I'm so thankful today that I took an Art Appreciation class in college.

You won't be surprised to learn that I've always loved music. In sixth grade I learned to play the clarinet, and picked it up pretty easily. I was never a musical prodigy, but the clarinet is pretty straight forward. I stuck with it, and stayed in the top few chair positions until I reached the college level.

As I entered college, I participated in marching band and wind symphony my freshman year. The band director that had taught me to play my instrument just happened to have become the director at the college that I was attending, and he convinced me to stick with it. When the time came to choose an elective for my arts credit, and band didn't count for the first time in my education, I was flummoxed.

I could take music appreciation, but clearly I already appreciated music. I had been playing the clarinet for eight years, and had been a radio DJ for two. I was ready for a new experience. Today, I'm thankful that was Art Appreciation.

The Spring semester of my freshman year in college was a strange time in my life. I had always been an 'A' student. I was on a Presidential Scholarship at school, and everything had always been within my reach. This semester that changed.

I became too ambitious. I was working three different jobs, taking 19 hours of college courses, and living on my own for the first time. I was challenged in all sorts of new ways, but it also helped me see the world in a new light.

Playtime for me as a child was usually some type of creative endeavor. I liked to draw, paint and make crafts, but I didn't have a natural aptitude. I was driven into academic lanes through school, and never took an art class. This first exposure at 19 years old changed my whole perspective.

I began to see the world through a new set of eyes. I saw the quality of light on an object for the first time. I began to learn the names of beautiful pieces of art that I had run across in books or on television. I learned that art was incredibly valuable, and the emotional reactions that humans have in response to it also has great value. My life became richer.

I started to see art all around me. I could look out the car window, while paused at a traffic light, and suddenly the landscaping became a oil painting in my mind. I gained an understanding for the way artists viewed the world for the first time, and I never want to see it any other way now.

The beauty in our world is beyond breathtaking if he slow down long enough to enjoy it, and it all begins and ends with light. Take time today to look differently at the world around you. Look for the light and shadow in a tree. Take time to pause, and appreciate the living art all around us. It's magical, and can truly transform your life - it has mine.