Paula was born in Detroit, Michigan. She has lived in many wonderful places from Chicago to the Caribbean. She is a third generation graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Paula received her Masters degree from FSU. After teaching grade school for several years, she left the classroom to educate other teachers. She loves scrapbooking, photography, biking, hiking, and snorkeling. Paula visits National Parks throughout the U.S. and internationally. Two years ago, she became a mom for the first time.
Q. Who inspired you most growing up Paula?
This one is a very difficult question because I have been inspired in different ways by so many different women in my life. I am going to say my great-grandmother. I am the only person that has ever been allowed to call her by her first name, Helen. Helen was one of the great enigmas of my life. She was a walking oxymoron and the epitome of perseverance and utmost strength. She was a little Jewish lady that lived in a world of absolute racism. In public she had to appear to be white and not acknowledge her ethnicity and religion. In public, if she saw her grandchildren (including my mother) she had to walk pass them and not acknowledge them. Black people were not allowed to walk on the same side of the street let alone acknowledge a white woman in those days. However, on Friday’s she would send a cab out to her grandchildren’s school to pick them up for the weekend. She would take them to the beach and they would hang out what was called the country home. Apparently she would spoil them all absolutely rotten. She adored her grandchildren. Color did not matter to her, because she did not see color, she saw family. Helen was a very well known socialite in her community and extremely philanthropic. She loved her wrestling and roller derby just as much as high tea. She loved taking me to the beach and to the ballet. She loved to travel anywhere in the world just as much as she loved hanging out in her garden. Helen is my guardian angel. I strive to be like her. a woman of many worlds.
Q. How long have you been an educator?
I have been an educator since 1994. Education is not my first career but it is my favorite. The 80s were very difficult times in the business industry. I was feeling the squeeze and decided to go back to college. After that, I decided to get my Masters in Science, which has opened so many doors for me to share my love for science with students as well as teachers.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
My favorite thing about teaching is the “Ah Ha” moments. They are priceless. This is when you know you have touched and changed a child or an adult in a very profound way. Their eyes light up and that’s when you know you did your job.
Q. Tell us a little about your beautiful family.
First there is the love of my life. I met my husband when I was presenting in Victoria, British Columbia at a science conference. I married my soul mate a year to the day later in Calgary, Canada. Years later we decided it was time to have a family. I was unable to get pregnant and decided that InVitro was not an option for me. I was not in my twenties and when the doctors said it was not guaranteed I knew I could not mentally and emotionally handle not getting pregnant. So my wise husband said, “Well we will adopt, that is guaranteed”. I did my research on the possibility of adoption. I was quite concerned about cost. Private adoption is very expensive. We stayed prayerful and one day I ran into a former colleague who had just adopted two children. I inquired and she sent me to the Children’s Home Society. As it turns out there are so many children right here in our city, in our state, in our country who need a “Forever Family”. So we adopted our son Sebastian two years ago and we are in the process of adopting a three year old little girl we are naming Victoria, after the city where my amazing husband and I met.
Q. Do you have any advice for other Sporty Mommas who may be thinking about adopting?
If you are interested in adoption, I recommend it highly. First of all, I truly believe that it is an honor and a blessing. Everyday I pinch myself when I look at my two angels that were sent from God. My children know they come from mommy and daddy’s heart. Adopting through agencies like the Children’s Home Society is free. If you have considered adoption but worried about cost, go through an agency such as The Children’s Home Society. The process is not very long. We met Victoria in November, she moved into our home in February and the adoption will be finalized any day now. Most importantly, stay prayerful throughout the process and be patient.
Q. When did you discover your love for antiques?
Apparently I have always loved antiques since I was a very little girl. It all started with me hanging out with my Great-grandmother when I was very small. I always marveled at the beautiful furniture in her home. On occasion she would bring out her beautiful porcelain tea sets for us to play with. These delicate tea sets had once belonged to her mother. When she would set the dining room table with her fine china and beautiful silverware, I knew then that there was something very special about every piece she would put out. I knew at a young age that I loved the beauty and craftsmanship in antiques and have been collecting from around the world ever since. Every piece has a story.
Q. What can we find on ivyandelephants.blogspot.com?
Ivy and Elephants is collaboration between my dear friend and fellow antique collector Patti and me. Our blog highlights what we call “Vintage Urban Design”. This is where you can find mostly Victorian pieces that we have either purchased or inherited. We also showcase vintage items that we could not pass up in an Antique Store. It’s a place where people come to learn about rare items and their history. Patti and I are both educators and we love educating the world about our passion for things from the past.