Woven Blessings
Winter 2009

by Sheri L. VanDuyn

Why is it our lives are so filled with day-to-day things that each year we only find time to exchange Christmas cards?


At a recent Art Teacher’s In-service we had to share lesson plans and examples. Some of us had brought in small examples to participate and others carried in portfolios. Never at a loss to showcase my student’s work, I opened 3 portfolios to describe a new lesson plan of color theory trees for my high school students. After I was finished with my presentation, the Teachers wondered where I got the frames. I explained that I always put a need for frames in the announcements and in the Home Bulletin. If a student’s work is not framed at school, their work will never get framed; this is my art philosophy and seems to be working as I continually get frames of all sizes and shapes. My students do not seem to care about the color; they will paint or stain to accent their art piece, plus, this is also part of the learning process.

We went on with our day and I was invited to an Art Show the following weekend to see one of the Art Teacher’s creations of sewn bags. Waiting for her Show to end, she said to me, “I still can not get over that you can get frames and supplies donated. I asked one time in my announcements for Christmas cards and do you know how many I got?”  “I have no idea!”  She said, “Well, I got 12 cards!”  I must have looked astonished and I said, “Do you need Christmas cards?   I can give them to you” Well, now she seemed somewhat reluctant and said, “No, you do not have to do that.” And I said, “But, I want to. How many students do you see in a week?” She said, “Between 850-1000 students!” I said, “Bless you! Give me a week; come and visit my Art room and I will have this and some other art supplies that I will gladly give to your Elementary Art Students.” She just stood there and was completely blown away at the thought of me sharing supplies with her students. Art Teachers have a way of constantly collecting and really knowing that they are always going to use everything that they collect at sometime or another.

Well, I went back to school on Monday and told my students that they had to pick out their Christmas card theme early for Sketches. I told them about the other Art Teacher and they were all excited about sharing. I knew that I have 5 very large boxes of cards which are all sorted into various themes-religious, Santa, Holiday, Words, Winter, snowmen and angels. Every year I ask through the Bulletins for people to recycle their cards. (Yet, with family photo cards not as many are coming in.) What do we do with all these cards? The Art Students use them for Sketches, door designs at school, plus we study the various forms of Art depicted as visual art around Christmas. In the past the Choirs have gone caroling and have given recycled cards to the shut-ins. Each year all the students raise money for needy families and the cards are used for gift tags for these presents, and finally the Advanced Spanish classes send Christmas cards to prisoners in jail writing in Spanish and using their Spanish names. (For some of the prisoners, this will be the only piece of mail received at Christmas!)

 Well, my new Art Teacher friend came to visit and I had 3 paper boxes of Christmas cards ready for her. I showed her the first full one and she was totally blown away. I told her that this was only the first one which was Christmas-religious and secular and the other 2 boxes were Winter scenes-trees and snowmen, so she could come up with 2 projects with her students. I also had 2 boxes of wallpaper rolls, a wallpaper book, along with another boot box of small scrap pieces of mat board. “I can use it all!” She exclaimed. We loaded everything up and as she walked around my room and saw my art displays; we exchanged ideas, but the best thing of all was knowing that a Christmas card was going to make its way into a hand of a young child. You see, I might teach in a Christian school and this Teacher works in a public school. While she can put all these cards out there for the students to use; she can not talk about the story that is on them. The children can express themselves and may use them for their own Art. I pray this will spark a story-so yes; a simple Christmas card once used as an exchange during the Holiday Season, later to be recycled can be a blessing and hopefully touch the creative spiritual heart of a child!    

Be still, and know that I am God -  Psalms 46:10a

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