Tag Archives: India

Making a Difference in One Life

I haven’t given an update on our Compassion child in quite a while, so I thought this would be a good opportunity. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we first began our sponsorship. We hoped to make a difference in the life of a girl in India, to help one girl at least to realize her innate value to God, and to grow strong because of it. (You can read about our Compassion journey under the Category “Compassion” to your left).

I pray we are succeeding, but through her correspondence my hope has grown a bit. First, I can SEE with my own eyes that we have made a physical difference in Pavithra’s life! Theo and I chose her out of so many little girls in India in part because she looked, well, hungry. She seemed thinner than so many others, and hollow-eyed. She was a rural child, and our reading led us to believe that her female-ness might be even less welcome there than in an urban family. This winter we finally received an update photo, and she has filled out beautifully! She is wearing clothes our gifts provided, including shoes, which she mentions in her letters, and her cheeks are filled out, and her arms look strong and healthy. I nearly cried to see the difference in her! If we have provided nothing else, we have supported the means to help her live strong and healthy through Compassion’s aid. I would show a photo, but I really want to protect her, even her image.

Second, I hear a difference in her letters. She has grown from fill-in-the-blank response sheets to interactive conversation. She writes a half page, and tells about things in her life, and responds often to something mentioned in ours. I can tell she is beginning to grasp this concept of a conversation over time in print. And delightfully, we are beginning to hear a little about her family, too! And this opens my dreams up…are we influencing her whole family toward Christ through Compassion? Not one child, but four people? What an encouraging thought, and how it has expanded our prayers! I begin to see in her letters a sense of a dream, a desire to do and be better. How I pray that I might encourage that and feed those young sparks of flame!

Our last letter was hand-carried back to the States with my husband and mailed from there (it has to go to Colorado for processing, and so much cheaper and surer to send it from Kansas than France). It was the sort I couldn’t do as an email letter: one side was a cut-out of my hand, and the other, Theo’s. Accordion-folded between them was a yard of paper with the verse “You are loved with an everlasting love” printed on. It should be unexpected and unusual enough to grab her attention, and I hope it delights her. I also hope she gets it before Easter!

I am glad God pointed us to Compassion International.


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Peacocks for the Holidays?

Really, no. They are just the first and second grades’ wrap-up of India.

Anything with gold and/or glitter paint is popular with this crowd. This project has both. Lots of oohs and aaahs.

many peacocks, like this one, didn't connect their feathers at the base of the tail. Interesting!

I love this bird's expression.

One without eyes...

...and one whose eyes match the ones on his feathers! Awesome!

I really love how all these birds turned out so different and interesting. I turned them loose with tempera and photos of the national bird of India, and got these vibrant paintings. I would be interested in seeing some American eagles from the class at some point!

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Teaching

More Student Batik

I’ve gotten more student batiks washed out, and some of these illustrate why I regret offering so many color choices. I definitely want to do some work with them on color theory and schemes next semester. I do think, however, that several of these have just beautiful composition and design. Gel glue is a challenging new medium for any artist, and the students rose to the challenge.

third grade peacock

third grade elephant

third grade elephant, had several like this

fifth grade peacock

fifth grade elephant. If I had had more time, I would have encouraged him to do the 2nd layer of black over the whole background.

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Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Indian Batik, the Kid-friendly Way

Third through sixth grades have been creating art on fabric, in the Indian style. I’m not a fan of hot wax around children, though, and dye has no washability with student messes, so we did our batik the kid-friendly way. We used Elmer’s blue gel glue and acrylic paint. I first saw this technique on That Artist Woman’s blog, here. Some adjustments I made for my students are drawing their design on the wax paper with sharpie, then tracing that pattern on the fabric set over the wax paper using the glue; and for my older students, we added more glue design over the acrylic paint once it dried, and then added a second layer of paint over that in the background. I encouraged light colors for the underpainting for them, and we allowed the second layer of acrylic to only MOSTLY dry, so that some washed away as we washed away the glue. This created a much more batik-y look.

