No matter what holiday you are celebrating this time of year, it probably involves gifts, lovingly selected and purchased, or homemade.  Personally, I don’t think it so much matters what a person receives. Truly, it is being remembered, and in many cases, appreciated. I received many of those types of gifts from children and families this past week. I love every single gift, either homemade or purchased. I really enjoyed the kind notes and seasonal greetings. Holiday cards featuring photos of the children are especially delightful! I’m looking forward to writing out thank you notes and passing on my own thoughts of gratefulness and New Year greetings in return. 


As I opened the gifts and admired each one and noted the particulars in a special Christmas notebook I keep, one card that featured dictation from a child created an unexpected stir in my soul. First of all, I appreciate that this child’s mother took the time to record her little girl’s personal and meaningful message. The content was an unexpected gift. Before I reveal Isla’s message, I need to share some backstory. 

Several weeks ago, the children and I mixed up a special palette featuring paints that would represent the colors of the monarch caterpillar and butterfly. While the children used the monarch palette to create pictures of the monarch caterpillar and its metamorphosis, the paints were used to create pictures featuring other subjects, which was just fine.


At one point, I was looking for new inspiration to create an entirely new palette to add to our existing tray of colors when another teacher and I noticed a consistent theme in one of our artist’s paintings: dragons. Shazam! Here was the inspiration I was looking for.



With Asa the dragon painter as our lead and using paint chips from Home Depot, we created a new palette that could be used in painting dragons and other beasts, mythical or real. Asa’s personal contribution was “smoke blue.”


Now artists had a choice in creating their own palette from our monarch or dragon palettes.


Now I want to share the rest of the story. Isla loves to paint at the easel in our Outdoor Atelier, which she does just about each and every day that she is in school. Her paintings fill the page, are full of detail and usually are accompanied by very creative stories.

So it was no great surprise that her holiday note mentioned her appreciation of painting. Or, that she said “I like your house,” perhaps meaning the art cottage or even the pepper tree, since she wrote a story about how I sleep and eat in the tree. (Another wonderful gift, a story dictated to another teacher featuring my nights spent in The Garden Classroom.) 

But the most delightful point made in her note was, “I want you to teach me how to make dragonfly colors.” This took my breath away. I loved that she seemed to be acknowledging the presence of our monarch and dragon colors. Not only that, she made a personal request and reveled her own knowledge about other possibilities. Tingles!


I will be perfectly frank, and admit I am very thankful and relieved that I will be having a two week break/vacation. But at the same time…I am very excited about getting back to school and meeting with Isla. I will be armed with questions about dragonflies and my supply of paint chips.

Wishing all of you, a very happy and healthy 2014!

With Joy,



2 thoughts on “Tingles!

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