April 30, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Accept No Imitations

After twenty years of teaching art, I've become very particular about the supplies I purchase for my classroom.  I know what works & what doesn't.  I know that if something says "WASHABLE" I  don't want it.  In theory it is a great idea, children & art supplies can become really messy at times.  From the outside the products even look the same.  However, when you go to use them for what they were intended....you realize it is a poor imitation of the real thing.  Washable glue is extremely thin & watery.  It warps paper & doesn't really create as strong of a bond as regular glue.  Washable crayons are spotty when you color and do not have as nice of a coverage.  Washable tempera paint is transparent, and takes multiple coats to get the color to become close to opaque.  Though "real" supplies can be messy at times...I will accept no imitations.  The risk of the real thing far outweighs the results of the imitation.

 "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of traditions learned by rote."
Isaiah 29:13

There are several places in scripture that talk about those who "appear" to be people of God, but their heart & actions do not match their appearance.  Lets just say...it is never good for them!  Scripture is very clear that this type of imitation is not pleasing to God.  The Lord has never wanted our "appearances"...he wants our heart.  He doesn't want us to fake it...he wants us to live it.  That can get messy.  That can get ugly at times.  We can make mistakes.  However, the results are so much more beautiful & pleasing to the Lord than those who just appear to do the right thing & have it all together.  When we look at the "heroes of the faith" in scripture, we will see that none of them had it all together. They made mistakes, were selfish at times, doubted God...and so much more!  Yet God chose to use them. Why?  They were real with Him!  They came to Him humbly & broken hearted for their sin.  They knew that in & of themselves they could not do it, but with God.....ALL THINGS WERE POSSIBLE!  Sometimes in our world today...they say FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.  That is not what God wants from us.  He wants us to be real.  He wants us to come to Him as we are.  Bring Him your messy.  Bring Him your pain.  Bring Him your questions.  Bring Him Your doubt.  Bring Him your everything!  He is big enough to handle it. 

April 28, 2017

Teacher Tip For End Of The Year

End of theYear Blues?  Behavior Issues on the Rise?
Here are my thoughts on the subject!

April 24, 2017

Story Book Forest Art Show: Kindergarten

I'm going to feature each grade level in a post so you can see their work a bit better!  
My kindergarten students created works off of Hickory Dickory Dock, Jabuti, The Nightingale, and Mary Had A Little Lamb.

April 23, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: What's Left Behind

We have so many supplies that we use in art making that we really don't pay much attention to because they aren't the "star" of the show.  However, if they weren't there, not in working order, or of very poor quality...it could impact the process or outcome of the work.  I GIVE YOU THE HUMBLE SINK!  Yes, a sink is a key element in art making!  As a painter, I'd be completely lost without a sink to obtain water for my water cup, for rinsing off my brushes when I'm through, or for helping clean up the mess when I've completed my work.  I've seen sinks that looked like works of art after the artist finishes.  I've seen sinks that look like they belong in a mechanic's shop & not an artist's studio.  Sinks tell a story of who was just there & what they had been doing.  This past week I'd been using clay with my students.  After we were through cleaning up...the sink had a film of clay.  You couldn't really tell at first when it was still wet, but the white "ish" film that appeared later when it dried..gave away that some type of work had been done in the art room.

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.  Philemon 1: 4-5

As a believer, what are you leaving behind?  I'm not talking about tooting your own horn or receiving accolades for your accomplishments (for God). I'm talking about the personal impact that you have on people's lives in your family, with friends, co-workers, or strangers you encounter. In Philemon, we see Paul making mention of Philemon's love for God's people.  Philemon's life was so impacted by his faith/walk with God that it left an impression on those around him.  Now, it is possible non-believers might not have known what "it" was, but like the film left after clay day in the sink...there is no denying that something was at work that was positive & good.  Those kind of interactions are teachable moments.  I've had people ask me, "Why do you care?  Why do you want to help me?"  This is when I'm able to share why I do what I do...why I am the way I am...and who had left their mark on my life that made all the difference!

What's left behind from your interactions with others?  Are they encouraged, uplifted, informed, cared about, loved on...etc?  Or is it like you weren't even there?  

April 16, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Great Expectations

Text books, videos, articles, and online resources can give you an inaccurate perception of what a work of art looks like in person.  It might be dull, cracked, or just less grand than expected.  Expectations can sometimes cause our experiences to be less than we hoped.  One way to avoid such disappointment is to pay attention!  In art history books, images are always accompanied by information regarding artist, date, location, and size. However, numbers and text at times can provide only a glimpse without being able to see the work in a space.  You just can't substitute seeing something in person to truly observe, understand, appreciate, and ...."get it".

In the past, I've read the accounts of the women at the tomb & the disciples (basically hiding), and thought..."DIDN'T THEY HEAR WHAT JESUS SAID? WHERE IS THEIR FAITH?"  They walked with Jesus, they talked with Jesus, and they were with Jesus for several years.  How could they not understand what was going on?  There was an expectation on their part that got in the way of them truly "getting it".  No matter the preparation for what was going to happen, the repeated attempts of Jesus to get them ready, and the prophesy written in scripture that they knew...they couldn't imagine Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection.  They pictured things happening much differently.  They had an expectation that things should unfold as THEY imagined it. The things that they had read, heard, seen, and experienced were slanted to their idea of what God should do.  They were reminded in the midst of their disbelief because of their unmet expectation...."He is not here; he is risen, just as he said."  

