“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace” John 1:5, 16
As Christmas Day nears, we share with you the PHS 2018 Christmas card that arrived in the mailboxes of residents, employees and volunteers this week. This year’s card features the art of Marge Lyons, who lives at Waverly Gardens in North Oaks, MN. A print of her watercolor painting is accompanied by lyrics from the well-known hymn, “We Three Kings” and familiar words from the Gospel of John to create the beautiful card (pictured right).
Marge painted this image for her own Christmas card to friends and family last year, including Dan Erickson, Campus Administrator at Waverly Gardens. Dan submitted her work for the 2018 Christmas card and Marge was so pleased to learn that over 20,000 people would receive the card this month featuring her artwork.
She explained that it is important to her that her Christmas works depict the Biblical narrative and she was trying to “loosen up” with this image, leaving it intentionally incomplete, like our own lives and our journeys toward the Star in the East.
An accomplished artist, Marge didn't start painting until she was retired and her children had left home in the early 1990s. “I didn’t know what to do with myself.” Her sister Millie, who is also an artist, encouraged her to take a painting class and the two of them joined a group of traveling artists who have together taken 19 trips all over the world. “It was a great way to travel. I’d sit in a town painting and the locals would visit with me and invite me to tea because I was interested in their town. I wasn’t treated like a tourist,” she said. Much of her artwork was inspired by the flowers, animals, buildings and landscapes she experienced in her travels. Her apartment serves as a gallery of her work with every wall displaying one or more of her pieces.
Marge and her husband Tom made their home on the shoreline of Bald Eagle Lake in White Bear Township for 45 years where they raised their three children. “Tom had memory loss and I was his caregiver for 15 years at our home” she said. Looking for more support, they moved to Waverly Gardens in the summer of 2015. They lived in the Caring Companion Care suites where Marge was able to stay with Tom as he received memory care until he died in January 2016. She considered moving back to her home on the lake but, “The staff took such good care of us, I decided I’d best just stay here,” she said. A few months later, Marge moved to her current apartment in The Terrace senior apartments. “Waverly Gardens is a wonderful place and everyone is so nice,” she said.
Since 2010, an original painting by a PHS resident or employee has appeared on the annual Christmas card. We are blessed to add Marge’s gifted work to this tradition.