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Tom and Lisa are family friends of mine, and Lisa has always dropped hints to Tom about wanting a piece of my art. With Christmas approaching, Tom knew it was time to pull the trigger. As we met for coffee, Tom shared his excitement at the idea of creating a unique piece for Lisa, inspired by their story. They’ve been through many hardships, but have always endured together. Some relationships are torn apart by adversity, but Tom and Lisa’s struggles have bound them closer together. I shared Tom’s enthusiasm for co-creating something that would honor this enduring love. Lisa had visited me in the studio several times so I knew her tastes, and I loved using that knowledge to paint something suited just for her.

Tom shared with me a long list of things he loves about Lisa. She is intensely devoted to the important people in her life, a dedicated mother and loyal friend. Tom and Lisa are wonderfully generous. He stated that if you have the resources, you should give to others, and they live by this belief. Their door is always open and they frequently welcome people into their home, but Lisa also gives to people outside of her personal sphere. Each year she takes a trip to Africa to help serve orphans and others in need. Tom went on about Lisa’s wonderful qualities, but explained they all come from one source – her deep faith in God.

When it came to giving Lisa her painting, Tom wanted to do something private rather than have a big party. So on a Saturday morning, he told Lisa he had bought something for her on Amazon and to expect the UPS man around 10:00. At 10:00 sharp I knocked on the door, and her daughter let me in. Lisa was pleased to see me…but confused as to why I was there and what I was holding. Tom shouted, “Surprise honey!” and confessed that no UPS man was coming. He showed her the Christmas gift he co-created with me and explained how it was inspired by their relationship. Lisa was so surprised and happy to have her own unique painting that she immediately began crying. I’d be lying if I didn’t say we all shed a few tears.

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