a third grade peacock

a fourth grade peacock

another fourth grade peacock

a sixth grade elephant

a sixth grade monkey

I think these turned out very well. The medium of glue was very new to the students, who couldn’t really forsee the results after it all washed out, and kept trying to paint the dried glue as if the lines would stay this painted color. The washing out step was a revelation to many! I also offered a much larger palette than I usually do, and some of the kids just went crazy with color, in spite of my warnings to select a few to work with. Those are a little harder to discern, but I’ll post a couple of those later. The water to wash out the glue really does need to be hot, so we only did a preliminary wash at school, and I took them home to really wash them completely and press.

I plan to finish these squares by mounting them to foamboard backing. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes!


Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

Introducing India…slowly, one feather at a time

So far in our world “travels,” I have had no trouble at all giving a taste of a region and its people, and connecting them to the sort of art they create. After all, it only has to be at a very superficial level even a 6-year-old can begin to relate to. With India, not so much. I really wrestled with the contrasts of this region. And where will we take our inspiration, since the vast majority of India’s art is inspired by Hinduism, not God’s creation? They sure picked an extraordinary national bird, though! So our younger artists started with the peacock. In fact, Kinders started just with a peacock FEATHER. We practiced our guided observation, and how to translate what we see to our own papers, and these luminescent feathers are the result.

First and second grades are working on whole peacocks and learning a lot about tints and how dark colors affect other colors. Some are almost finished, but will miss next week’s class due to Thanksgiving, so it will be a bit before I can get their peacocks up. Kindergarten has started on spiral pattern snakes, but this year we will add a hood to make them cobras, like the ones in our Rikki Tikki Tavi story. I actually just retold very very briefly the Kipling story accompanied by some of the beautiful illustrations of Jerry Pinkney. The kids cheered when the mongoose saved the family!

Third through sixth grades are doing a glue resist batik with acrylic paints. Their subject was an Indian animal of their choosing, but for most of third and fourth, that was the peacock. Designs were drawn in Sharpie on wax paper, and set under our fabric, then traced on fabric with Elmers blue gel glue. Monday we begin adding color!

Little by little we are making inroads into exotic India.

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Kindergarten, Teaching

I Traded My Starbucks Habit for a Child

This spring we added a little girl to the family: T and I decided to sponsor a Compassion child. It turns out sponsorship costs about the same as I was spending on lattes. I have had such a burden recently for the girls of India, who suffer from an entire national culture of discrimination and antipathy, and after much searching and prayer the only solution I have found was to reach one girl myself. You can read about the crisis for girls in India here and here. Our goal is to speak into one girl’s life her value and purpose in God’s eyes, and show her with our actions. This AP photo World Magazine published was the first to grip my heart:


Pavithra is about to turn 8, and her photo shows her with long, thick braids and a solemn face. I looked up her name, and it means “pure,” which was really exciting, because my younger daughter K’s name means “pure” also! I look forward to sharing that in a future letter. She lives with her parents and a sibling, so I hope God uses us to bless her whole family. So far we have only introduced ourselves, and even then, only just a bit. It will likely be weeks,  if not months, more of waiting to hear back from her for the first time. But I am getting ready to send our next letter installment just the same. Compassion tells us she likes playing with dolls, and I ran across a little paper doll booklet at Michaels. I am going to color in the doll and mount it on heavier cardstock, and then send her an outfit or two for it each letter. I hope her child development center has supplies she can use to decorate it. I can’t send any, and I want her to have the joy of designing her own wardrobe. A need for educational supplies is listed at their website, though, so I will pray that it is met.

The hardest thing about this is only choosing ONE girl. Gosh, it just nags at my heart to find a way to sponsor another. I am praying about it and looking for a way, but I know that if I get T’s school tuition paid for by summer or early fall, I will have enough out of my paycheck to cover some college tuition and still welcome another girl from India! Please make it so, Father God!

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