May 20, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: It Takes Time

Clay is all about the process.  It is not an art of immediacy.  You create & wait days for it to dry.  You place it in the kiln to fire & wait (usually close to 8 hrs plus time to cool down before opening the kiln).  You glaze the work, place it back into the kiln, fire it, & wait (another 8 hrs plus time to cool down before opening the kiln).  If you are all about instant gratification, clay is probably not for you.  If you try to fire the clay too soon it might explode.  If you open the kiln too quickly after firing the clay could crack from rapid cooling.  If you don't place enough coats of glaze on the clay before firing it again, the color could be less vibrant or the glaze will not fire to a beautiful glassy finish.  There are many things that could go wrong if you rush the process.  It takes time....and that's ok!


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

Our journey as believers is just that....a journey.  It is not something to be rushed.  You are where you are....and that's ok.  I've seen many become frustrated when they feel they should be "further" in their walk with God.  When they struggle with doubt, temptation, lack of knowledge, lack of experience....they beat themselves up over it. The fact that one is aware of these things shows that the Holy Spirit is at work.  The process we go through as we mature in our faith is one that takes time.  We cannot fall into the "microwave" mentality of our society.  Talk with those you see who are mature in their faith.  Allow them to share their experiences with you.  Most will tell you they are still on that journey.  It takes time...and that's ok!  Embrace the journey God has given you.  It is uniquely yours.  Know Him & Make Him Known!  

May 16, 2018

1st Grade Self Portraits

I love going through my students' work for the nine weeks...and thinking about how much they've grown!  The first graders have done such a great job on their self portraits(using mirrors).  To think where they were at first of the year...mind blowing!  This is why I love elementary so much......you see jumps in skill that are simply awe inspiring!  







May 14, 2018

ENCOURAGED!!!

Do you have a student(s) that encourages your heart on pretty much every project they attempt!  I have a 2nd grader that puts 100% in each & every project.  She works hard, takes risks, and always seeks ways to better herself!! I'm so impressed with this young lady.....she's awesome!!  

On this project we did a close up landscape that could have a fairy/gnome theme if they wanted(or it could just be a nature picture).  The narrative she created within this work is just stunning!  I hope she sticks with me through 4th grade...because I really want to watch her artwork continue to grow!!!


May 13, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Getting Perspective

I truly enjoy teaching one point perspective to my students. Making sure that EVERYTHING is lined up with that point can be challenging.  Even one line that does not line up with the point can visually throw the whole thing off.  However, once they get that "THE POINT OF THE POINT IS TO GO TO THE POINT" they are able to draw with great success. They gain a new perspective in learning perspective as well.  They begin to push their other drawings further.  They want to show depth & 3-D "ness" in all their work.  I believe one point perspective is a turning point artistically for many students.


As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians 4: 1-6


Our lives are very much like one point perspective.  We must line EVERYTHING up with the Lord.  Anything not in alignment with the Lord & His Word will throw things off. We allow selfishness, anger, greed, apathy...or a host of other things to take our focus off of God, and our lives will not look as they should.  Ephesians 4:1-6 feels like perspective to me.  We are reminded of our calling, to be humble, loving, and united in Him. If we have those things in perspective, then our lives will operate as God intended.  For those of us who know the Lord, we should pray that God will make us aware when our lives begin losing focus on Him.  We should also strive to have brothers & sisters in the Lord that will hold us accountable that know us well enough to call us out when they see our perspective is off.   

The Point of the Point is to Go to the Point!  
In this crazy world where distractions are 
EVERYWHERE....KEEP THE POINT THE POINT! 

May 10, 2018

END OF THE YEAR STRESS!!

 It is coming up on the end of the year for those of us in Nashville, TN & surrounding areas.  I know that most of the country may have a few more weeks left.


HOW ARE YOU DOING?

