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Archive for January, 2011

My friend LaRessie Mason (North Carolina) is preparing to go to Guatemala on a mission trip in March. She has always wanted to do mission work, so when this opportunity came her way – JUST IN TIME FOR HER UPCOMING 40th BIRTHDAY – LaRessie jumped at the chance to serve God in this special way. I’m SO proud of her, and in support of this important trip she will be taking mid-March, tomorrow – Feb 1st – I’m launching “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer for Guatemala.” For health reasons I cannot fast from food, but I CAN fast from Facebook and from cell phone games… two HUGE time wasters that I tend to allow to take away from time that I’d normally spend in prayer with the Lord. I’ve sent my sweet and Godly friend, LaRessie, a special list of things I’m going to pray for during each of these coming 40 days – things specifically related to her upcoming mission trip. I hope you’ll join me in prayer for LaRessie and her team as they travel next month to Guatemala. And now you’ll know why I’m out of the loop on Facebook for the next 40 days! If you need to reach me in the meantime, try email: kyshartank@yahoo.com. Blessings, Sharon

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Many of you know that I am now subbing “full-time” in our area schools while we are starting our new business venture, Tankersley Photography. I love subbing. If you know me, you know that I am a life-long learner. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, I love to learn about it. (I joke with Sharon that if I could get a job going to college full-time, I’d jump at it!) One of the benefits of subbing is being in many different class subjects. I’ve had everything from Math (ha!) to Chinese. I love it. What a great job for a guy who can’t settle on one thing!

A few weeks ago, I subbed for an Art class where the students watched a biography on Norman Rockwell.  I think I may have watched this 4 times that day. I learned so much about the artist, his life and his values. I started taking notes around the second to third times I was going through it, and wanted to share a few insights with you.

I’ve always enjoyed Rockwell’s work. It seems to perfectly distill the American experience. I have been fortunate to see several originals of his, including some working sketches, and I’m always amazed at how his vision of life was so clearly defined. I found it amazing that he generally wasn’t seen as a painter of fine arts, but a mere illustrator. In fact one critic, when visiting Rockwell’s studio and viewing his work, commented “Well, he certainly works hard.” In referring to his own work, he said “I was painting the America I knew, and the details I noticed.” 

Rockwell didn’t seem to be concerned with highbrow art, but wanted to communicate the goodness of life. In fact, he said that “hope” was what he painted best. When he was presented with opportunities to be seen as a true artist by painting the darker side of life, he said “I don’t have an instinct to paint people with evil ideas, and I won’t.” What a difference from the culture of “celebrity” we seem mired in today!

I learned that loyalty was prized by Rockwell, even in the face of greater fame and fortune. He would routinely turn down higher paying opportunities, because they meant he would have to turn his back on his friends. This even extended to his neighbors. He once put off having his house painted until a less well-off neighbor could have theirs painted.

What an incredible person. An artist that would make thousands of dollars for certain commissions, and turn around and charge the Boy Scouts a mere $50 for a painting. We seem so stuck on the idea of “famous” today, that the idea of simply doing what we know, come fame or obscurity, is lost. Rockwell’s images will forever frame a certain period of our history, simply because he painted the America he knew.

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Come Sprout With Us!

Once again, the calendar page has been flipped and a new year is upon us.  We’ve now moved from being inundated with last-minute Christmas sales to the annual marketing schemes of  “New Year, New You”.  If you are like us, you just can’t escape the whirling dervish of starting off the year right with new resolutions and this weird innate drive to organize everything in existence. No longer are visions of sugar plums on the menu, but wild-eyed rides through places like IKEA and the Container Store. There’s nothing like it!

Even though winter only officially started a couple of weeks ago, with the onset of the New Year thoughts naturally turn to new growth in the coming months. (For me, I’m already tired of snow. Sharon says I’m just old!) But I know that gardens are being planned and landscapes are being mapped out. Minds have turned from the green of the Christmas trees to the green of Spring (bring it!). The title of our first post of 2011 just seemed to cry out.

During one of his Advent homilies a few weeks ago, our pastor said that “it is the nature of all things to sprout”. I love that. What a great reminder of our ongoing inner drive to move, to grow, to create.  I’ve been thinking a lot about his statement, and my own drive to sprout. Too often, in our frail humanity we see this drive to sprout as a drive to do more, to be more, to get more – and we see it wrong. Sprouting is growing…growing towards something or Someone. Sprouting is starting (as the cliche goes) where you’re planted, and growing into what the Creator has designed.

I don’t know about your past year. Like a lot of people 2010 was a mixed bag for Sharon and me. We began the year with Sharon in an unsure new job situation. I lost my job in May. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in August (yay!).  Both of our families have been rocked to the core with unseen happenings and health issues.

It would be easy to worry about the coming months. There are still an incredible amount of unknown out there, and we’ve still got a lot of hurdles to get over, but we find ourselves excited at the possibilities. We find ourselves ready to sprout. After all it’s in our nature. We hope that you will stick with us (and continue to pray with us) as we hit 2011. We hope that in your New Year’s resolutions…goals…hopes…or however you are looking towards the coming year you will remain open to the growth that is ahead.  Come sprout with us!

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