Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.


Cindy, when asked her age, replied, “40-shhh.” She is married to Dave and they have two children: Ryan, 10 and Page, 9. She met her husband through a mutual friend, Susie, whom I’ve already introduced. Dave is a pilot, so he’s gone about half the time.  Cindy is a dental hygenist, working about three days a week. With her husband being gone a lot, Cindy and the kids go their own directions: sports, piano, hiking, biking, and camping. “We’re a very active family,” she said.

Cindy was the “doubting Thomas,” of the group. Asked what brought her to Italy, she answered,”I just came for the experience of traveling abroad; I had no intention of doing art.” Cindy wasn’t so sure about even going for the traveling experiences. She almost backed out right before it was time to leave, but changed her mind and decided to go after all. Why? “Because everybody and their brother said you gotta do it! You have to do it. It’s the trip of a lifetime,” she said. Still, the doubt about whether it was the right thing to do seemed to linger.

With the encouragement that it would be nice to have some time on her own, away from the kids, Cindy agreed.  “It’s been nice to have some time on my own,  but it’s my job (to take care of my kids),” she argued. “I love being with my kids.” And as for pursuing her art as a career, she’s not much of a believer either. “I think my idea of art is that it’s more of a hobby,” she said. “It’s just  about doing something that is a little bit of a challenge. Art is just something to do.” 

But if anyone should be a believer in how art lifts you out of yourself, it should be Cindy. She grew up surrounded by artists. Her father, a logger, would use slabs of stumps sanded down to paint on. He wrote short stories about logging adventures and illustrated them. Cindy’s older brother did his art work in the military.  Her oldest sister wrote poetry before she died. Her other older sister paints with acrylics. And her little brother does it all: acrylics, sketching, tattoos, and comics. It seemed like all of the family has boasted some kind of artistic gift.

Except Cindy. Not knowing how to draw, she never wanted to take the chance. “I shied away from everything else,” she said. “I felt that if you can’t draw you can’t do any type of art.”  The time came when she had to challenge that notion. An email arrived in her inbox about Art-Women-Wine promoting she didn’t have to draw anything. Cindy thought she’d try to awaken the dormant artistic gene in her and give it a whirl.

She called her friend, Susie, and after doing their little barn project in Elida’s class, they were ready to tackle bigger canvases. Eventually, Cindy produced enough work to form a series which she showed just before leaving to Italy.

In another story, the arisen Christ appeared specifically to Thomas, and allowed him to put his finger into the print of the nails and feel the scar in his side. Thomas did believe in the end. And in another story, the girl who couldn’t draw, the artistic dud of the family — received some good news that may cause her to believe a little sooner about what she’s capable of. Towards the end of the trip, Elida received communication that one of Cindy’s paintings had sold. Cindy is now considered a bona fide, professional artist.