Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thank you, Tom Divine

Learning to live takes focus, practice, and intent of purpose.  This week Tom Divine past on to his next life.  He was loved by so many students, faculty, and friends.
He only walked his journey a short time, but he lived life to the fullest.
      Testimonies on facebook have blessed me.  One after another thank him for being their mentor, their friend, their coach.  He not only coached track and swimming, he was a life coach to so many students.  His smile was contagious, and even in his eight o’clock swim classes, he had a smile and a joke for students on Monday mornings.  He made the cold water tolerable because of his warmth and understanding of teens.

When I taught at Delta, I can never remember a day when Tom wasn’t smiling and filled with energy.  He bopped down the halls cheering others with his, “ Hey, how you doing?”  Tom did things right.  He took care of his body, ate right, but most significantly he cared for his soul.  Because he sought God as his mentor, his family was blessed with a caring Dad and husband.  His church was blessed with his singing of praises to God.  His life was lived for a purpose.....serving others. 
      That is a legacy that is clear as former students and staff relate their stories and love for him on fb. A man that practiced everyday his belief in Christ.  His focus was others.  Indeed Tom left a wonderful legacy to his three daughters.  He taught them love by loving them.  He taught them how to focus on a goal through his coaching as a Dad and an athletic coach. His example of Christ  will live on in their hearts a lifetime.
Maybe we can all learn from Tom’s example.  Life is short and we need to start now loving, giving, and serving.  It was not his eight short months of illness that pushed him into living life to its fullest.  Then, it is too late , our work is almost done.  The living must happen each day of our lives.  Each day we make the day a little better for others, we are practicing life as it was intended by our Creator. Tom sacrificed himself daily as a gift to humanity.
  My heart hurts for his wife, Leslie.  I cannot imagine the loss she must be feeling.  However, Tom’s Christian commitment assures her she will see him again in eternity. In the midst of the family’s grieving, Tom has given them this peace.  The peace of eternity together.  May we all live our lives so fully that we love unconditionally as Tom Divine.  He could always find something about a student that he liked.  May we all live life so focused that we serve from the generosity in our heart.  Tom has been a teacher for us all to live life now, to love those around us, to be an encourager and a life coach.  Thank you, Tom Divine for your example of godly living.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Guiding Footsteps into 2012

copyrighted art by Sandi Baron

2012 is here!  Each year when I write the number of the year, it seems awkward. I manage to write a few checks with last year’s date. Change is difficult no matter what format, and sometimes it takes me two or three months to write the year correctly.  
Each January I am eager to see what this New Year will bring.  I anticipate a lot of blessings, a time of renewal,  and a new understanding of God’s purpose for me on this earth.  I know if I resolve to love God and keep Him first each day, He will make my service to Him successful.  
How He directs me to serve Him is the excitement.  He has led me to write my memoir of integrating schools in 1967 in New Orleans.  I am amazed how He has restored my memory, given me affirmation, helped me with contacts, and kept this project on my heart for forty-five years.  I have been slow to respond.  Writing a book can be overwhelming.  It is the biggest challenge I have ever taken.  I enjoy the process of writing a chapter, adding details and imagery, editing for accuracy and illustration, and checking my grammar.  I just hope any of my former students that read my blog know that I find all kinds of grammar errors in my copy.  Edit, edit, edit.  
Writing , painting, and living seem so closely related in my life.  In each area I must pray first.  Then, address a blank canvas, paper, or day and make the most out of it.  Just like life, some days of writing are more meaningful than others.  Some paintings shout with bright vibrant colors and others convey the mood through soft, gentle hues.  No two days of living are the same.  
As I approach this New Year, I know that I must meet many goals to complete my book. I am going to New Orleans to do some research and try to find a couple of my former students to interview. I know they can give more accuracy to my reflections.  I hope to glean sharper descriptions, clarity of dialogue, and capture the energy of New Orleans more realistically.  Then, I will attempt to put these discoveries on paper.  This is a service to God and will be directed by Him.
I will paint more of God’s beauty. Equipped  with paint and brushes, I will practice creating images with darks and lights, color and hue, and washes and strokes.  Again, it is a challenge, but so fulfilling.
On this first of January 2012, I commit to loving Jesus with all of my heart, seeking His wisdom, and following His design for my life.  Gratefully, He has put Denny in my life for forty-five years of marriage.  We are so accepting of each other.  Each day we visit,  laugh,  share what we are reading,enjoy a warm meal or two, and a few hugs and kisses.  Denny is so supportive of my writing and art. I appreciate his encouragement and gentle nature.  
These are my expectations and desires of my heart.  Of course, I would like to lose the fifteen or twenty pounds I have tried to lose for forty years.   Certainly, I would enjoy more travel.  Yes, I desire to sell my art and publish my book.  However, I am enjoying the process of learning, of living, of writing and painting.  This is my season of developing perseverance to complete my book.  So, I enter this New Year knowing if I keep Christ first, all things are possible.  Happy New Year.