. At least I had the choice (to leave).

Royal beasts, at Tower of London

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!


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