Stephen Ruggero, Oil Painter
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How a candy cane changed my life
​My paintings weren't always filled with light; some could say they were even quite dark.  Until one day in December 1995 when I exited a drug store in Pomona, California.  There were two teenage girls handing out candy canes.  One approached me, handed me a candy cane and said, "God bless you."  I hesitated, thinking there was more.  But that's all she had to say.  Expecting her to "sell" me something, I was caught off guard by the simplicity of her message.  What struck me more however, was the peace in her eyes.  I couldn't deny that these two teens had more peace than I did!  I was haunted.
Attached to the candy cane was the name and address of a local non-denominational church.  I decided to keep the card..."just in case".
I drove by the church for months never intending to enter but always remembering the noticeable calm and self-assurance of those two girls.  
The draw to visit became overwhelming.  I drummed up the courage to go one Sunday, hoping I could slip in unnoticed.  As I sat slunked in the back row, I hoped no one would talk to me because I was sure they'd find out I was a miserable wreck!
Long story short, the church was full of people just like the teenage girls - full of peace and the authentic love of Jesus.  I was hooked.  And more than 25 years later I still am.

This video says it better than I can...