• Shawna Rundstrom

Celebrating Our Uniqueness

Updated: May 21, 2020

By Diane Cretin

When I looked up the meaning of uniqueness, I found the following:

- the quality of being the only one of its kind

- the quality of being particularly remarkable, special, or unusual

It got me to thinking. Do we celebrate the uniqueness of each individual? Do we celebrate our own uniqueness?

One of our family's favorite books about uniqueness is Elmer by David McKee. Please listen as I read this book and share the pictures. There will also be a craft at the end of the blog where you can make your own Elmer as well as coloring pages and a graphic where you can write what is unique about yourself.

What does David McKee's Elmer book encourage us to think about? For me it is that I should celebrate being the person God created me to be and not let comparison steal my joy or make me doubt my value. I should not try to look like everyone else in order to fit in better.

Do you ever struggle with this? I do. I have to fight the tendency to compare myself to others, especially based on physical appearances. Before our current Sheltering in Place (SIP), I would look at women with nice looking fingernails and think that maybe that needed to be me. Perhaps I should make it a priority to make my nails look better. But truthfully, I love to garden and dig with my hands in the dirt. I would be chipping them and scratching off the nail polish all of the time. It simply does not fit my lifestyle. But thinking about nice looking fingernails reminds me that my value is not based on any physical beauty or lack thereof. My time and efforts are better spent working to be the best human and follower of Christ that I can be. Do I speak the truth? Am I a good friend? Do I work well without supervision to get my work done? How do I treat my family members? Do they know without a doubt that I love them without conditions? Do I speak with kindness? Do I try to think of things to make life better? Do I try to honor God in what I do? If I strive to continually be able to answer "yes" to those questions, then I think my uniqueness will shine through.

Following are some quotes that I like about valuing yourself and celebrating uniqueness.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” -- Vincent Van Gogh

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” -- e.e. cummings

"A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms." --Zen Shin

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

I pray that you take a quiet moment and see yourself through God's eyes. Your loving Father created you and delights in you.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Matthew 6:25 (NIV) Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Song of Solomon 4:7 (NIV) You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

You can color a picture of Elmer doing color by numbers. There is also a different picture if you prefer to make your own patchwork pattern. I encourage people of all ages to take the time to fill in the lines stating, "I am unique because..."

If you have trouble printing out a copy of any of these, please feel free to email me at diane@fpcsantarosa.org and I can email them to you in a Word document or attach as a jpeg.

Here is my granddaughter's color by number Elmer. She had me print the page out from a Word doc. She is still going to fill in the bottom, but that is more personal.

Now on to making your own Elmer from a milk jug, juice jug, or distilled water jug. Make sure you wash your jug out and dry it as best you can.

The supplies needed are a clean jug, different colors of tissue paper, an exacto knife, scissors, a marker (we preferred a Crayola marker rather than a permanent marker as we tried both),glue, a paint brush, and a small container to put your glue in .We had a glue stick on hand, but the white glue worked so well that we never tried the glue stick.

I was surprised by how many colors of tissue paper we had when I went through our Christmas and birthday wrapping bins. But you can make a patchwork Elmer with just a few colors. If you need tissue paper, you can normally find it at a pharmacy near the gift wrap. Cut your tissue paper into little squares and sort them by color. I put ours in little dishes so they didn't blow away when I moved suddenly or breathed too hard.

The easiest way to start is to draw a line across the handle and then all the way around the jug horizontally. An adult should use the exacto knife to cut through the handle, then through the body of the jug as pictured below. If you use a

Crayola marker, you can wipe off the marker right after you cut. Otherwise try to cut just above where you drew.

I ended up cutting off a little more of the "trunk" just before the tissue paper was added since my granddaughter did not want the trunk to hit the ground.

You will cut two ears out of the body of the jug. We used scissors for this step. Make sure you include the tab as that will be pushed through a slit you are going to make.

You need to cut four half circles out of your jug. This is how you create the legs. One half circle is behind the nose, one across the jug from the nose area, then one on each side. Cut a slit at the top on both sides just below the bottom of the jug screw lid. The slits should be the size of the tab end on your ears. Then insert your ears. We made up the shape of our ears. We liked some pointing up and some down. There is no right or wrong - it is your Elmer.

Now you want to put a small amount of white glue in a container and use the paintbrush to put the glue onto the jug. Only use a little glue with your paintbrush so it doesn't dry on the jug before you get your tissue paper stuck on. Cover your jug and the ears with tissue paper and wrap the tissue paper around any edges. Presto - you have your Elmer! We made a baby Elmer first. My granddaughter has plans to make a family of elephants this weekend when we have more time.

Enjoy your finished Elmer and let it remind you to celebrate your uniqueness. Continued blessings!

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