The end of the school year can bring a lot of stress. I have to admit...I'm feeling it!  Part of it is of my own making.  I'm on a lot of "teams" for the district, and we are trying to get a ton done in a short period of time.  That is in addition to the regular end of the year craziness.  

So how do you avoid/reduce this issue?!
I wish I could tell you I had it all figured out. I'm the king of over-committing. I love to be on the teams that are having impact in our district on art education. I want my say/place in the decisions being made. I also tend to procrastinate more than I should.  In addition....I've got horrible sleeping habits!  So I'm not one to see advice from on this topic!!! ha ha  I can tell you what not to do!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
How do you manage the stress?  Is it working?
Share in the comments!  

May 06, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E : ALIKE

I love the look that can be achieved with oil & chalk pastels.  Part of their appeal is that they are incredibly soft and easily manipulated. The very thing that makes them so appealing can also be considered their "issue".  No matter the brand or price point.....they are challenging to keep clean.  They easily pick up color from the other pastels around them.  Many times I've opened brand new boxes of pastels only to find they are far from pristine.  I teach my students to clean their pastels before using them to avoid contaminating their colors with something they may not want.  However, they will enevidably smear an unwanted color into their work from an unseen crumb or spot of color.  It doesn't matter if I store them in their original packaging with trays or if they are placed in a box together.  It doesn't matter if they are the most expensive or least expensive.  The issues are the same. They are alike. 
                                                                         

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.  
Isaiah 64:6

It is amazing the finger pointing, gossiping, and head shaking that goes on in the church.  We see the "BIG SIN" in others' lives, and somehow feel we're better than them because their struggles are not our struggles.  Their "BIG SIN" is not like our "little sin".  We justify our own inadequacies by categorizing sin into least acceptable to most acceptable (our sin clearly falling in the "most acceptable" category).  The truth is sin is sin.  There is no BIG SIN or little sin.  The word "sin" comes from an archers term meaning "TO MISS THE MARK".  We have all missed the mark.  We are more alike than we want to admit.  Our issues impact the things we do.  Like the unwanted crumb of oil pastel color that smears into your work....our sin impacts every area of our life.  We need to go before the Lord & deal with our issues.  We need to be real, humble, and honest with ourselves & others.  This is what the world is looking for.....loving, authentic(non-hypocritical), and non-judgemental people that claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  

May 05, 2018

My Kindergarten Students Know Me So Well!!

My sweet ELL Kindergarten students told their teacher that I would enjoy this video & that maybe I could play it in my classroom while they were working!!
 SO SWEET!  (and they were totally right!! ha ha) 

Hawksbill Sea Turtles and The Best Relax Music

May 04, 2018

4th Grade Weaving

My 4th graders are a couple weeks in to their weavings....and it is going great with most classes.  It is amazing how there seems to be "THAT" class that struggles every year?  Is it group think?  Is it the placement of certain kids together?  Is it the end of the year hitting harder in some rooms than others? I love weaving, and am very excited to teach it...and to help kids that are struggling.  However, with "THAT" class...I feel like I need to clone myself once or twice?!!?  How are the rest of you doing?  Do you have the same experience?


I personally do feel that there are "classes" that don't mesh, that are heavy on children that struggle in mental, emotional, or behavioral ways, or that have a classroom teacher that can be inconsistent.  All of which can greatly impact how the group responds to other teachers & other subjects.  

HOWEVER

I do believe that we have the power/ability to change the direction they are going.  I do believe that they can learn, grow, get along, and create amazing works of art!  I do believe it takes different strategies, different ways of encouraging, different levels of patience & grace.  I do believe expectations should be reexamined without lowering!  

Sorry....I think I was just giving myself a pep talk right there.  Maybe you needed it too? 

Just because...

Sorry if ya'll can't sleep tonight after seeing this!! ha ha


May 03, 2018

ART AWARDS: YES/NO?

