Becoming intentional and enjoying life

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Talking with my friend, Masako, while eating a delicious meal at Venture Restaurant and taking a relaxing stroll through Blue Skies Gallery in Hampton was a lot of fun and very educational.

During conversation, I learned that Masako loves her family, likes living in the United States and enjoys eating seafood. I also learned that some of the world’s largest oysters can be found within her home country of Japan.

Masako learned that I enjoy reading and writing inspirational articles, stories and poetry. She also learned that I appreciate unique sights, textures and creations found at Blue Skies Gallery.


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We looked at realistic paintings of exotic people, places and things; fondled handmade materials carefully crafted into fine art, wearable jewelry, colorful clothing, handbags and accessories. We also saw vivid photographs depicting close up views of interesting wildlife, including insects, flowers and birds.

David Mitchell, or “Mitch,” one of the featured artists for the day, showed us a beautiful photograph he took of an insect with outstretched, multi-colored wings that shimmered faintly on both sides of a body resembling a hummingbird. The insect was called “hummingbird moth” because of its resemblance to the bird.

The moth hovered while sipping nectar from the center of a large, full, white bloom called a “moon flower.” I was surprised to hear the flower bloomed for only one night before shriveling. But the next night, many new blooms burst open to replace it.

The temporal nature of moon flower made me think of James 4:14, which says, “…Your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” The brevity of the moon flower reminded me to be intentional about my choices and live life fully. The fact that the photograph was taken in Williamsburg reminded me I don’t have to travel far to find things or activities I enjoy.

When I returned to Blue Skies another day, I met an artist named Neeta Chulani who specializes in making beautiful clay creations of varying shapes, sizes, colors and textures. One of her intricate designs featured flower-like etchings on the back of a sturdy but delicate blue-toned ceramic bowl covered with a smooth, shiny glaze. Neeta informed me she learned her craft from Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News and recommended it for my son, who is also very artistic.

Interacting with art while meeting and spending time with people from different walks of life has become a personal source of joy. As I become more intentional about my choices and make time to engage in enjoyable activities, I learn to slow down and appreciate life the way God intended.

The crisply photographed image of a hummingbird moth sipping nectar from a blossoming moon flower reminded me of how much I appreciate interacting with nature, art and people. It also inspired me to keep engaging in activities that bring me joy and add to the sweetness to my life.


Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at