Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Zebras and Owls Art With Kids

I use the internet to look for possible art projects for my classes.  I tweak them to work for our time constraints and materials. I see progress as I am now creating some projects on my own with the knowledge that I've gained.  Telling the students that zebras have striped patterns resulted in some interesting interruption with some of the students.  Both the zebras and owls come from other folks generous enough to share their work. 


The zebra's were done with sharpie and then cut out.  The backgrounds are liquid watercolor, which is fast becoming one of my favorite mediums to use. White acrylic was used to make a small reflection in the eyes.

The owls are also third grade.  This was suppose to be a continuous line project but I think that some of them just couldn't resist the urge to move their markers to a new spot.  They were colored in with plain marker.  They cut them out and glued to black construction paper and then added some details.

Do You Want To Get Well?

My mother had a life of health issues that were the result of an accident that took place in the Spring she turned twenty five.  She received cards, calls, and sometimes gifts would show up randomly from compassionate people.  For years we had the premium parking space right in front of the church.  Everyone knew that it was our spot.  It did not matter if we were late to church, that spot would be vacant waiting for my dad to parallel park. There were perks to being injured, but the suffering outweighed the perks. She missed out on so much because of the insidious ways that the accident slowly claimed her life. Our dad always was the one who took us to the fair at Faith and saw the delight in our eyes.   Daddy did most of the shopping including the groceries and he even bought most of of my mom's clothing.  Many every day events  of our lives she was unable to participate because of her physical limitations.  I often think of what my mama was unable to do instead of what she was able to do.  My mother's identity was closely bound up in her accident and her physical health.  It colored her life.

There are other things that can color our lives as well.  Sometimes it can be detrimental character traits. We can be known for our temper, our disordered lives, or being one of those touchy people that everyone has to walk on eggshells around.  We can develop the habit of failing to follow through with our promises. There are people who grew up with chaos and drama as the centerpiece of their worlds.  So if there is no genuine drama, they find a way to invent it.  For some people lying has become a prop.  Telling the truth is so unnatural that they lie without any real purpose in mind.

Jesus met a man at the pool of Siloam.  The man had been ill for many years.  Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well.?"  Strange question, unless you understand that we can become so comfortable in our state of disrepair that we can't even imagine life any other way.

A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.

The same question is before each one us.  Do you want to get well?  Do you genuinely desire change or are you willing to let your personal disfigurement from our  fallen world color the rest of your life?  I do not think that the scripture promises us that all of  our issues will disappear.  The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh and he asked for it to be removed.  It was not.

But what if there are things in our lives that Jesus is willing to change? Do we necessarily have to be a worrier, or petty, or ill tempered, a complainer, a hypochondriac or moody? We are terribly complicated in our intertwined flesh, and spirit and minds.  But many of  those besetting sin problems or weaknesses are because our minds have not been renewed.  The Fall devastated mankind.  It is as though most of us are looking through a broken mirror and we can see, but our view is distorted.  There is a way out of the distortion.  We need truth to permeate our hearts and minds.  We can be taught a new and better way to think through the careful study and application of the scripture.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We have learned how to use our metaphorical crutches of disfigurement and we are pretty adept at it.  But the crutch requires living in a world of delusion and manipulation.  Sometimes it requires scheming.  Hanging in the shadows and scheming looks a lot more like the works of the enemy than of people who should walk according to truth and light.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible--and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

We are back to the same question? Do you want to get well?  Do you? For years I did not even know that change was possible.  I thought I was born that way and that is was just a part of my personality or the way I was raised.  I think that change can feel very unnatural  and that until the change becomes integrated into our lives we are in danger of wanting to default back to our old ways.  Change becomes possible because of Jesus' work in our lives.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

We can come boldly to God's throne and we can ask for help and change. We may already be aware of the steps that we personally need to take.  There is a practical and common sense approach that does not always seem like anything that would be of a transforming nature but in reality it may be just what we are being called to do. All change will not come in one fell swoop. It may take lots of perseverance as we replace our feeble fallen ways with the newness of life. There may even be setbacks as we may temporarily slip back into the old familiar grooves in our minds.

For many of us the resistance comes down to fear of change because our identity is so wrapped up in our disabilities that we are afraid that we will lose ourselves or that others will no longer pander to us because we no longer appear needy.

Mama really did not have a choice about her physical limitations, but Jesus has made a way to bring healing in the things that vex our souls and distort our view of real life.  The question remains the same, "Do you want to get well?"


Friday, October 23, 2015

Hodgepodge of Art Elementary School

These are some of our recent projects in art class.  The butterflies come from 4th grade. We tried our best to make a plausible monarch.  The sunflowers are second grade.  We used oil pastels and liquid watercolor. The deer are 4th grade and I really think they have great expression on their faces. The big flowers are from the four year old classes.  We did a Georgia O'Keefe imitation. The fish are 1st grade.  We drew and then painted our fish, added the water and then attempted to add some coral.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kindness and Other Forms of Super Powers

Years ago when I was a young mother I was having some serious struggles.  I was overwhelmed and unsure in so much.  One Sunday morning my husband stayed home with our baby so that I could attend church.  That was a big deal because our son would not take a bottle or a pacifier.  I was home all day and my husband knew that I needed to get out and be around other people and have the spiritual nourishment of being at church with other believers.

