Can You Draw with Your Mouth?

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • April 15, 2011
  • Joni's Posts

Yesterday I received a fascinating letter from Dr. Dina Vendetti, principal of St. John's Lutheran School in Dover, Delaware. She told me about a really fun project in their art class – the art teacher wrote, "We have studied a number of artists this semester – when it was Michelangelo, the students were required to do a painting by laying on the floor and painting on a page that was taped under their tables. When we studied Monet, the kids painted with sponges to help achieve the "impressionistic" look. Yesterday I told them about Joni. We watched a couple of interview clips from PBS and saw some of Joni's artwork. They heard Joni talk about how art is a response to God's love and grace and should be done for His glory! At the end of the lesson, they were shown a black and white photo of a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay. They were given charcoal pencils and challenged to copy the sailboat without using their hands. They tried really hard and were somewhat successful but they certainly gained a new appreciation for Joni and what she's been able to do!"

kids drawing with pencils in their mouthdrawing of a boat drawn by a student using a pencil in his mouth

Drawing with your mouth? I can attest, it's not easy (and you certainly don't want to drool all over your artwork :-). But I really applaud these students from St. John's Lutheran and I thank their teacher for creatively stretching them to do more than they could imagine. I'm humbled and honored to be part of St. John's study curriculum. And the principal is right – to God be the glory! Do you homeschool a child? Is your grandkid interested in art? Read the Joni book to them and challenge them to do what these students did (sorry, I don't think pencils come in chocolate flavor). It's a great way to illustrate how God's grace helps the weak!


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I am loving the fact that our students in Dover had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of an amazing lady! Thanks for sharing!
  • April 19, 2011
  • 6:43 a.m.
  • Terry Schmidt
Dear Mrs. Tada, my class and I had so much fun trying to draw with our mouths. The experience was a very fun and interesting time that not very many people get to try. You are a true inspiration to all people with disabilities and you show your love for art through God. God bless and peace be with you. Giana Garronbone from St. John's in Dover.
  • April 16, 2011
  • 11:07 a.m.
  • Giana
I taught these children in 3rd and 4th grade and they loved who you were and what you had accomplished in the Lord. We read JONI. They also knew that you were a great part of my faith walk...a person who reflected God. Now they have moved on to an even greater understanding. Joni, if you are ever in Delaware don't miss coming to this school. All our love and prayers, Marlys-Jean
  • April 16, 2011
  • 7:05 a.m.
  • Marlys-Jean Natonick
Dear Joni, The kids were sooooo excited to see your blog! Thank you. You have to know what a gift you are to so many -- our kids will never forget what they learned through this experience... about art, about disabilities, about you, and about living teir lives and using their talents for God's glory! Blessings. Dina
  • April 16, 2011
  • 4:39 a.m.
  • Dina Vendetti
Wow, what an amazing thing. Kudos to the teacher that inspired her young students to not only understand what it means to be an artist, but also a person with a disability. We can all learn from their example that we can really only achieve things through Christ! God's blessings!
  • April 15, 2011
  • 2:33 p.m.
  • Ann
Dear Mrs.Tada, Thank you for recognizing my class we had so much learning about your art and do your art. You are a fabulous artist and a true inspiration to me and our class. Thank you so much!. Blessings and Joy, Erika Wharff 7th grade St.Johns Lutheran in Dover
  • April 15, 2011
  • 1:36 p.m.
  • Erika
Reminds me of when I challenged our Youth Group to type on a computer using my headstick. They HATED it! I laughed so hard at all their complaining! But it made some of them appreciate the email devotionals I typed for them five days a week...
  • April 15, 2011
  • 1:23 p.m.
  • DebbieLynne
Dear Joni, it is evident that the things you do, come from a supernatural source which is God.The Lord wants to be glorified by His children.Because He is the Author of this divine plan,You can be assured that it will not fail.God can use everyone and everything to work according to His purpose. Blessings to you and Ken! San
  • April 15, 2011
  • 9:20 a.m.
  • San Tjoa