Monday, April 29, 2013

Story Time

Dearest People,

Today I illustrated a story with 18 kindergarteners. I am in my last year of visual art high school and my final project assignment is called "Games and Activities for Children". I must create an art project and a brochure describing it. So I created an interactive storytelling game involving a set of wooden rubber stamps, which I spent hours carving by hand.

Here is how the game worked: I started telling a fairy tale and drawing simple scenery as I went along on an easel for all to see. As different animal or people characters entered the story, the children holding that animal would stamp it into the scene. As the story progressed I asked the kids for ideas on how to make the scene in the story more interesting. For instance during a forest rescue scene, one girl suggested yellow parachutes, which she drew into the picture.

I told two fairy tales. The first I made up. It was about some water-dwelling animals who unwittingly make their home in a giant's soup bowl. The second tale was a revision on Jay Williams' "The King With Six Friends". My version was more like "The King With Three Very Antsy Friends".

After the story time and a potty/tea break, we started the second half of the activity. I passed out booklets to each kid and they were allowed to use the stamps and fill them in any way they wanted. This idea was so last minute that I suspect the Holy Spirit may have had a hand in it. I had spent a few hours the night before making the booklets by hand.

The kids really got into the booklet project. Some blindly stamped any and all motifs as many times as possible, some were slow and methodical creating interesting patterns with the stamps and some created scenery and embellished the stamps with faces and clothing. But the best were the kids who told stories. They illustrated stories and formed little groups where they narrated them to each other. That was my favorite part, because it was evidence that the project was fulfilling its purpose. I had wanted to draw the kids into the creative process of storytelling and encourage them to think about telling stories using visual elements.

I am not done yet. I still have to create a brochure describing it and present it to a panel of judges. But I really feel like God has blessed this throughout. I was stumped for an idea, but after the people at my Bible study prayed for me I got the idea for the stamps. A week later my brother Isaac's teacher invited me to try them out with the kids in his class. And just last night a talented photographer friend agreed to take pictures last minute. God has been faithfully feeding me inspiration and blessings. I am so thankful!


Thanks to Josefína Kořena for the brilliant photos. You rock.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Small Things or How I lost My Keys, Portfolio and Wallet Within a 24 Hour Period

"If I were God I would not concern myself with the small things."

My roommate said this in a conversation we had in the tram. I disagreed and said that one of the things I love most about God, is that he does care about the small things. I mentioned the verse in Matthew 10:29-30 which says: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." I also told her about how I believe so thoroughly in God concerning himself with our little cares, that that very day I had prayed before shopping for pants. God does not think that is silly. He wants me to find good pants!

Our dialogue on this topic continued throughout the day, until I realised that I had forgotten my keys at home. This meant that I had to leave Ostrava (the city where I go to school and live during the week) and return by train to my home in Frýdlant to get them. I left my portfolio with my term project in it on the train. While I was running all over town trying to get my portfolio back I lost my wallet.

I got my portfolio back. God answered the prayer that I would be reunited with it. He also answered my prayer that the ladies at the train station would be kind. It is not the first time I have left things on trains and I have had bad train lady experiences.

I returned to the city and to my roommate with no wallet after just having told her how much God cares about our tiny troubles. I stood in front of her empty handed and without much hope of finding it. I said, "Well Michaela, I am trusting that God knows what happened to my wallet and that it He is not indifferent." But I felt very nervous. What if God did not return it?

Today I stayed home from school, anticipating a day spent in reapplying for my drivers licence, visa, credit card and Krav Maga membership card (this was actually the document I was most sad to loose). Before I left to tramp all over town in the snow, my mom prayed for me. As an after thought on my way out the door, she told me to check the police station. I said, "Really? That probably wont be any help, but if you say so..."

My wallet was at the police station. Someone had turned it in. All of my documents were there, even if none of my money was. It was dirty and wet and so was everything inside, but it was there.

In a week where I managed to loose my keys, my portfolio and my wallet, God never took His eyes off me or the various possessions I had strewn all over town. I cannot wait for Monday when I tell my roommate the story of how He cares about the details.