It is coming to the end of another school year(officially the end of my 20th), and we are faced with 4th grade awards once more.  It has changed over the years, but it is still something we wrestle with as a related arts team.  There are many students that are deserving for many reasons, and there are times where a class does not necessary deserve that kind of distinction. Originally we had to select one girl & one boy from each class of 4th graders.  We also could not "overlap" between related arts.  This was a huge challenge most of the time.  We eventually talked to our administration & they agreed to allow us to select whoever we wanted from the classes(two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl), and that we could over lap in special situations were there was just a super start student that was deserving.  What does your school do?  Do you have specific criteria?  What are your thoughts/feelings on this topic?  


I will say....I'm so excited about the awards this year.  They have always been very traditional metal medals in the past.  I've always wanted something fun & colorful!
 Our new book keeper allowed me to  pick what I wanted!!!  

April 30, 2018

ART WITH MR.E SUMMER WORKSHOP: STARTING TO FILL UP!


I'm getting excited as the school year starts wrapping up & my summer workshop planning kicks into high gear!  My wife and I were out shopping this weekend for supplies & give away items!!  

 I've received confirmation that we will have at least 4 different TN counties represented &  3 states(if you include TN....but there could be up to 6 states if some others that inquired end up coming!!)!!!  We are about half way to the max number of participants...so if you are thinking about coming....LET ME KNOW ASAP!!!  Just email and I'll send you the registration form!   



April 29, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Can You Even Imagine?

Van Gogh potty training, Picasso learning to walk, Warhol speaking his first words, O'Keeffe falling off her bike, da Vinci dealing with acne.... CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!?   It is challenging to consider that world renowned artists experienced the very same things we did.  I believe when we see their work in the galleries, art history books, and reproduced treasures and trinkets that we place them upon an untouchable pedestal that is removed from time & space. Though we may know some of the facts about their story....we romanticize their lives, their art, and their methods as we gaze upon their elevated & celebrated work.   We praise the moment, but fail to acknowledge the path that led to it. The struggles were real.  Just like the struggles we face.  I'm sure if we could have an audience with these men & women, they would share the problems & the pain that were as numerous as the brush strokes on their canvas.  From Van Gogh's mental issues to Kahlo's physical struggles...life happens to everyone.  How we handle those things we face make all the difference!  


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin.  Hebrews 4:15

Many wrestle with trying to be "good enough" for God.  They feel/believe they have to have their acts together, their lives cleaned up, and look the part.  This mentality either keeps them from drawing close to the Lord, perpetuates wearing masks, or causes them to completely giving up and walk away.  They forget that God knows their struggles, he knows their pain, and understands their doubts and fears.  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness.." CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!?!  EMMANUEL....GOD WITH US!  Our God came to earth as a baby!  He lived his life among us.  He faced the same struggles, but did not sin.  He lived his life as an example to us all.  When you are having a bad day...he gets it!  When you mess up....nothing he hasn't seen before.  When you struggle with doubt....he is not shocked.  He loves you no matter.  He understands....and wants to hold you close.  He wants to help take you from trials to testimonies!  And you know what....he can! 


April 25, 2018

Time for Review: Kindergarten


So we have a month left of school, and I'm wanting to start reviewing some skills/concepts with my kindergarten before summer break.  I knew that they had their kindergarten graduation coming up....so I asked the kindergarten team if they had a theme or an idea of something to help fill up the background of the stage for their performance.  They suggested flowers.  I like to try to help/connect with classroom teachers where I can...and where appropriate in my curriculum.  This was an easy fit!!

I wanted to have a project where I could review painting procedures, work on filling up their page, and practice our lines.  This did that for me!!!  They are doing great with painting & lines, but filling up their page is a challenge for many of them. 






Oil Pastels With 2nd Grade

I admit it...I'm not a fan of messy stuff!!  Oil Pastels fit in that category for me.  However, I love the color...love what can be done with them...so I "deal" with the mess.  This 2nd Grader blew me away with her work today!!

April 24, 2018

Kindergarten is Sleeping!