At that time we went to an established Presbyterian church that had been in existence for over a hundred years. Many of the congregants went to the little rock church simply because that was where their family had attended for generations.  It was not a hip church that had adopted any of the newer trends.  There weren't any donuts and espresso waiting for you in the foyer. The choir had many white haired folks and we always sang traditional hymns, had an offertory, sang the doxology and ended with a benediction. The people were as well dressed and as dignified as the staid architecture and golden hued pews. Postures were straight, the people reserved and polite.  It was not a touchy feely place where everyone hugs.

This particular cold wintry Sunday morning, that reflected my own spiritual barrenness, an older woman stopped to speak with me after church.  As she spoke with me she simply placed her hand lightly on my shoulder. It was as Jesus Himself touched me with warmth, light and truth that morning.  I can't explain it to this day but her simple act of kindness was a genuine act of grace in my life.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Kindness is one of the things that costs so little but has its own super powers that somehow seems to be a redemptive catalyst in the recipient. I doubt that dear lady actually knew what transpired that day in me when she took the few moments to reach out to me in kindness.

We live in a crazy and randomly cruel world where our lives seem to be less than worthless to those around us.  We are to live differently.   It is to start with our own families and in our own homes.  It should extend to the church, our neighbors, our work world and even to the strangers that we encounter.

I am afraid that we have lost the basics of civilization.  We hear and believe that it is a "rat race" and a "dog eat dog world".  I am neither a rat nor a dog and I refuse to live like one.  I am a part of a kingdom and I represent the King.  He has called me to a different standard.We are behind enemy lines and there are many bruised and bleeding people.  They need the touch of the Master.  This is serious business.  There are so many people who are teetering on the brink of despair and hopelessness. We are to reflect His nature, not our own fallen selfish nature. We are to be so filled with His presence that those outside the kingdom can know that hope exists.

The LORD is good to everyone and his mercies extend to everything he does.

Kindness is a super power that can shatter open the coldest most neglected heart.  It opens locked doors and it can turn the most wicked sinner into a saint.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

We think that it has to be big, like the story of the Good Samaritan or we have to rush into a burning building or dive into a river to save someone.  Kindness can be the smallest act to the most selfless act.  Kindness should be one of the things that characterizes everyone who makes claim that they have been born of the Spirit of God.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kindergarten Birds

I teach art in a small school.  These are a sampling of our birds that we drew in kindergarten.  The kids practiced drawing the bird shape.  They water colored over the crayon designs and I cut them out.  We followed the same procedure with our simple flowers.  The background they colored in stripes and then water colored it.  They arranged their birds and flowers they way they wanted.  I think they are lovely.  I sometimes enjoy kid's artwork better than that produced by adults.  They seem to be very free in their color choices and arrangements. I think in art that there are often happy accidents that make the piece of work winsome.


. I Just Wanna Be A Sheep

I drive country roads into the city each day for my job.  I pass by wooded areas, streams, hay fields, and many country homes.  One little home I pass by looks like a small holdings.  The house is turned away from the road and so the back yard is visible to the road.  There are sheep and a big fluffy white sheep dog in the fence.  The house has a variety of unpainted barns and out buildings.  It is probably my favorite home that I drive by each working morning.  I love sheep and like seeing them in a pastoral setting.

Maybe I love sheep because that is it what I am.  Jesus calls those that are His followers sheep.  He calls Himself, the Good Shepherd.  Psalm 23 is one of the parts of scripture that I have committed to memory.  When I am troubled or afraid or discouraged, I recite it to myself.  There were times when as a young woman that I would quote it to myself every single night multiple times to calm my heart so that I could fall asleep.  David understood that the Lord was his shepherd and I suspect that David had to remember this many times through the troubles in his own life.

There are so many different systems of belief and I spent time in my late twenties studying to see if the apologetic for Christianity was viable.  I personally believe the apologetic is strong and rational.  But an apologetic alone will never draw anyone to Jesus.

Sheep know their shepherd. Another's voice they simply will not follow.  When I heard the voice of my Shepherd through the scripture, then I followed.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.…

The Good Shepherd is still calling sheep.  The Good Shepherd is actively pursuing those that are His sheep.

So He told them this parable, saying,  “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Those that are sheep will believe and respond.  The scripture becomes a mirror and it will reveal to those who are a part of the kingdom that they a have a new identity, a new future and a new focus, but most importantly that they have a Shepherd who wants to lead them in every part of their life.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I 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 have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The real reason I am a Christian is not because I have some kind of religious bent or the desire to prove my own goodness, but because the Good Shepherd sought me and called me to Himself. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Grandma's House

This is a photo sampling of my mother in law's house.  She has lived here over 50 years. Old ladies houses are meant for looking not succor and comfort.
Kitchen window with lots of teapots
Blue Willow 
Marble top table

Pretty living room furniture, but not meant for any kind of rest.

Old Valentine's card from Raymond to Edith. These are my husband's grandparents.

Dining room window with a huge magnolia
A trunk of mementos from my mother-in-law's life. 

China is all over her house in a lot of the nooks and crannies

My mother in law crocheted the bedspread with fine cotton thread. It is quite a work of art.  She also made the crazy quilt spread on the top.

This room also has crocheted spread.  I love the tiny blue print wallpaper in this room.

Her younger days