I'll have to say I have mixed feelings about the season of Christmas, starting way back to Halloween. It drives me absolutely nuts to see Christmas "stuff" out that early, and it simply puts a bad taste in my mouth for the retailers. Ever since Katrina, I have clearly understood the true meaning of our holiday, and buying "stuff" just isn't part of it to me anymore. Instead, I have now made it a point to spend time with my family seeing Christmas parades, celebrations at church, and just cruising the city being excited about the new lights that are up. What makes the biggest impression on me is the excitement of celebrating Jesus' birthday, and how helping those less fortunate are a part of that celebrating. My son really knocked my socks off yesterday when he came home from school and said, "Please don't get mad, but I donated my $60 in Christmas money to the Toys for Tots." I couldn't have been more proud of him, because I didn't ask him to do it, he just wanted to help the kids who don't have as much. That, for me, is the point of Christmas. Sharing our gifts, which God grants us, with those that need it more than we do. I can't think of another birthday gift that would make Jesus more happy to receive. My challenge to you is to find at least one way to sacrifice one of your gifts, with someone who might need it more than you this Christmas.
The art world has been living it up around the Gulf Coast and that has been exciting as well. Our gallery had their annual Gala and it was great fun! James and I visited the Eastern Shore Art Association last night for the artwalk and parade and both events where packed out, despite the bitter cold. I felt honored seeing my work up next to other artists that I feel are at the tops of their fields, so that was a nice treat for me. I stood back and watched people look at my art, which was a unique experience. What I noticed the most, without interferring, was that when they looked at my paintings, most of them smiled. They just seemed happy when they got to my work, so I feel that part of my purpose as a painter was accomplished. I put Purple Cottage by the Sea and Seaside Village in that show, and side by side, they popped right off the wall. I also just loved the atmosphere of people who appreciate art and the creative side of folks. They create a certain spark in the air like no other. The friends I have met at Cathedral Square Gallery are some of the best ones I have ever had, and it's an honor to share wall space with them. I find out this week when my partial knee replacement will take place, keep me in your prayers that when that takes place, I don't come out of another leg surgery with another paralyzed right arm! It's my painting arm, and the last time that happened, it took me a year to be able to hold a paintbrush. If you haven't bought all your "stuff" this year, and I still believe that some "stuff" is way more important than others, I encourage you to visit a local gallery or gift shop and support the local artists in your area. Art is the beauty from the soul, and I wish much beauty in your life this week. Peace! A