This week I read "RUSSELL THE SHEEP".   In it, Russell is having trouble going to sleep, and tries sleeping in different places..a pillow..and counting different things.  This is my jumping off point for the lesson.  I don't like having my students copy illustrators' images.  I wanted them to create a  self portrait while sleeping.  We've not worked much with interior spaces, so I thought that this was a great opportunity to practice.  We looked at many images of bedrooms.  We talked about perspective & the need for things to be on the floor.  Many wrestled with this, but I loved the results no matter!!! When you introduce more complex ideas like these at young ages, really your just giving them opportunity to attempt something outside of their "comfort zone".  There is no "failing"....it is only a chance to try something new!  









April 22, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: INFLUENCE

As artists, we are influenced by a multitude of external sources.  We may take from our family, community, affiliations, education, interests, emotions, attitudes, entertainment, travels, or even other artists/artwork.  Not that we simply regurgitate those influences, but more so synthesize the information gathered through our own internal processes to produce works of art.  Often influences manifest themselves in style, content, and/or meaning.  Van Gogh's fascination with Japanese art is extremely evident in many of his paintings.  Carmen Lomas Garza's work centers on her own family, community, and culture.  We see examples across time & place of movements in art, geographical proximity, and cultural changes impacting multiple artists in similar fashions.  As much as we would like to be completely unique and original, we are artistically products of our influences.

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20

You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."   
Galatians 5:7-9

Influence is an extremely important concept in our journey of faith.  Both... WHO( OR WHAT) IS INFLUENCING US? & WHO ARE WE INFLUENCING?  These questions can often be glazed over because the answers are challenging to what we've become comfortable with in our lives.  Things we watch, things we listen to, people we spend time with, and places we frequent can influence us negatively or positively.  We must take a hard look at what we are allowing to impact our hearts & minds.  Though we may say, "IT DOESN'T IMPACT ME....I'M STRONGER THAN THAT!".....scripture warns us that "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." (Galatians 5:9) The negative influences in our life can quickly impact us though we might not see it in the beginning.  It seeps in and slowly starts to poison us.  In Proverbs we are encouraged to keep good company..."Walk with the wise and become wise..."  Those we choose to surround ourselves with can & will impact us!  Also, we need to see that we are placing ourselves in situations where we can influence others.  Sometimes it is as simple as a smile.  Sometimes it is an in depth conversations about God & what He means to you as a believer.  We have the ability to positively influence our family, friends, co-works, and total strangers!  Are we seeing those opportunities?  Or are we shying away from the responsibility that God has given us.  

THIS WEEK...
  •  Ask God to show you who influences you most....is it positive or negative?
  • Ask God to reveal to you things (TV, Music, News, Internet..etc) that might be influencing you in a negative way....and how you should respond.
  • Ask God to show where & who you are able to influence!   
  • Ask God to help you make the most of every opportunity to influence!



April 19, 2018

SUMMER WORKSHOP REMINDER

Just a reminder about the Art With Mr. E Summer Workshop!!!  We are about half way to the "cap"!  I know it is hard to think about summer when we're in the busy season for most of us art educators...but I'd love for you to consider coming.  We have such a great time, and it has become a wonderful art family over the past couple summers!!  Please e-mail if you have any questions!


April 16, 2018

BRAIN BOWLS

This year I've changed how I'm doing 2nd grade's Coil Pots.  We are still learning how to create coils.  We are still learning how to join clay properly.  However, we're creating clay coil spirals, and then joining them side by side inside a bowl (PLEASE NOTE: If you are using plastic bowls..place a paper towel in the bowl so that the clay does not stick and ruin a whole class worth of bowls!  Not that I would know from experience or anything!??!?!)  


I sat one of my 2nd grade examples on top of one of my 4th grade examples....and the "BRAIN BOWL" was born!  The kids named it...I just was trying to make room on my demo table! ha ha


LINE THE BOWL WITH PAPER TOWEL!!!!!!!
 LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!!!!
The inside of the bowl is smooth, and the coily goodness can be seen beautifully on the outside!