How often do we do the same thing?  We expect God to work a certain way or do a certain thing, and find ourselves dismayed when it doesn't happen as we expected.  Our plans & God's plans don't always line up.  However, if we seek Him first...if our desire is to know Him & make Him known...if we can rest in the knowledge & experience that God is God and can be trusted...great expectations can be a healthy & beautiful thing.

April 13, 2017

...When Your Normal Is Off...

I shared awhile back about the health issue I was diagnosed with in Dec/Jan(I'll do an update post on that soon!).  The doctor visits twice a week for treatment...getting stuck...poked at..checked out over and over has really messed up my normal.  I'm not talking about being "normal"...cause who of us are?!?!?!  I'm talking about MY NORMAL.  I'm usually on top of things, very organized, type A personality.  However, with all that I've been dealing with....I'm just not myself.   This week I found something that slipped past me this year....something I don't think has EVER slipped passed me.  I've always ordered rectangular pre-notched looms for my 4th grade tapestry weaving project.  Thinking I had them in my supply closet...I walked in Monday to prep for the day's lessons...NO PRE-NOTCHED LOOMS?!?!?!  (I use these because 4th nine weeks is so hectic & kids are out so much with camp, awards, etc......it is a time saver thing!)  It was a sink or swim moment!  I remembered I had ordered extra cardboard circles for the 3rd grade circle weaving...and decided those would have to do! I created squares to put in the middle to trace...so that they had something to aid them in creating their looms.  They then used rulers to measure off their markings.  Kids really are terrible with ruler skills now-a-days...so I'm glad I could give them extra practice(but it was enough to raise my blood pressure).

I also relied on peer tutors to help out the students that were struggling!  This too is a good thing...kids need to learn compassion for the classmates & realize they can be a life line for the struggling learner!! 


April 09, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Rest

Selling, creating, deadlines, commissions, personal pursuits, too few ideas, too many ideas, revisions, reviews, and all the other things life throws our way.  Artists are not immune to stress, struggle, and lack of rest.  Though often painted as carefree, artists have more on their mind than making "happy little trees".  Life doesn't discriminate based on profession.  Life happens to all.  Each handles it in their own way, but the stresses life places on us all has a way of robbing us of the rest we all desperately need.  When you are just trying to survive (insert starving artist stereotype here), how can you find rest?  Can we move on from survival mode to thriving mode?
What role does rest play in that?  

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  
Psalm 23

We often hear Psalm 23 at funerals, but is it really about death?  When I read this passage I see a way to live. I will be the first to admit that I thrive on stress, deadlines, and over committing. However, over time that can wear on a person (even if it seems to be in their nature to be like this).  We all need rest.  We all need time to calm our heart, our mind, and our activities so that we can continue as the best versions of ourselves.  Sometimes we consider the physical need for rest, but we dismiss the need to calm our heart & mind.   We see in Psalm 23 that much of the stress & struggle that we experience can be relieved if we place our trust in the Good Shepherd.  Sometimes the  situations may continue.  However, when we place our trust in the one who leads us, we can find rest in the midst of the struggle. This passage reassures us of our God's strength, guidance, provision, and love for us.  This knowledge changes everything.  When we know the Lord, when we know the truth contained in these verses, when we know we can't do it on our own....we can find rest. 

April 07, 2017

Story Book Forest: K-4th Art Show 2017

My shoulders, back, legs, and feet are killing me today!  I'm tired & feel like I could crawl into a cave and hibernate for awhile.  Yes, it's that time of year again...ART SHOW!!!!  A labor of love!  The annual art show is a lot of work, but it is ALWAYS worth it.  It brings such amazing perspective to what we do day in & day out...having all that work on the walls  & inviting parents, community members, and co-workers to consume, connect, and enjoy the creative problem solving beauty of art!  I'm able to talk with parents & advocate for my program at such events as well!  Here is a video of the school...and I plan to do a series of posts of each grade level & the projects they created.

April 02, 2017

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Shine

Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists.  I love his work & am captivated by his life story.  Though we are left with an amazing collection of beauty that is a reminder of his brilliance, he spent his life searching for place/significance, falling short of ever finding true contentment.  He was a teacher, minister, missionary, and artist...he wanted to have impact on the world.  He wanted to make a difference.  He wanted to shine!  

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2: 14-16

Our world seems to be obsessed with celebrity/fame.  People search for quick & easy ways to get their fifteen minutes(thank you Warhol), but forget about what it means to leave a legacy.  We do not have to wait for fame to have an impact on this world.  With each day we are given we can shine for the kingdom of God and make a difference in our world.  Philippians gives the believer an amazing tip for making a difference... "Do EVERYTHING without GRUMBLING or ARGUING!"  Our world needs people that are positive, hard working, and that don't put their own interests above everyone else's.  Having a servants heart that sings the praises of God can be the light this world needs!!  God has called us to shine in the darkness.  Can this admonishment from Philippians help us be that light? Can we leave a legacy by these simple acts?  Ask the Lord to reveal to you if these verses are being lived out in your life....or are needing to be lived out in your life.