Loving Abundantly: Art from the Heart

To commemorate my first week as the new Art Teacher at TCA, I’m revisiting a post I wrote in 2008 about my art teacher, Mr. Armstrong, who made such a huge impact on my life.

My new book, that comes out October 6, is dedicated to him and my 7th grade English teacher who through education ignited a fire within me that produced a life long love of art and words.

A preview of “Eclectic Emily: The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be.”

I hope to inspire my students the way they inspired me.

As we’ve driven to school for 8 years I have prayed for globally impacting disciples to go forth from our school. Now, I find myself inside the walls of our school with the opportunity to share God’s light and love with 240 students a week. I installed this in my room to remember my prayers for each one of them.

Written by me on my former blog in 2008:

A sad day is coming at Covington High School. Mr. Armstrong, the greatest art teacher ever, is retiring.

I first met Mr. Armstrong in my first period Visual Arts class on the very first day of my freshmen year of high school. This was the first time I’d ever been introduced to an Art History course. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I received a class description handbook towards the end of the school year that year and realized he offered art courses through senior year. I could not wait to dive head first into Art I, II, and Photography I & II.

I knew hardly anyone in the class, but I didn’t care. I’d sacrifice time in class with my BFF’s to soak up every bit of art that I could. Who knew in the process I made some life long friends in Art class? ❤️ I had a passion for art that started my life long trajectory.

Yet, I didn’t realize at the time the role Mr. Armstrong would play in my career choice.

When I started on the art path, it was a hobby and a way I could express myself. I wasn’t athletic in the least bit and never made the cheerleading squad. If it weren’t for Mr. Armstrong and his art program, my teenage years would have been void of so much.

He took each one of us from where we were artistically and made us better. I learned everything from perspective drawing to developing photographs.

We even learned the the silk screen process for T-Shirts (hence, my love for T-Shirt design). I first heard the word “graphic design” in his class and learned to use a computer to create art for the first time in my life.

He instilled confidence in me that I had never had before. I thought just because I wasn’t good at sports that it meant that I wasn’t worth anything. He taught me and the other students otherwise.

He nominated me for President of the Art Club and “Most Talented” in my senior class, an award voted on by students that meant so much to a girl who had received very few accolades. He also encouraged me to major in art, an idea I thought at the time to be crazy. “How could I major in art?” I thought. “I am not good enough and besides, what would I do with an art degree?”

He believed in me and my abilities and that meant more to me than any lesson he could have taught me about pastels or oil painting.

During the middle of my first semester at Ole Miss, I took Mr. Armstrong’s advice and declared my major in art, a decision that has taken me places I never would have dreamed.

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong, for being a major part of who I am today as a creative soul. You taught us to draw BIG on the page and to see the BIG picture in life. For that I will always be grateful.


In the spirit of back to school I made a couple of morning and afternoon routine sheets. It seems there is so much to remember this year and we are out of practice with getting out the door on time. Feel free to download and print these for your personal use.