At the end of class students brought me their unused clay.  However, some was too dry to put back in with the "good" clay.  I don't have an area to wedge and such...so usually too dry clay goes in the trash.  I decided to use their too dry clay to make this little turtle! 







April 15, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: It Gets On Everything

I will be the first to admit that I am hesitant about using extremely messy materials in the art room.  I know that most art teachers embrace the mess, but I think about all the repercussions of such projects.    Though I love the look of chalk pastels....they get everywhere.  It starts off all fine and good, but a itch on the nose...a swipe of the hair...a nonchalant wipe of the hands on the pants.....and before you know it...your students & classroom are covered top to bottom in colorful chalk dust! IT GETS EVERYWHERE!  Maybe when you love what you are doing... you forget about everything else, what others think, or your own worries & inhibitions. 


Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14

1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us."  The love of the Lord is our inspiration, our motivation, and what challenges us to continue to do EVERYTHING in love.  When our lives have truly been impacted by God...it is only natural for that love to spill out in our relationships, our jobs, our actions, and our reactions.  Our lives become ministry.  Every place we go is our mission field. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, "Do everything in love."  It does not say somethings. It says EVERYTHING. When we've been impacted by God's love it gets EVERYWHERE & on EVERYTHING. It should be seen in our relationships with friends.  It should be in our interactions with strangers.  It should be seen in our "secular" work.  I should be seen in our service to others. When we shop, when we go for a walk, when we are driving (I know that hurts for some of ya! ha ha)... people should look at us and see that there is something different/special.  If they can't...we must really take a look inward at our own hearts.  Why is God's love not transforming my life in all areas? What do I need to give over to him still? I want to be a head to toe mess for the Lord. I want his love to so impact me that others can see his love all over me! 

April 12, 2018

CLAY IS IN THE AIR...

NO...LITERALLY!  CLAY IS IN THE AIR!
This week my 2nd & 4th graders are both creating clay projects. As much as we try to clean up after ourselves...clay is just one of those materials that sticks with ya(kind of like glitter...but with less hatred from the art ed community..ha ha ha). I've noticed my students "gliding" across the floor because the clay dust has made the tiles extra slippery.
I walked into my classroom today, and literally could "taste" the clay.  My mouth became dry....I could feel a film of sorts on my eyes(they are a large surface).  The clay is actually in the air!!!!  I've been drinking a ton of tea & water trying to quench my thirst and room that chalky taste from my mouth...but my guess is it will take a few weeks!!! 

April 11, 2018

Trying Something New: 4th Grade/Clay

I'm not a person that likes to do the same old projects the same old ways!  I love reinventing projects or trying something completely new.  After teaching for 20+ yrs....I would be so board if I didn't!!  

So I'm venturing into new territory.  After seeing several videos of ceramic artists that create expressive faces on their thrown vessels...I decided I'd try adapting it to the elementary art room.  

First off....we don't have wheels to throw on!  So I had to come up with an idea for a vessel.  I decided we'd do a slump pot/cup.  I also do not have a slap roller...so I'd have to get my students to make their slab to slump! ha ha  

I had the students place an open napkin over the bottom of an upside down water cup(I use short fat tumbler cups from the dollar store) for their surface to slump over.  After placing the slap over the bottom of the cup...they had to located the largest flat surface to create their face on. 






One of the fun challenges of this project is that they had to create the face upside down!! I've only had one student forget to do this so far.  They could make a person, monster, animal...whatever they wanted to create with an expressive face.  

We talked about addition, subtraction, texture, coil...and all the techniques we've covered since kindergarten.....and how they could apply them in this work!  

CAN'T WAIT TO FIRE THEM & HAVE THE STUDENTS PAINT THEM!!

April 10, 2018

Early Finishers? : AN ART ED BLOGGER'S NETWORK POST

This month the ART ED BLOGGER'S NETWORK is looking at Early Finishers.  Is this a problem that you have in your classroom?  If so, I'd encourage you to read my post & check out the other bloggers to see how they handle earlier finishers in their classrooms.


Do you struggle with early finishers in your art room? This is a problem that many art teachers wrestle with on a daily basis. So please...DON'T BEAT  YOURSELF UP OVER IT & DON'T GET TOO FRUSTRATED!!  You are in good company.  
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH EARLY FINISHERS?!?!?!  
Well...I'm not really going to address what to do with earlier finishers. 
"WHAT?"
Ha ha...I know, I know!  Hear me out!  I think that we can avoid early finishers 99% of the time with a well designed lesson & knowing our students!  
One of the main issues student teachers/new teachers struggle with is pacing their lessons.  A poorly paced lesson will reap a crop of early finishers.  I believe in breaking down my class into "parts".  I know about how long it should take a majority of student to do each "part".  If students are rushing or poking along...I need to be monitoring them and addressing the issues that are arising.  If you are doing a new-to-you lesson....there is much room for error in pacing.  Give yourself grace and make the necessary adjustments for the next class.  There is no exact science to pacing, but it does improve with time!  I think of pacing as an "awareness" of material, project guidelines, and student!  The more  you teach....the better you'll get!
There are always exceptions to the rules! However, as educators...we must know how to encourage, challenge, and push our students no matter if they are emerging, proficient, or advanced.  I think some will say....my emerging students will finish early....so I'll give them free draw paper.  In doing this...you are kind of doing a disservice to that student. I will often pull up a chair beside my emerging students and work along side them.  Sometimes they need the extra attention.  Sometimes they need someone to model for them.  Sometimes they need someone to hold them accountable to KEEP GOING!  I will also say that on the opposite end...some of my advanced students get so deep into details that they never finish their work.  They too might need you to pull up a chair beside them & encourage them to pick up the pace!  It is our job as art educators to meet our students where they are at.  Learning how to encourage and push them beyond...."I'M FINISHED/I'M DONE!"  
  
I tell my kids... "You are not "done"...because you are not a cookie baking in an oven.  You are not "finished"...because we are not running a race.  You might be complete, but lets talk about it!"
Art Teacher Blogs
This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

April 09, 2018

EXTRA EXCITING CLAY DAY: 2nd Grade

With the number of classes I see & the budget I receive....I'm able to do one clay project per grade level a year.  So needless to say....clay projects are special & exciting! 


But today was a bit more exciting than a "normal" clay day.
I gathered my students back to the demo area where I have a brand new box of clay.  I wanted to show them the weight of it & how it comes to me.  So as I'm explaining how heavy it is & how they ship it....I'm opening the box.  As I lift the flap of the box...the BIGGEST, FATTEST, UGLIEST cockroach jumps out of the box!  The kids let out a collective high pitched scream & jump back from the table.  I didn't scream(really...I didn't)...but I did jump back!  The cockroach must have been scared because it scurried back into the box.  I flipped the box over to get him out...and found another one squeeshed to the side of one of the bags of clay.  I did gag a little at the site of legs and guts everywhere!  Oh my. What a way to kick off clay!! 

April 08, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Expert Opinions

As an artist/art educator I'm often asked questions that might not be ask other people.   "WHAT COLOR WOULD GO WELL IN HERE?"  "DOES THIS GO WITH MY OUTFIT?"  "ARE THESE PATTERNS TOO MUCH TOGETHER?"  "WHERE WOULD YOU HANG THIS?"  "WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO FIND __(insert craft or art item here)__?"  As if I'm a dispenser of all aesthetic knowledge.  ha ha  I usually don't mind.  I love helping people, and enjoy sharing my thoughts on their design & color dilemma.  Some people just don't see "it" when it comes to such things, and need others to help guide their decision making.  However, there are times when people aren't looking for my "expert opinion".  They really are looking for affirmation.  They want me to agree with their thoughts, opinions, and choices. If I do not, then excuses are made & my thoughts are quickly dismissed.  My "expert opinion" is only valued if it is in line with their own.


Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you have not have done it?  Have much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!"  So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 
 2 Kings 5:13-14

Naaman struggled with Elisha's handling of his situation.  Elisha was the expert, but his way was not Naaman's.  He felt it should be done differently. It bothered him so much that things weren't happening according to his thoughts/opinions/ideas that he was willing to walk away from an opportunity to be healed.  Thank goodness he had people around him that encouraged him & spoke truth into his life! 

Are we like Naaman?  How often do we make plans & ask God to bless them?  Then, when we are challenged to consider a different way....we get upset because things aren't happening according to our plan.  Our plan is good.  Our plan is beneficial.  Our plan is a way to serve the Lord.  Though there may be nothing wrong with our plan, if it is not God's desire for our life....then we must lay aside our pride & our plan and listen to the Lord.  We must surround ourselves with people that will speak truth into our life, and not just agree with all of our thoughts & ideas. We must know & use the Word of God to make & check our decisions. We must seek the Lord first in all things, and he will direct our path!  

April 04, 2018

Spring Break Sketches

While my family was on spreak break down at Orange Beach, Alabama....I brought along my sketch book to the beach!  I wanted to make it a priority to create while on vacation.  I was hoping to make more than these three, but at least it was something.  I'm loving the turtle...and might do some more like that!! What did you create over spring break?





April 01, 2018

Sunday Morning Devotional With Mr.E: AFTER

I have friends I went to college with that studied art, graphic design, and art education, but they never used their degrees.  There are many reasons for this, and I'm not speaking poorly of them at all.  Life happens!  Some were in an area that the job market could not support their chosen profession.  Others got married & started their family instead of entering the workforce.  While some realized that they just weren't cut out for their field of study after graduation.  

I knew I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in the first grade. I was kind of a "unicorn" in college.  While many of my friends changed their major multiple times, I only switched from BFA Teacher Prep to Art Education(and that was only because it would allow me to start teaching sooner!). I knew what I wanted to do.  I kept in mind the "AFTER" throughout college so that I'd get the most of my classes, experiences, and opportunities.  Even the tough times were learning experiences, and made me more understand of my future students.  The "AFTER" is mindfulness.  The "AFTER" is perspective.  The "AFTER" is motivation.    



Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

I cannot imagine what the disciples were going through in the "AFTER" following the death of Jesus.  This was not what they signed up for....this was not suppose to happen....what would they do now?  That was not the "AFTER" they imagined, because it really wasn't the "AFTER".  God was about to do a work that would rewrite the "AFTER" for us all! 

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, the day, the week, the month, the year....and we lose sight of everything except our current situation.  Life happens & can be extremely overwhelming.     Financial, health, family or a multitude of other situations that can cause us to lose site of the eternal & focus on the temporary.   At times, there are things that demand us to pay attention to them & deal!  The cancer patient must focus their attentions on becoming well.  The person in financial hardship that must concentrate on working and pulling themselves out of that struggle.  A family member dealing with mental health issues needs our time & attention to help them get to healthier place.  Yet, even in the midst of any of these trials/struggles....we must keep the "AFTER" in sight.

  Knowing that we serve a risen Lord.  Knowing we follow the God that knows our pains, knows our trials, knows our struggles,  and knows our heartaches. Knowing that we are loved right where we are....with all our imperfections....we are loved perfectly.  Knowing that our place is in heaven.  The "AFTER" changes everything.....after we come to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior....our lives are never the same.  We can take the things we're going through....and because of the "AFTER" use them to bring Glory & Honor to the Father!  They become ministry opportunities!  The message of hope is needed so desperately in our world today. If you are going through a hard time...see the "AFTER", and know God is enough to get you through.  If you have this perspective, you will be like the disciples.....and there will be signs that accompany you everywhere you go & in all that you do.